Looking Through The Hands Of Time - Swiss Watch Gallery | Malaysia's Premier Luxury Watch Retailer
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June 11, 2018
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Looking Through The Hands Of Time

WATCH HANDS NOT ONLY TELL TIME BUT ALSO REVEAL THEIR OWN UNIQUE STORY

Mechanical timepieces come in many shapes, sizes, designs as well as complications but all of them share attributes that are an integral part of time keeping. Watch hands for instance are commonly overlooked by most as they only take up a small aspect of a timepiece. Although just a small element of a watch, they’re essential to the process of timekeeping and oftentimes help encapsulate the overall look and feel of a timepiece.

Over the years, watchmakers and designers have pushed the envelope to bring new hand designs to the world of horology. Despite the advancements, some hands have emerged as the preferred choice of brands and some have eventually one of the key signatures of a classic model. From ornamental pieces to iconic and functional examples, we’ve uncovered 12 designs that embody their own unique styles and attributes. It’s time to discover the stories behind these hands…

WATCH HANDS NOT ONLY TELL TIME BUT ALSO REVEAL THEIR OWN UNIQUE STORY

Mechanical timepieces come in many shapes, sizes, designs as well as complications but all of them share attributes that are an integral part of time keeping. Watch hands for instance are commonly overlooked by most as they only take up a small aspect of a timepiece. Although just a small element of a watch, they’re essential to the process of timekeeping and oftentimes help encapsulate the overall look and feel of a timepiece.

Over the years, watchmakers and designers have pushed the envelope to bring new hand designs to the world of horology. Despite the advancements, some hands have emerged as the preferred choice of brands and some have eventually one of the key signatures of a classic model. From ornamental pieces to iconic and functional examples, we’ve uncovered 12 designs that embody their own unique styles and attributes. It’s time to discover the stories behind these hands…

ALPHA

Watches
Lange & Söhne Datograph, Omega Speedmaster

Design
Long and straight with a short pointed base.

Functionality
Alpha hands lend a stylish appeal to a timepiece. But its use also elicits a sense of precision in timekeeping. With its dynamic shape, it’s often the choice of watchmakers for chronographs.

SNOWFLAKE

Watches
Tudor Black Bay

Design
Similar to the Mercedes hands, the Snowflake gets its name from the unique shape of the hour marker.

Functionality
The Snowflake hands are unique to the Tudor brand and they were specifically created owing to a request from the French Marines who wanted a timepiece that provided perfect visibility in varying conditions. The larger surface of the needle was perfect for application of a luminescent product that addressed that specific need.

LEAF

Watches
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar, Montblanc Star Roman Carpe Diem

Design
Also known as Feuille, which is French for leaf, these stylish watch hands are shaped similar to leaves with a narrow end, wide middle and narrow tip.

Functionality
The distinctive shape of these hands adds an allure to the dial of the timepiece. Classic and understated, Leaf hands are ideal time markers for classic and elegant watches.

ARROW

Watches
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean

Design
As the name suggests, they’re either slim or broad and feature an arrow shaped pointer.

Functionality
The distinctive arrow shape speaks of accuracy, which is synonymous with timekeeping. The large pointer allows for easy reading making it a favourite choice for sports as well as technical timepieces.

BATON

Watches
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ultra Thin Calibre 1731, Piaget Altiplano

Design
Similar to stick hands, Baton hands are long and straight with an edge that’s either pointed, rounded or sharp cornered.

Functionality
Its simplistic, yet effective, design makes it a top choice for minimalist timepieces and dress watches. Elegant and classic, Baton hands or Stick hands are often seen in classic or vintage examples.

BREQUET

Watches
Breguet Classique 5157, Tissot Heritage 1936

Design
Abraham Louis Breguet created these hands in the late 18th Century. Breguet hands are long and narrow with a decorative circle near the end of the watch and a feature a pointed edge. Some brands also call these ‘Pomme’ (apple in French) hands due its unique shape.

Functionality
Needless to say, these hands are unique to Breguet. It even features on the brand’s logo. But over the years many other watchmakers have incorporated these hands into their timepieces as it lends a decorative and elegant look to the overall product.

CATHEDRAL

Watches
Longines Heritage 1918, Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special

Design
One of the most ornate-styled hands in watchmaking, the design is inspired by the stained glass windows of cathedrals.

Functionality
Although it may seem ornamental, Cathedral hands provide a greater visibility for time reading. As such, these hands were the preferred choice for military watches as the added space on the watch hands were ideally suited for luminescence for improved visibility in the dark.

DAUPHINE

Watches
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute, Ball Watch Trainmaster Eternity

Design
Created in the late 40s, Dauphine hands boast a modern and sharp triangle design with a large base and pointed finish.

Functionality
The origins of the Dauphine are rooted with French royalty. Although there are many stories related to the creation of these hands, there is no denying the stately and sophisticated look the Dauphine brings to a timepiece.

LANCE

Watches
A. Lange and Sohne Lange 1 Moon Phase, Jaquet Droz Grande Heure Minute Quantieme

Design
Lance hands are similar to Alpha hands but they are generally thinner with a longer base neck, reminiscent of a knight’s spear.

Functionality
The sleek hands afford a more modern and streamlined look whilst still retaining the classical elements of a really well designed timepiece.

MERCEDES

Watches
Tudor Submariner, Rolex Explorer

Design
There’s a growing misconception that these hands were created in relation to the car brand. However, the three pointer rising star does share the same attributes to the automobile brand as it signifies positive energy.

Functionality
The most obvious attribute of the Mercedes hand is that it provides optimum visibility. The additional ‘real estate’ provided by the star as well as the pointer is often painted with luminescent paint to provide better readability in low-light conditions. This is largely the reason why most watch makers utilise Mercedes hands for diving timepieces.

SYRINGE

Watches
Jaeger Le-Coultre Master Control Date, Omega Seamaster Olympic Games Collection

Design
Resembling a syringe, the time markers have a large hand body with a needle-like pointer.

Functionality
The Syringe hand has endeared itself to a handful of watch brands over the years as it reflects a sense of classicism and pinpoint accuracy as well as precision in timekeeping. The large barrel of the hands is also ideal for luminescence.

SWORD

Watches
Cartier Santos, Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso

Design
Its nickname is derived from the shape of the hands, which have a narrow base that gradually widens and ends in a sharp point.

Functionality
Sword hands are one of the most commonly used watch hands. The design provides a bold look that’s both powerful as well as masculine. Watchmakers have utilised the Sword hand with great effect, often skeletonising them for improved dynamism.