Below you find examples of commonly found pocket watch hand styles, as well as photos and descriptions.

Example Photos Hand Style Description

Augustan

A style first documented with the Howard watch company's "Augustan" model watch, although can be found on other models. Has a circle with a bar on each side detailing the end of the hand.

Baton - heavy

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Similar to "Whip" style, but with a thick, uniform width along the length; on wrist watches, often will have luminous inserts.

Baton - light

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Similar to "Whip" style, but with a narrow, uniform width along the length. Can also be referred to as "Stick" style.

Beetle & Poker

A set typically found on watches made during the 1850s and earlier (fusee movement watches), although limited modern versions as well, the hour hand will have a filigree or fleur de lis design, while the minute hand will be similar to the "Whip" style but may have small cross-bars along the length.

Cathedral

Similar to "Diamond - open" style, but with an onion or teardrop-shaped detail instead of a diamond shape; found both with and without cross-bar accents. Also referred to as "Open Spade" style.

Crescent

Similar to "Roman" style, but with the round side of the half-circle "crescent" detail towards the center post and 2-3 cross-bar accents between the crescent and the hand tip.

Demi-Hunter

A set found exclusively on watches with a demi-hunter style case. Typically, the hour hand will be a "Spade" style hand, however it will have two spade accents along the hand length; one in the standard position at the end to indicate the hour when the case is open, the second accent will be close to the center post to show the hour position when the case is closed. The minute hand will most often be a Whip style.

Diamond - standard

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Similar to "Diamond - cross-bar" style, but without the cross-bar behind the diamond-point.

Diamond - cross-bar

Similar to "Diamond - standard" style, but with a cross-bar behind the diamond-point.

Diamond - double cross-bar

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Similar to "Diamond - standard" style, but with a second smaller diamond behind the primary diamond followed by a cross-bar behind the smaller diamond.

Diamond - open

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Similar to "Kite" style, but with a cross-bar behind the diamond-point. Similar to "Cathedral" style, but with a diamond instead of onion or teardrop-shaped detail.

Double Hour

Has a second hour hand, usually independently adjusted from the primary hour hand by a watchmaker, but can have an end-user adjustment method on complicated watches, typically also displaying a second color to differentiate the two at a glance. Often found with "Spade" style detailing, and a spade or "Whip" style minute hand.

Fleur de Lis

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A stylized Fleur de Lis decorative accent along the length of the hand, may also resemble a fancy "H" shape or back-to-back commas (,).

Gothic

Similar to a "Cathedral" or "Kite" style, but on closer inspection, the opening of the decorative accent has four semi-circle accents, reminiscent of a cloverleaf, leaded glass windows or elaborate stone arches (where the name may have originated from).

Kite

Similar to "Diamond - open" style, but without a cross-bar behind the diamond-point. Similar to "Cathedral" style but with a diamond instead of an onion or teardrop shape.

Louis XIV (various)

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Many variations fall under this style, although typically you will find the hour hand with a wider and shorter design than other hand styles, while the minute hand can vary greatly in design and thickness. Commonly found in gold (colored steel) however can be found in other colors as well. In general, vintage hands of this style tend to have a very elaborate filigree created from delicate threads of metal; modern hands will be bolder and less elaborate.

Moon - standard

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Similar to the "Moon - Breguet" style, however will have a slender, uniform or slightly tapered length to the tip of the hand from the open-circle "moon" decorative accent, as opposed to the wedge or triangular endpoint at the tip of the "Moon - Breguet" style hand. This style is also more likely to have a thin, uniform width to the hand from the center post to the decorative accent.

Moon - Breguet

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Similar to the "Moon - standard" style, however will have a wedge or triangular endpoint to the tip of the hand from the open-circle "moon" decorative accent, as opposed to the slender, uniform or slightly tapered length at the tip of the "Moon - standard" style hand. This style is also more likely to have a heavier, sometimes flared, thickness to the hand between the center post and decorative accent.

Morning Glory - standard

The end of the hand is detailed with a stylized flower bloom design that is reminiscent of a morning glory or tulip bloom. Similar to the "Morning Glory - open" style but with a solid design instead of having open spaces in the design.

