Beginners Guide to Watch Hand Removal Tools

Written by: Maz P
Updated on:
Watch Hands Removal Tools

In the world of watchmaking, the delicate process of removing and replacing watch hands is a skill that every watchmaker will master. Whether you’re looking to customize your timepiece, perform repairs or delve into the intricate world of watch movements, understanding the proper techniques and tools for watch hand removal is essential.

Watch hand removal tools are specifically designed to safely detach the hands from the watch dial without causing any damage. These tools allow you to work with precision and delicacy, ensuring the integrity of the watch hands and dial is maintained throughout the process.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various types of watch hand removal tools available, their functionalities and how to choose the right tool for your specific needs. We will delve into the step-by-step procedures for removing watch hands using different techniques, such as using hand lifters, hand pullers, or hand levers.

Whether you’re a novice or have some experience in watchmaking, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to handle watch hand removal tasks effectively and safely. So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets of watch hand removal tools together, empowering you to elevate your watchmaking skills and explore the fascinating world of timepiece customization and repair.

Why do Watchmakers Need Watch Hand Removal Tools?

Watchmakers rely on specialized watch hand removal tools for repair, maintenance and customization tasks. These tools allow them to safely detach watch hands, facilitating repairs, alignment adjustments and movement servicing. Additionally, watch hand removal tools are used for dial customization, enabling the installation of new hands and personalization. They are crucial for disassembling watches during servicing, ensuring thorough cleaning and inspection of movement components.

These tools provide precision and protection, minimizing the risk of damage to delicate hands and preserving the watch’s aesthetics. Overall, watch hand removal tools are essential for watchmakers, enabling them to perform a wide range of tasks with skill and care.

Presto Tool

Presto Tool

Presto style tools are versatile instruments designed to assist in the removal of various components, including hour/minute or second hands, cannon pinions, and certain wheels. These tools excel in delicate operations that require lifting with minimal downward force. The hand removing presto tool is specifically utilized by positioning it over the center post of the hands. By gently squeezing the sides of the tool, two levers beneath the hands are activated, causing an upward motion. To provide the necessary force for lifting the hands, small plastic feet descend onto the dial face. It is advisable to use a watch dial protector to minimize any potential marks on the dial during this process.

While Bergeon is a prominent and trusted brand known for manufacturing presto tools, there are also several budget-friendly options available in the market. These tools offer a practical and efficient solution for watchmakers and enthusiasts engaging in watch hand removal tasks.

The versatile nature of presto style tools, their ease of use and the availability of branded and budget-friendly options make them a valuable addition to any watchmaker’s toolkit. Whether you’re removing hands, cannon pinions or other components, presto tools provide the necessary functionality and precision required for such delicate operations.


Presto Hand Remover Tool

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Watch Hand Plunger

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Bergeon 30637-2 Presto Tool

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Hand Levers

Hand levers, resembling mini-crowbars, are indispensable tools used in pairs for the careful removal of watch hands. Their purpose is to apply equal pressure on both sides of the hands, minimizing the risk of bending or damaging them in the process. Inserted beneath the hands in opposing positions, these levers gently pry the hands off the arbor. However, as this exerts pressure on the dial, it is crucial to employ a dial protector to safeguard its surface.

Hand levers have a long-standing reputation as the preferred choice among watchmakers for hand removal. Their versatility allows for precise control over the speed and pressure applied, mitigating the potential for hand or dial damage. Prominent branded manufacturers such as Bergeon, Horotec and AF Switzerland offer hand levers in various sizes to accommodate different hand dimensions. Additionally, numerous budget options are available in the market.

Interestingly, hand levers also find utility as snap-on case back removers in some watchmaking practices. Their adaptability and functionality extend beyond hand removal alone. For those with access to the necessary tools, it is even possible to craft hand levers oneself using a small piece of steel or brass rod. This option was explored in early watchmaking classes, showcasing the resourcefulness and creativity within the craft.

In summary, hand levers are essential tools that afford watchmakers greater control and precision during the delicate process of hand removal. Their reliable performance, availability from reputable brands and the option for DIY creation make them a valuable asset for any watchmaker’s toolkit.


