What is the second hand on a watch

    In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of clock and watch hands. Specifically, we will focus on which hand is the hour hand on clock, and its role in reading the time.

   If you want to learn more, join us as we explore the clock hand meaning, differentiate between various types of watch hand, and learn how to measure and determine the watch hand. By the end, you will have a thorough understanding of which hand represents the hand on a clock or watch.

Table of Contents

Clock hand meaning

Put, some analog watch typically comprise two main hands:the short hand known as the hour hand, and the longer hand, referred to as the minute hand. The hour hand watch provides information about the time in terms of hours, while the minute hand indicates the time in minutes. These hands work in tandem to help us accurately read the time on an analog clock.

Which hand is the hour hand and minute hand on a clock

     As mentioned above, the short and small hand is the hour hand and the long and big hand is the minute hand. When the minute hand is pointing to 12, it shows that it is exactly on the hour. When the minute hand is pointing to the 6, it signifies that it is half past the hour. Minute hand is longer than the hour hand and moves at a faster pace, completing a full revolution around the watch face in 60 minutes.

Which hand is the hour hand

 What is the second hand on a watch

  Put the hand on a watch that shows the number of seconds is the second hand, which is the same length as the minutes or slightly longer. The second hand on a watch is divided into small second hand and sweep second hand.

Small second hand

      A watch featuring a small second function situates the seconds display in a separate sub dial on the watch face, usually positioned at 6 o’clock. In contrast to the commonly seen central second position in modern watches, a timepiece with small seconds is a more traditional choice, often regarded as a complication. Including a small second hand further enhances the sophistication and functionality of such a watch.

Sweep second hand watch

     The sweep second hand watch mounts the hand concentrically with the other hands on a timepiece, allowing it to be read from the same dial as the minute hand.

What is the second hand on a watch

How to measure watch hand

     The minute and hour hand appear as a pair rather than separately. To measure the length of the clock hand, you can first measure the length of the minute hand, from the middle of the watch hole to the end of the hand. Note that the watch hand length is a whole number or 0.5 mm, there is no 15.2 mm watch hand length. The clock hand is made of aluminum or copper-coated steel. If the watch hand is too long to affect timekeeping, you can consider cutting the watch hand short. This is because if the clock hand is too wide or too long, the torque force of the movement is not enough to move the watch hand. As shown in the figure:

   Measuring the minute hand will give you the corresponding hour and minute corresponding length from the watch hand book.

measure watch hand

How to determine clock hand

    If you want to design your own watch or create your own watch brand, it is very important to learn how to determine the length of the watch hand, which is also more specialized watch knowledge.

   Step 1: determine the diameter of the opening face of the watch face, note that it is the opening watch dial. Opening face means the diameter of the face that the eye can see, not the watch dial diameter. Refer to the figure below.

   The watch face diameter is 32.5mm,in the first dial version,the opening watch face size is 30.5mm, in the second dial version, the opening watch dial size is 28.7mm.

  Step 2: calculate the length of the minute hand. The length of the minute hand is equal to (opening face diameter-1)/2. So if the diameter of the opening face is 30.5mm, then the length of the minute hand is (30.5-1)/2 = 14.25mm, according to the previous article, the length of the watch hand is usually a whole number or 0.5mm, so the length of the minute hand is 14mm or 14.5mm.   

   Step 3:calculate the length of the hour hand, generally speaking, the hour hand is 0.7 times the minute hand, so the length of the hour hand is 14×0.7mm = 9.8mm, so the length of the hour hand is 10mm.    

   Step 4: determine the length of the second hand, the length of the second hand is as long as the minute hand, but if the open surface is relatively large, the second hand can be longer than the minute hand, about 0.5mm.

Types of watch hand

      The different shapes of the watch hands show the aesthetics and positioning of the watch brand. Many famous watch brands have their own characteristic watch hand, such as Rolex’s Mercedes watch hand and Cartier’s treasure blue arrow watch hand. Next, we will introduce you to different hands in watch to help you better appreciate your watch.

Alpha Hand

Alpha hand is One of the most common types of clock hand. It has a wide base, a long narrow stem and a longer tip. They are used in chronograph, GMT and dual time zone watches such as Omega’s Speedmaster.

Alpha Hand

    The alpha and lance hand come out narrowly from the center, then immediately tilt outward before narrowing again to the hand. They resemble an elongated tilted diamond, or even like sharpened leaf hands.

Arrow watch hand

Arrow hand is among the most recognizable because they point to the hours and minutes with an arrow-shaped clock hand. This gives the dial an excellent and fast readability. They are often used on diving watches for better visibility underwater. You can see Arrow hands from on Omega’s Seamaster, Tudor and other brand watches.

