Removing mechanical clock hands for post WW2, mantle and floor clocks is quite simple. Turn the hand nut to the left while holding the minute hand with your fingers.
Use some small needle nose pliers to loosen the nut first. Once the nut is loose, turn it with your fingers until it comes off.
Then the minute hand will be able to wiggle straight off its square arbor and off of the clock. The hour hand is a friction fit, so just twist the hour hand back and forth and pull toward you until it comes off.
If having a second hand bit, that is only a friction also, so just grab it with your fingernails, twist and pull off.
American Antique time and strike
These type of movements come in two styles. If there is a minute hand nut, the first style is the same as above.
Be very careful not to lose this hand nut. They are very hard to find and replace. The second style of mechanical clock hands will have a pin holding the minute hand on instead of a nut.
This pin tapers, meaning it's fat on one side and skinny on the other. Just grab the fat side with needle nose pliers and yank the pin out. The minute hand will fall out with a washer.
Save the washer and the tapered pin for ease of reinstalling the hands. If these items happen to get lost, Clockworks offers washers and taper pins for purchase, as well as replacement mechanical clock hands.
If you are doing a replacement of the movement, or if the hands are new, the minute hand must go through some adjustments. This is so it will point to the correct time when it chimes.
Installing the hour hand
First comes the hour hand. The hour hand is simply a friction fit. All you have to do is put the hand on its round post. Then twist and push toward the front of the dial.
One thing to be sure of is that it is not in contact with the dial at any point during the its rotation.
This includes the base of the hour hand. It cannot rub against the hole in the clock face itself. So, if at any point the hour hand touches anything the clock can stop. Because it is only a friction fit, you can turn the hand to point to whatever hour it is, just with your fingers.
Installing the minute hand
Second, comes the minute hand. The minute hand installation is done by putting the square hole in the hand, on the square post of the hand shaft. The bottom of the minute hand cannot be rubbing the hour hand tube or the hour hand. If it is, the hour hand has to be set lower on its tube.
Therefore, it is imperative to check the positioning of the hands to ensure they are not touching anything. With the minute hand on its square post, now it's time to put the hand nut on.
The nut goes on finger tight and then a little bit more with a pair of needle nose pliers to make it secure.
This means from just outside the 9 straight across to just outside the 3. For example, if this time track diameter is 6 inches, then select hands for a 6 inch time track in the drop down list. Hands for a 6 inch time track will have a minute hand of about 2 7/8 long from the mounting hole to the end.
The proportionally smaller hour hand will come with the minute hand. This is a vastly different way of measuring than the quartz clock hands. So be sure to follow these directions for measuring and not the ones for the quartz hands.
After getting the time track diameter measurement, it is time to choose a style for the mechanical clock hand. Under each style of hand, there is a drop down menu. Look to see if the style comes in the size needed for the clock.
Not all styles of hands come in the same sizes, so might have to look at the different options available. The most popular styles of mechanical clock hands are the serpentine and spade hands.
Remember, the minute hand will come a little less than half of this time track measurement. The hour hand will be proportional in size to the minute hand.
How they are sent
So, when ordering mechanical clock hands, remember that they come as a pair, hour and minute hand. They ship the next business day from Clockworks in Huntington MA USA, via the method that is chosen upon checkout.
When replacing a clock movement, or getting new clock hands, either one, you will notice it will chime 5 minutes before it should, or 10 min after, something like this. This page explains how to correct this situation. It is unbelievably fast and easy to do.
To correct this, take the minute hand off of the clock. This is the longer of the two hands.
With this minute hand off of the clock, turn it upside down and look that it has a square hole where it attaches to the clock. This square hole is in a bushing that will rotate WITHIN the minute hand itself.
So, all to be done is just use needle nose pliers to turn this bushing ever so slightly. Put the hand back on the clock and see if it’s pointing to the correct place where it should chime.
If it is, then it all set and it will point to the exact place it should be pointing to. If it is still not right, take the hand off and try again. Once you get the minute hand to point to the correct chime you then set it to the correct time.
It is really that easy, there is nothing to do with the clock itself, only the minute hand. In other words, to put it in a silly way, take the minute hand off of the clock and walk to the garage with it.
Take it far, far away from the clock. When in your garage take needle nose pliers and turn the bushing within the hand itself. Then walk back to the clock and put it on. See if it's now pointing to the right spot.
One of the most common parts a Mechanical clock needs is the hand nut. As we said before, the older the clock the harder things are to find. So, the hand nuts Clockworks offer are for movements made after the 1930's.