Watch Hand Levers

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Horotec MSA 05.008 Hand Levers

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Hand Lifting Pliers

Hand lifting pliers are a specialized tool used in watchmaking for the delicate task of removing watch hands. These pliers feature a unique design with thin, curved jaws that allow for precise and controlled gripping of watch hands without causing damage. The fine tips of the pliers enable access to tight spaces and ensure a secure grip on the hands for removal. With their ergonomic handles and smooth operation, hand lifting pliers provide watchmakers with the necessary control and dexterity to safely and efficiently lift watch hands without applying excessive force. They are an essential tool in any watchmaker’s arsenal for accurate and careful hand removal.

Hand Remover Tweezers

Hand remover tweezers are a valuable tool in watchmaking for the delicate task of removing watch hands. These tweezers are specifically designed with fine, angled tips that allow watchmakers to grip and lift the hands with precision and control. The slim and tapered jaws of the tweezers enable access to tight spaces, ensuring minimal interference with the dial or other components. With their ergonomic design and anti-slip handles, hand remover tweezers offer a comfortable grip and precise handling, allowing watchmakers to safely and efficiently remove watch hands without causing damage. They are an essential tool for any watchmaker seeking accuracy and finesse in their craft.


Ultra Fine Non Magnetic Tweezers

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Bergeon 7427-NP-HH Nickelled Steel Watchmakers Tweezers

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Hand Remover Suction Cups

Hand remover suction cups are a useful tool in the realm of watchmaking for the purpose of removing watch hands. These suction cups are typically made of durable and flexible materials with a concave shape and a small handle. The concave shape of the suction cup creates a vacuum seal when pressed onto the watch hand, allowing for a secure grip. By applying gentle pressure and lifting, the suction cup creates enough force to detach the hand from its position without causing damage. Hand remover suction cups are particularly handy for watches with smooth and flat hand surfaces, offering a non-invasive and efficient method of hand removal. They provide watchmakers with a reliable and convenient tool for delicate hand manipulation during repairs and maintenance.

Tips for Purchasing and Using Watch Hand Removal Tools

Quality and Reputation

When purchasing watch hand removal tools, opt for reputable brands known for their quality and reliability. Brands like Bergeon, Horotec, and A F Switzerland are trusted options. Avoid low-quality or unknown brands, as they may compromise the precision and durability required for watchmaking tasks.

Tool Compatibility

Ensure that the watch hand removal tools you choose are compatible with the specific watch models you work with. Consider factors such as the size, shape, and type of hands you frequently encounter. Some tools come in various sizes or have interchangeable components to accommodate different hand sizes.

Hand Lever Pairs

If you opt for hand levers, it is recommended to purchase them as a pair. Using two levers simultaneously allows for even pressure distribution on both sides of the hands, minimizing the risk of bending or damaging them during removal.

Dial Protection

Always prioritize the protection of the watch dial when using hand removal tools. Utilize a dial protector or a soft cloth to cover the dial surface, preventing scratches or marks caused by accidental slips or pressure.

Precision and Control

Look for tools that offer precise control and a comfortable grip. Consider the design and ergonomics of the tool, ensuring it allows for a secure hold and easy maneuverability during the removal process. This will enhance your accuracy and reduce the likelihood of unintended damage.

Practice and Technique

Familiarize yourself with proper techniques for using watch hand removal tools. Practice on less valuable watches or obtain guidance from experienced watchmakers. Developing skill and proficiency in using the tools will minimize the risk of mishaps and enhance your overall efficiency.

Reviews and Recommendations

Before purchasing any watch hand removal tools, read reviews from other watchmakers or seek recommendations from trusted sources. Real-world experiences and feedback can provide valuable insights into the performance, durability, and usability of different tools.

Remember, watch hand removal tools are essential investments for watchmakers, so choose wisely to ensure precision, durability, and overall effectiveness in your watchmaking endeavors.

How to Choose the Perfect Watch Hand Removal Tools for your Watchmaking Journey

Choosing the perfect watch hand removal tools involves considering several factors. Understand your specific needs based on the watches you work with. Prioritize quality and reliability by opting for reputable brands like Bergeon, Horotec and AF Switzerland. Ensure compatibility with different watch models and consider ergonomics for easy handling. Seek feedback from experienced watchmakers and read reviews to make informed decisions. Set a budget and balance it with your requirements. Choose tools that align with your personal preferences and working style. By considering these factors, you can select the ideal watch hand removal tools for your watchmaking journey.

Watch Hand Removal Tool Recommendations

Bergeon 30637-2 Presto Tool

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Horotec MSA 05.008 Hand Levers

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I started 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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