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  1. cimo

    cimo Mar 31, 2016

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    Hi all,

    This is more of a watchmaking question but this seemed to be the most appropriate forum for such an inquiry.

    I am curious what you all feel is the best tool for removing the hands from a watch. There's this type:
    Image1459446459.650873.jpg

    Or the lever variety:
    Image1459446444.668285.jpg

    And then this thing!
    Image1459446477.802504.jpg

    I have not seen any arguments for why any might be better than the other. What say you?
     
  2. gemini4

    gemini4 Hoarder Of Speed Mar 31, 2016

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    Unless you really know what you are doing a professional watchmaker is best.
     
  3. Joe K.

    Joe K. Curious about this text thingy below his avatar Mar 31, 2016

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    based on the title-

    [​IMG]
     
  4. dx009

    dx009 Mar 31, 2016

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    I would pick the 1st one. I actually have one on order. Option 2 is pretty risky. And 3 seems a little bulky to operate on a watch with.
     
  5. cimo

    cimo Mar 31, 2016

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    Certainly true for worthy pieces.

    But there are those of us with the compulsion to tinker and a drawer full of rusty seiko movements. I happen to fall into this category :p

    Well, maybe not a drawer full.
     
  6. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Mar 31, 2016

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    I have a Presto remover similar to what is shown as option 1 - it stays in my drawer most of the time, although it is handy from removing crowns from split stem watches (I never use it for removing hands as I think they are horrible for that).

    In my opinion, nothing beats hand levers for the control you get in removing hands:

    [​IMG]

    The levers shown in the photo are made by VOH, and are the best I've used. The way they are constructed means that very little motion is needed to remove the hands in comparison to the levers you show in option 2. This is particularly important when removing hands that are in a recess, like the sub-dial hands on a chronograph, because you don't want the handle portion of the lever to get close to contacting the dial.

    No matter what you use, proper protection for the dial is needed. I use layers of thick cling plastic that I have cut and shaped to fit around posts, and by adding or removing layers I can raise or lower the surface I pivot from to remove the hands. So when removing the central chronograph hand, I use a taller stack, then remove some layers and remove the minute and hour hands.

    Not a bad idea to place a sheet of plastic over the hand as you are removing it, which will prevent it from flying...

    One more thing - tools don't always come ready to use right out of the box. They sometimes need touching up, so polishing surfaces that go under the hands for example can be needed to get the best use of the item.

    Cheers, Al
     
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  7. 72c

    72c Mar 31, 2016

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    While you're here Al, could you advise about the technique you use for refitting hands and tools you use? The fine tipped metal tweezers I've used in the past always seemed a little crude, especially with vintage hands where the paint shows age and already prone to flaking when the key thing is avoiding scratching them.
    And any tips about the subdial hand fitting method you use would be most useful! Thanks
     
  8. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Mar 31, 2016

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    I hope you are not using tweezers to press hands on, are you? :eek:

    I use a hand press of course...

    [​IMG]

    There are many types and price ranges available, but I highly recommend a press. There are other tools out there like these hand held models for pressing hands on:

    http://www.jewelerssupplies.com/product3132.html

    But a press will help you keep the hands parallel to the dial when fitting them. Horotec makes a nice little press that's not terribly expensive and although it's a bit small, it does the job:

    http://www.jewelerssupplies.com/product1082.html

    Also comes in a 3 station design.

    In terms of technique, it's not complicated really - just take your time and press on evenly and firmly. Supporting the jewels is a good idea, so movement holders that are designed with jewel supports for fitting hands are a good idea. Pay attention to the division (spacing) of the hands from the dial and from each other, keeping everything neat and even. Of course making sure hands clear each other, line up properly around the dial, and that chronograph hands rest to zero are all things to keep in mind.

    In my photo above you will see a pair of F pattern hand tweezers that have highly polished tips (made by Horotec) and these are useful for handling the hands, placing them on the watch for installation, etc. Not scratching hands is important of course...

    Cheers, Al
     
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  9. wsfarrell

    wsfarrell Mar 31, 2016

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    As a hobbyist, I prefer option 1 (Presto-type). If used carefully as a puller only, nothing ever touches the dial. With levers, something always touches the dial. Ideally, it's plastic and there are no marks. Still a risk I'm not willing to take at my skill level.
     
  10. 72c

    72c Mar 31, 2016

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    Very helpful Al, thanks. I will definitely invest in a hand press, it's the piece of the jigsaw I was missing.

    by the way
    Thankfully not for pressing :D For picking them up before placing into position
     
  11. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Mar 31, 2016

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    Well I'm glad to hear that! I've seen it done...and not just by amateurs either...::facepalm2::

    Well using them in a way they weren't designed to be used is an option too. ;)

    So you grip the hands with the tool, grip the movement with your other hand, and yank them off? Unless I'm missing something that's not exactly risk free.

    But to each his own...

    Cheers, Al
     
  12. wsfarrell

    wsfarrell Mar 31, 2016

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    I actually squirt some WD40 on them first to make sure they'll come off easily. :D
     
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  13. ulackfocus

    ulackfocus Mar 31, 2016

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    Samuri watchmaker, eh?

    73790dbe7013c5ce2d4552bb268485e3.jpg
     
  14. Joe K.

    Joe K. Curious about this text thingy below his avatar Mar 31, 2016

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    More likely an Ottoman empire watchmaker..... and in any case, not a watchmaker you want to argue with of the quality of his work...

    [​IMG]
     
  15. JimInOz

    JimInOz "Helpful Hints from Heloise" of bracelet cleaning. Mar 31, 2016

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    I'm with Al on this one. The Presto tool actually forces the nylon feet onto the dial (if used as designed) and if it's not in good condition it can shish hands.

    Hand levers give much more control, I find them to be perfect after learning to use them correctly (thanks to Al for the education).

    The K&D style would only be used for pocket watches, and even then I'd prefer levers.
     
  16. trim

    trim Apr 1, 2016

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    Hi Al, what size do you use generally - they seem to come in a variety from 1.6 to 3.2 or so.

    Not disagreeing with Al, and I think I will personally follow his advice, but I quite like the KD style. Mind you I reshaped and polished the tips. They are so gentle and I find they have great control. The presto type give me the willies. Anyway, I mostly seem to be working on Trench watches these days, but I have used the (modified KD type) on everything from small to large, modern to old, basic to chronographs (incl shock horror my Speedy). That said, I don't work on expensive watches.
     
    Edited Apr 1, 2016
  17. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Apr 1, 2016

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    I find 1.6 and 2.5 cover pretty much all my needs. But I don't often work on anything over 16 1/2 lignes...

    Cheers, Al
     
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  18. glownyc

    glownyc Apr 1, 2016

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    If this whole watchmaker thing doesn't work out you could take those tools with your steady hands and have a career as a dental hygienist. ;)
     
  19. cimo

    cimo Apr 1, 2016

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    Wow! Great information, thank you everyone. As usual, great pictures Al.

    This thread turned out better than expected. Swords and watches--interesting combination.
     
  20. trim

    trim Apr 2, 2016

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    Thanks!