I Know It Like the Back of My Watch Hand

January 30th, 2010 | 5 Comments



Ever had your palm read? It’s sort of fun until the palmist tells you your life line is unusually short or your fate line is severely obstructed.

Fortunately for us, we don’t have to rely on our palms as future, fortune or time-telling devices because we have watches and clocks with hands as unique as our own. The best part is that our watches and clocks are probably more trustworthy than a palmist, and if they know any bad news, at least they keep it to themselves.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the watch hand by exploring:


Hand types

The following 4 watch hand types outline the main styles on watches today. Surprisingly, they all share nature-themed names, which brings to mind a watch’s ability to fuse mechanical and natural qualities into one functioning tool. After all, the first watch dial, the sundial, measured time based on the sun’s position.

  1. Dauphine
  2. The dauphine watch hand is very common. It’s a wide and tapered style with a facet that runs down the middle, similar to a sword. However, sometimes these hands are flat, not faceted.

    Now, you may be wondering why “dauphine” is nature-themed, and it’s because its root word, “dauphin,” means “dolphin” in French, and it’s also the name of many geographical locations, including a section of the Alps.

    dauphine watch hands

    The Orient CERAL004B shows us an example of faceted dauphine hands. Take a look at the OrientStar YFH04001B to see a flat, narrower version of the hands.

  3. Leaf
  4. As the name suggests, this style is similar to an elliptic-shaped leaf. Leaf hands are noted for their elegance in contrast to the retro/urban feel of the dauphine and stick hands.

    leaf hands watch

    Orient’s Ladies’ watch, CESAA001W, illustrates a bold and elegant use of leaf hands.

  5. Stick
  6. Simple and subtle lines, the stick hands appear the most precise.

    stick watch hand

    This CTT00002B Quartz watch shows stick hands contrasted with a more complex second sweep hand.

    Ordinarily, watchmakers will vary the types of hands in each of their watches. This can add an intricate and ethereal touch to the watch’s overall aesthetic.

  7. Moon
  8. An antique type, reminiscent of a grandfather clock, the moon style’s defining characteristic is the ‘o’, or moon, shape at the end of the hand.

    moon watch hand

    Orient’s Executive pocket watch, CDD00001W, is a stunning modern reinterpretation of the classic moon hands.


Luminous hands

Luminous hands glow in the dark. Any type of watch hand can be made luminous. As you may have noted, all of the watches above, except the CDD00001W, have luminous hands.

Because you still need to read your watch in the dark, newer watches commonly come with luminous hands. However, if you want to illuminate your older watch hands, luminous paste is available at watch part websites or shops for less than $50.

Replacement hands

If you ever need to replace, update or just swap watch hands, a new, though generic, set of hands can be purchased for as little as $3. Brand-specific hands can be a little pricier, but probably worth it.

Of course, you’ll need specific watch assembly and repair tools or a trustworthy watch mechanic to do the job. Keep in mind that Orient offers their customers a 1-year warranty, which comes with watch service and maintenance support.

Finally, if you choose not to re-hand your watch, there’s always the somewhat imprecise color-changing iridium option.


Tell us about your hands. Comment Below.





  1. 5 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By carla horton on Jan 31, 2010

    would love to have a watch from the orient i here they are the best ever and you’ll never want any other kind

  3. By Steve Poorman on Feb 1, 2010

    Whatever hands you have, the big thing for me is lume. The more lume the better.

  4. By Ahren on Feb 3, 2010

    I really like the hands on my Orient GMT, (model# CFE04002B). The minute hand is like a sword hand, or perhaps a “dauphine” like #1 above. The GMT has good lume. I prefer this style to watches with stick hands. Thin hands remind me of 80′s dress watches.

  5. By Joshua on Feb 11, 2010

    The hands on my Orient CFM00001S are just right. Good lume, nice width and shape (leaf as per above). But the best hand of all on this particular watch is the bright orange sweeping seconds hand with a small lume triangle near the tip. I think each Orient watch in the current lineup has a set of hands that complements each watches individual style. Sticks on some look better while leaves dauphine look better on others. Keep up the great design work, Orient!

  6. By v h on Mar 23, 2013

    The ” moon ” hands are known to many as ” Breguet style ” after Abraham Louis Breguet, a famous watchmaker

5 comments | Tell us what you think!