Beginners Guide to Cannon Pinion Removers

Written by: Maz P
Updated on:
Watchmaking Tools

Cannon pinion removers are indispensable tools in the field of watchmaking to safely and efficiently remove cannon pinions from watch movements. The cannon pinion is a crucial component that holds the hour, minute and second hands in place, and being able to remove it without causing any damage is essential for various watch repair and maintenance tasks.

These specialized tools consist of a handle and a set of jaws or claws that securely grip the watch cannon pinion. The jaws are adjustable to accommodate different sizes of cannon pinions found in various watch movements. The jaws are adjustable to accommodate different sizes of cannon pinions found in various watch movements. By exerting gentle pressure and applying controlled force, the cannon pinion remover allows watchmakers to carefully separate the cannon pinion from the arbor, enabling easy removal or replacement of the watch hands.

Using a cannon pinion remover ensures the protection of delicate watch components and prevents accidental damage during the repair or restoration process. The different tools offer precision and control, enabling watchmakers to work with confidence and accuracy. Whether you are a professional watchmaker or an enthusiastic hobbyist, having a reliable cannon pinion remover in your toolkit is essential for a wide range of watch repair and customization tasks.

Why do Watchmakers Need Cannon Pinion Removers?

Cannon Pinion Remover

Watchmakers rely on cannon pinion removers as essential tools in their craft for several key reasons. First and foremost, they allow watchmakers to safely and precisely remove the cannon pinion from a watch movement. The cannon pinion is responsible for securing the watch hands and its removal is necessary for a range of watch repair and maintenance tasks.

One primary advantage of using cannon pinion removers is the preservation of delicate watch components. These tools provide a controlled and gentle grip on the cannon pinion, minimizing the risk of damage to the fragile parts of the watch movement. By utilizing a remover specifically designed for this purpose, watchmakers can safely detach the cannon pinion without compromising the integrity of other essential elements within the movement.

Another crucial reason why watchmakers need cannon pinion removers is for the efficient replacement or adjustment of watch hands. Whether it is for repairing a broken hand, aligning hands accurately or customizing the aesthetics of a timepiece, the ability to remove the cannon pinion is essential. By utilizing a dedicated remover, watchmakers can easily detach the pinion and make the necessary adjustments or replacements, ensuring precise timekeeping and a functional watch.

Cannon pinion removers also contribute to the overall efficiency and professionalism of watchmaking practices. These tools offer greater control, allowing watchmakers to perform delicate operations with accuracy. The ability to safely remove and handle the cannon pinion enhances workflow efficiency, enabling watchmakers to complete repairs and adjustments more efficiently and effectively.


Using a reliable pair of watchmakers tweezers is an efficient way to remove the cannon pinion swiftly. This method, which I learned in my watchmaking class, involves firmly gripping the stem of the cannon pinion and vertically pulling it away from the movement.

To ensure durability and effectiveness, it is crucial to employ stainless steel or carbon steel tweezers, as brass tweezers may not withstand the force required and risk damage. With the right tools and technique, prying off the cannon pinion with watchmaker’s tweezers proves to be a reliable and time-saving approach.

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Presto Tool

The presto tool serves a specific purpose when used on the cannon pinion: vertically pulling the cannon pinion from the arbor of the center wheel. With this specialized tool, watchmakers can safely and efficiently remove the cannon pinion during the watch repair or assembly process. Bergeon is a prominent manufacturer of cannon pinion presto tools, known for their quality and reliability.

Lever Action Removal Tool

Lever action removal tools are great for removing cannon pinions with precision and ease. These tools feature a lever mechanism that allows watchmakers to exert controlled force on the cannon pinion, facilitating its removal from the arbor. By engaging the lever and applying vertical pressure, the cannon pinion can be dislodged smoothly without damaging the delicate components of the watch movement.

Lever action removal tools are designed to provide a secure grip and minimize the risk of slippage during the removal process. They are a reliable and efficient solution for watchmakers when dealing with cannon pinion removal tasks.

Horotec MSA 05.008 Hand Levers Horotec MSA 05.008 Hand Levers
Pieces in Set: 2
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Tips for Purchasing and Using Cannon Pinion Removers

Go Slowly

When removing cannon pinions with any of these removal tools, make sure to go slowly. This ensures precision and prevents damage to delicate watch parts.

Utilize your Existing Tool Kit

Many of the tools you can use to remove cannon pinions are multi-functional and may already be in your watchmaking toolkit. For example, tweezers have many uses in watchmaking and are likely to be one of the first additions to your kit. For an alternative option, a presto tool will also likely make its way into your kit as your watchmaking progresses.

Tweezers are a Budget Friendly Option

Of the cannon pinion removers available, tweezers are the most affordable. This is an area of your watchmaking tool kit that you can afford to cheap out on.

Secure the Watch Movement

Before using the remover tool, make sure the watch movement is properly secured in a watchmakers movement holder or vice to prevent any accidental movement or damage.


Like any watchmaking technique, using a cannon pinion remover tool requires practice and experience. Take your time to become familiar with the tool and develop a steady hand for precise removal.

How to Choose the Perfect Cannon Pinion Removers for Your Watchmaking Journey

When choosing a cannon pinion remover, it is important to consider the quality, durability, and adjustability of the tool. Look for well-known and trusted brands that offer precision-engineered tools made from high-quality materials. Additionally, ensure that the remover provides a secure grip and is compatible with the range of cannon pinion sizes commonly encountered in watch movements. With the right cannon pinion remover in your possession, you can confidently tackle intricate watchmaking projects with ease.

Cannon Pinion Remover Recommendation

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Cannon Pinion Removers FAQ

A cannon pinion is a thin rod that connects the watch hands to the movement. It transfers the rotational energy from the gears to the hands, allowing them to show the time.

The most common method is with a Presto Tool. Place the Presto Tool over the cannon pinion and let it rest on the movement plate. Hold the Presto Tool with your thumb and index fingers on either side of the tool and gentle squeeze. The collet will close, and trap the cannon pinion in its jaws. Then pull the cannon pinion upwards while the white plastic part stays in contact with the movement.

The cannon pinion remover is a tool that allows watchmakers to safely and easily detach the cannon pinion from the movement. This is necessary for various watch repair and maintenance tasks, such as replacing or adjusting the watch hands.

A cannon pinion remover works by gripping the cannon pinion with a set of jaws or claws and applying gentle pressure and force. This separates the cannon pinion from the arbor, which is the shaft that holds it in place.

Some types of cannon pinion removers are presto tools, lever action tools, and tweezers. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the size and shape of the cannon pinion and the preference of the watchmaker.

The right cannon pinion remover depends on the quality, durability, and adjustability of the tool. You should look for a tool that offers precision and control, as well as compatibility with different sizes of cannon pinions. You should also consider the brand reputation and customer reviews of the tool.

If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.


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I started WatchmakingTools to share my passion and knowledge with those already bitten by the watchmaking bug. I’ve often spent hours searching online for answers on a specific issue, and even though there is a wealth of information out there, it hasn’t always been very useful, hence why I wanted to share my own findings.

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