Morning Glory - open

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The end of the hand is detailed with a stylized filigree flower bloom design, reminiscent of a morning glory or tulip bloom. Similar to the "Morning Glory - standard" style but with an open, filigree design instead of a solid flower design.

Roman

Similar to the "Crescent" style, but with the round side of the half-circle "crescent" detail towards the end (tip) of the hand. Additionally, the two cross-bar accents flank each side of the crescent, as opposed to being between the crescent shape and the tip of the hand. Also referred to as "Howard Roman" style.

Skeleton/Skeletonized -
standard (various)

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Similar to the "Skeleton - luminous" style, this style has open spaces within the decorative designs, found in a variety of patterns. While some hands of this style were offered from the various manufacturers, you may also find that some in this category once had luminous inserts that were expertly removed.

Skeleton/Skeletonized -
luminous (various)

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Often a similar decorative design as "Skeleton - standard" style, but with luminous filler inserts in the open spaces. Can also be referred to as simply "Luminous" style. Note that early versions of this material contained a small bit of radium; do not inhale or ingest any luminous material.

Spade (various)

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The end of the hand is detailed with an onion-shaped design, similar to the playing card suit. This may be the most commonly found hand style, and can come in a wide range of weights from very light to very bold (heavy). Similar to the "Cathedral" style but with a closed, instead of open, spade design.

Spade (hour) & Whip (minute)

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The end of the hour hand is detailed with an onion-shaped design, similar to the playing card suit, while the minute hand will be unadorned with cross-bars or decorative accents, although may vary in width along the length. Can vary in weights from light to bold (heavy).

Square

Similar to the "Moon - Breguet" style, this hand will have a heavier, sometimes flared, thickness to the length between the center post and the open-square decorative accent, with a wedge or triangular endpoint from the square accent to the tip of the hand. Also referred to as "Cubist" style.

Triangle

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Similar to the "Diamond - standard" and "Diamond - cross-bar" styles, but with a triangle decorative design at the tip instead of a diamond. This style of hand can be found with and without cross-bar accents. Also referred to as "Spear" style.

Wedge

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Long, thin triangular or "pointer" shape, can often be faceted. Can also be referred to as "Alpha" style when a flat profile, or "Dauphine" style when it has a faceted profile.

Whip

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Similar to the "Baton - light" style, but often with varying widths along the length and various tapers, points or flares at the hand tip (end); on wrist watches, can also have luminous inserts. Can be referred to as a "Leaf" style when there is a center flared detail, or "Pencil" style when the tip dramatically tapers to a point.

Other: miscellaneous

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There are many vintage and modern hand styles that do not fall into a large enough group to be named here. Often, these hands will be part of a limited run of watches from a manufacturer, from a smaller company with a proprietary style, etc. While the images we are presenting are not comprehensive to all the various hand styles you may find, we thought they would be of interest to the watch enthusiast. Please contact us if you recognize one of the hand styles we have in this grouping with the style name and we will update the page with the additional information!

Other: digital seconds register

This seconds display, called "digital seconds" at the time of production, has a rotating disk that displays the current seconds time for the watch through a cutout aperture in the primary dial, typically at or near the 6 o'clock position. This style of display will be familiar to us now as it was the predecessor to day and date displays on modern watches.

Other: subsidiary seconds hands

Offered in a multitude of styles and colors, although typically matched to the hour and minute hands, this hand will often be found in a recessed register, usually at the 6 o'clock position, although there are a number of times this hand will be found on a flush, or non-recessed, seconds indicator as well. These small hands do not tend to have a named category as there is not much room for decorative accents, however various watch companies have gotten creative and made some unique styles. While the images we are presenting are not comprehensive to all the various second hand styles you may find, we thought they would be of interest to the watch enthusiast.

Other: sweep seconds hands

Offered in a multitude of colors, this type of hand typically a "Whip" or "Baton - light" style and is centered to the dial, along with the hour and minute hands. This hand can also be a "chronograph" sweep depending on the type of watch movement; two similar hands may indicate a "split second chronograph" style movement. While the images we are presenting are not comprehensive to all the various hand styles you may find, we thought they would be of interest to the watch enthusiast.