Baton watch hand

      Baton hands are the most common type of watch hand. They are also known as stick hands. They are characterized by their simple, slender, rectangular shape. Baton clock hand has a long stem attached to the center of the face, which allows them to move. We typically use baton clock hands on dress watches and other watches with a more traditional design.

 Breguet hand

     Breguet hands are slender and elegant, with a long, sharp ring at the end of the shank that looks very much like an apple. Breguet hands are used on dress watches, paired with Roman numerals on the face, so that the whole look is very elegant and formal.

Cathedral hour and minute hand

Cathedral Hands are a variation on the classic skeleton hand. The shape of the hands mimics the stained glass commonly found in Cathedral windows, featuring elaborate geometric details coated with luminous paint. A Cathedral hand usually has a larger hour hand and a thinner minute hand.Cathedral hands are suitable for vintage style watches.

Dauphine hour and minute hand

    A variant of the Breguet hand, the dauphine hand, is an invention from the 1940s, named after the French word for prince. In the shape of a classic tapered triangle, the dauphine hands have an elegant appearance and are suitable for traditional style dress watches.

Fulfilled/Leaf hour and minute hand

As the name suggests, the fulfilled/leaf hand is similar in shape to a leaf, with a wide middle and tapered ends. So this elegant and slender shape adds elegance to the dial.

Lollipop hour and minute hand

    This lollipop hand features in the large second hand like a lollipop shape, so that it can quickly sweep the time with good recognition. In addition, the hour and minute hands are wider, so it is easy to add lume paint. We can see the lollipop hand in the Rolex Explorer and Tudor Submariner.

Mercedes hour and minute hand

     Mercedes hand takes its name from the three-pointed star of the hour hand, which looks like the Mercedes-Benz badge logo. This feature helps to distinguish the hour hand from the minutes at a glance. Especially the Mercedes shape area is more suitable for making diving watches like Rolex submariner if luminescent paint is added to it.

Obelisque watch hand

As the name implies, the Obelisque watch hand is shaped like the narrow monuments used in ancient Egypt. The Obelisque watch hand is narrower at the head, slowly widening and becoming pointed again near the end. We often used this type of hand in luxury watches such as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms.

Pencil watch hand

    Pencil hands are a subcategory of sword watch needles, and their name describes their shape. Like a classic wooden pencil, these hands are long, thin and straight, with a small tip at the top. The pointer’s appearance can vary depending on its width, either solid or filled with luminous material.

Snowflake watch hand

    As mentioned before, some brands have their own characteristic watch hands. The snowflake hand is the signature design of TUDOR sports watches. The snowflake hand features a snowflake shaped pattern on the end of the second hand. This snowflake pattern feature makes this hand popular among dive watches.

Spade hour and minute hand

   As you can tell from the name of the hands, the hour hand has a spade shape at the end, while the minute hand is an elongated version of the hour hand.

Syringe watch hand

    The syringe watch hand is shaped like an injection syringe. The only difference is that the middle part is wider. The syringe hand is paired with a simple dial design, and the whole watch looks elegant and high-end.

Sword watch hand

    The sword-shaped watch hand is very similar in shape to the blade of a sword, with a very sharp tail and an overall long and thin appearance. However, the middle part of the hand is slightly wider. Cartier watches especially like to match the sword-shaped hands, especially the white Roman numeral dial with blue sword-shaped hands, which look more advanced and clean.

Tritium hour and minute hand

    In recent years, the Swiss company TR through high-tech technology will be tritium gas (rare gas H3) sealed inside the transparent vacuum tube coated with cold light material, tritium gas continues to emit low-energy particles times the cold light material absorbed to emit light.
    The night light does not need to use any light source to achieve zero energy consumption self-luminous. Tritium watch hand can adapt to extreme environments such as deep-sea operations, and glow for up to 25 years, so many diving watches have been equipped with tritium watch hand.

Conclusion-which hand is the hour hand on a clock

     In conclusion, understanding which hand represents the hour on a clock or watch is crucial for accurate timekeeping. We have explored the significance of clock hand movements, differentiated between hand types, and provided insights into measuring and determining the hour hand. By familiarizing yourself with these concepts, you will enhance your ability to read time with precision and appreciate the intricacies of timekeeping devices.

   If you want to understand more about the structure of a watch and the watch industry, it is not enough to know only the hands, but you also need a comprehensive understanding of watch accessories such as cases, movements, faces, bezel, straps, etc. If you want to learn more about the watch industry or have questions, please email watchessy and we will be happy to answer your questions.


What is the difference between the minute hand and hour hand?

     The shorter hand on a clock is referred to as the hour hand, while the longer hand is known as the minute hand. The hour hand indicates the time in hours, while the minute hand displays the time in minutes. During one hour, the minute hand completes a full rotation of 360 degrees, while the hour hand covers a smaller angle of 30 degrees. When the minute hand reaches an angle of 180 degrees, the hour hand corresponds to an angle of 15 degrees.

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