Prior to 1930 clock hand nuts
There were not many standards on what the hand nut size should be on the early clocks. However, prior to around 1930 there is no telling what will work. In other words, it is literally trial and error. There was no standard hand nut size.
Insert the taper pin into the hole in the end of the minute hand arbor to secure the washer and minute hand to the clock. A taper pin is a small brass or steel rod that is wide on one end and skinny on the other. Clockworks offers them in an assortment of 100 to ensure the right one is there.
The Mechanical Clock hands in the list below are sold by dial diameter size. Alternately, this is not the same method as a clock that operates on a battery. Instead, determine the hands for mechanical clocks as an after effect of measuring the dial diameter. Furthermore, a time track is the outer ring that clocks sometimes have just outside the numerals. Measure the dial diameter from outside of the 9 to outside of the 3. For example, if 6 inches for this measurement, then order hands for a 6 inch time track. So, for a pair of hands made for a 6 inch time track would have a minute hand around 2 7/8 inches long.
These mechanical clock hands are for German mechanical clocks that are post WW2 and includes most mechanical clocks after 1950. Post war clocks are made in either Korea, China, or Germany. Of course, the Korean and China clocks are pretty easy to identify as they usually say 31 day on it. If this is the situation and the clock says 31 day, these hands will not fit.
To be certain the clock is from Germany, look at the back plate of the clock movement itself. There will always be a stamp with an engraving that says Made in Germany. These mechanical clock hands will fit 90% of these clocks. Although there are some exceptions. Some tubular bell units and some of the older German units are a couple of examples. To be absolutely 100% sure these hands are correct, measure the width of the mounting post on the movement and match it up with the sizes they specify.
The most popular choice for German clock movements. These black Serpentine hands come in 4 to 10 inch dial diameters. These fit most German movements in existence. The minute hand has a 2.2mm square mounting hole, the hour hand has a 4.5mm round hole.
Hands for German mechanical clocks such as Hermle, Urgos or Kieninger. These hands are for a dial that is 6 inch (15cm) to 6 1/2 inch (17cm) wide from outside the numeral 3 to outside the numeral 9.
American Mechanical hands for Seth Thomas, Sessions, Ansonia, Gilbert, Bristol, Ingram, Welch, New Haven and others. These are for American made mechanical movements produced prior to the end of WW2 because they did not produce many clocks after this time. The hands come in a couple minute hand mounting styles such as Oblong or Square. The hour hand just has a round hole every time.
The further back in time one goes with USA antiques movements there was less mass production. This means the older the clock the weirder things can get. So these hands are not going to fit every clock that is old and from America but they do cover the mass productions instead. Sometimes is it required for the older antiques to make something work from what is available. Such as soldering two hands together to make one good one that fits or filing a hole bigger with a needle file.
For 5 inch dial diameter. Choose square or oblong hole in the minute hand. For American antique movements. (Seth Thomas, New Haven, Ansonia, Gilbert, Waterbury and so on)
Second hand sweep for a mechanical floor clock with the second hand option. Please choose the movement number that is on the back plate of the brass movement itself for the correct second hand to be shipped.
Design quartz clock hands for the Clockworks battery operated movements. These will fit all the battery movements sold by Clockworks. The minute hand has an oblong mounting hole and the hour hand has a round one.
The design of our Maltese clock hands are specifically for American antique movements, including brands such as ST, Sessions, New Haven, Ansonia, Gilbert, and Waterbury. These hands are available with either a square or oblong hole to accommodate the mounting hole in the minute hand.
Spade hands that fit most German mechanical clock movements. The hands are measured by the time track diameter. A time track is the small ring outside of the numerals and the minute hand length will be about half this diameter.
Second hands for quartz clock movements that take a battery. Second hands come in Black, Gold, or Red. The measurement being from the mounting post all the way out to the tip. The measurement can also be done off of the clock face.
Here are Regulator Style Clock Hands that fit most German mechanical clock movements made after 1950. The hands are measured by the time track diameter. A time track is the small ring outside of the numerals.
This is a set of Serpentine Mechanical Clock Hands that fit most German mechanical clock movements made after 1950. The hands are measured by the time track diameter. A time track is the small ring outside of the numerals.
Serpentine Variant Quartz Hands #H13 will fit the time only clock movement from clockworks. The hour hand will have a round hole, and the minute hand will have an oblong hole. The oblong hole just fits over the movements "I" post and than the nut goes on top to hold it down.
Hands that have an ST on them to represent Seth Thomas clock movements, for antique 8 day time strike units made in USA. Fits most American antique movements such as ST, Sessions, New Haven, Ansonia, Gilbert, and Waterbury.