Beginner’s Guide: Master Watch Hand Pressing Like a Pro

Written by: Maz P
Updated on:
Hand Press

The precise assembly of watch components is the biggest element of watchmaking with each part requiring delicate handling and meticulous care. One essential watch tool that should feature in the toolbox of every watchmaker is the watch hand press. Specifically designed to install and secure watch hands onto the dial with precision, the watch hand presser tool is invaluable to watchmakers. However, for newbies just getting started and building up their tool collection, it is often put to the bottom of the priority list. By understanding the value of a watch hand press and understanding that there is an art to hand-setting, there is no doubt that the watch hand presser tool will shoot straight to the top of your watchmaking shopping list.

What is a Watch Hand Press?

Re-fitting watch hands sounds like a relatively simple process, however, it is a more complex and delicate task than you may initially think. It takes great precision to ensure that watch hands are secure but can also move freely while also ensuring no damage is caused during the task.

A watch hand press is a specialized tool used in watchmaking to install and securely affix the hands onto a watch dial. The watch hand press assists watchmakers in this delicate process of hand-setting ensuring precision and accuracy. Using a watch hand presser tool also makes sure that the timepiece is protected during the process. Watch hands are extremely delicate and can bend easily so this tool protects watch hands from damage.

The tool also makes sure that the watch face and dial does not get scratched while fitting the watch hands back on. The second-hand installation is particularly tricky for beginners and a watch hand press tool is extremely helpful, particularly for newbies

Watch hand presses come in various types to accommodate different types of watches and hand-setting requirements. From simple manual presses to more sophisticated models, watch hand presses enable watchmakers to achieve professional-quality results with ease and precision.

Most watch hand presser tools on the market come with multiple tips that are extremely useful. Even if you are just working on one or two timepieces, the hour hands and minute hands are different sizes and therefore require different tips on the hand presser tool. While there are many different types of watch hand press, they ultimately all provide the watchmaker with stability and support during this intricate task.

Types of Watch Hand Press

Watch hand presses come in various designs to suit different needs and preferences in watchmaking. Each type offers unique features and capabilities, providing watchmakers with options to accommodate different hand-setting requirements and achieve precise results unique to each timepiece.

Manual Pen-type Watch Hand Presser Tools

As the name may suggest, these traditional watch hand presses are operated manually by the watchmaker. They are typically a pen-type tool that allows the user to exert controlled pressure to install watch hands onto the dial. Manual hand presses offer precision while allowing watchmakers to carefully adjust and align the hands with accuracy. Compact and lightweight, they are portable hand presser tools that are ideal for watchmakers who require mobility or have limited workspace. These presser tools offer convenience without sacrificing performance and allow watchmakers to carry out hand-setting tasks with ease wherever they go.

Bench-mounted Watch Hand Presser Tools

These hand presses are designed to be mounted securely onto a workbench or table. By anchoring the press to a stable surface, bench-mounted models offer enhanced stability and support while setting watch hands. They are commonly used in professional watchmaking workshops where precision and consistency are essential.

Automatic Watch Hand Presser Tools

Powered by compressed air, these watch hand presser tools automate the hand-setting process to some extent. These presses feature a mechanism that applies consistent pressure to install watch hands quickly and efficiently. These presser tools offer increased pressure compared to manual options, making them suitable for installing larger or thicker watch hands. They provide precise control over the force applied which ensures the accurate and secure installation of watch hands. Automatic watch hand presses are commonly used by professional watchmakers for their speed and ease of use in mass production.

How to Use a Watch Hand Press

Using a watch hand press requires precision and care to ensure that the hands are installed correctly onto the watch dial without causing damage. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a watch hand press:

  1. Prepare the Watch Hands

    Watch Hands

    You want to fit the hour hand first, followed by the minute hand. Ensure that the watch hands are the right size before installation. Due to their size, watch hands are pretty tricky to pick up so you may need to use a pair of tweezers or a piece of Rodico. If necessary, gently adjust the hands using tweezers or watch hand tools to ensure proper fit and alignment.

  2. Select the Appropriate Hand-setting Die

    Hand Press Dies

    Choose a hand-setting die that matches the size and shape of the watch hands you are fitting. The die should fit snugly around the hands to provide even pressure during installation.

  3. Position the Watch Hands

    Carefully place the watch hands onto the dial in the desired positions. Take care to align the hands correctly with the hour markers and with each other to ensure that the time will read accurately.

  4. Set up the Watch Hand Press (if applicable)

    Hand Press

    If your watch hand press requires a stable surface, make sure it is securely positioned. If using a bench-mounted press, ensure that it is securely anchored to the workbench or table.

  5. Apply Pressure with the Hand Press

    Position the hand-setting die over the watch hands, ensuring that it covers them completely. Gently lower the hand press to apply pressure evenly to the hands. Be cautious not to use excessive force as this could damage the hands or dial.

  6. Check the Alignment

    After applying pressure, carefully inspect the watch hands to ensure they are aligned correctly and securely attached to the dial. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve the desired positioning.

  7. Test the Movement

    Watch Hands

    Once the hands are installed, test the movement of the watch to ensure it works correctly. I like to rotate the hands through a complete 360-degree cycle to be sure there are no positions where the hands get stuck or rub against each other.


  • Watch Hands


  • Watch Hand Press

Best Watch Hand Presser Tools

There are a huge number of watch hand presser tools on the market which makes it difficult to find the best ones in terms of both quality and performance. It is common to go through a lot of trial and error to find the tools that work for you but to help you out, here are a few tools that we think are the best watch hand presser tools to add to your watchmaking toolkit.

Watch Hand Pressers Watch Hand Pressers
Quantity: 3
Tip Sizes: 6
05/30/2024 10:33 pm GMT

Watch Hand Pressers

Offering precision and reliability when setting hands, these watch hand pressers are great tools for watchmakers. Their durable construction and ergonomic design ensure stability and ease of use, making them suitable for both professionals and hobbyists. The set includes 6 different hand-setting die sizes, allowing watchmakers to accommodate various watch hand sizes and shapes. These tools make it convenient and effortless to install watch hands accurately, resulting in professional-quality results every time.

OTOOLWORLD Watch Hand Presser Tool

A valuable tool in every watchmaker’s toolkit, the OTOOLWORLD watch hand presser bench-mounted tool is a practical tool at an affordable price tag. For such a low price, this tool is multifunctional, serving as both a hand presser and a hand remover. It allows you to not only fit watch hands but also remove them with ease. The plunger-style operation allows watchmakers to apply hands with smooth and consistent pressure. This ensures that watch hands are fitted onto dials securely. Plus, the interchangeable tips allow you to work with different hand sizes and shapes without swapping tools.

05/30/2024 10:33 pm GMT
Bergeon 7404 Watch Hands Setting Tool Bergeon 7404 Watch Hands Setting Tool
Quantity: 3
Tip Sizes: 6
05/30/2024 10:33 pm GMT

Bergeon 7404 Hand Setting Tools

The Bergeon 7404 hand-setting tools are part of a comprehensive kit that caters to the diverse needs of watchmaking. Bergeon is renowned for its precision tools and this assortment of three tools embodies the quality, reliability, and versatility of the brand. The range of high-quality hand-setting tools provides you with everything you need to tackle various watch repair tasks. The three tools also come with different-sized tips allowing you to fit watch hands of different sizes and shapes. This versatility makes the kit suitable for working on a wide range of timepieces. The tools are ergonomically designed for ease of use and whether you are a seasoned professional or a novice watchmaker, this set provides you with a great selection of tools.

Bergeon Watch Hand Presser Tool

The Bergeon watch hand presser bench-mounted tool is a game-changer for watchmakers. Crafted by the renowned brand Bergeon, this tool is designed with quality and precision. Its ergonomic design makes it easy to use and it is a popular tool for watchmakers. While it does come with a more premium price tag, its sturdy construction and reliability make it a worthwhile investment that will be a feature of your watchmaking repair kit for years to come.

What sets this tool apart from others is its versatility and efficiency. It includes multiple interchangeable tips, allowing for precise adjustment and installation of watch hands of various sizes and shapes. Thanks to its six different tips, this tool delivers consistent results with minimal effort. It also includes a holder offering built-in storage for all of the interchangeable tips. The Bergeon watch hand presser tool is a must-have for anyone serious about watch repair. Its quality craftsmanship and ease of use make it a valuable asset to watchmaking.

05/30/2024 10:34 pm GMT

Watch Hand Press Tools FAQs

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