Dive watches have become extremely popular not just for underwater enthusiasts but also for patrons of luxury timepieces. Although hugely effective as tool watches built to withstand the day to day rigours of life and more, there are some beautiful, unique and sometimes fascinating dive watches on the market.
Dive watches are now often bought as much as a fashion statement, rather than just for their great functionality and durability. A key part of the aesthetic beauty of dive watches is their watch hands, and in this article we take a look at the most common and popular watch hands found on dive watches.
Arrow Watch Hands
There are many watch hands that are named due to their shape, and that is clearly the case with these watch hands. An ever popular style of watch hand, the arrow hand is particularly renowned for its success on the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Coming to a pointed arrow end, these hands provide a significant level of clarity and legibility ensuring it is particularly easy to read the time at a glance. However for all of its boldness and provided clarity, they can also be quite a sizeable set of hands, meaning that they are better utilised, and hence found, on dive or sports watches.
Mercedes Watch Hands
Next on the list is one of the most common dive watch hands, popularised by Rolex. The Mercedes name comes from the style of the hour hand, sharing obvious similarities with its three pointed star to that of the logo of Mercedes Benz. Its popularity cannot be considered a surprise. With such a luxury association and maintaining a subtlety in design, combined with a secure area for applying luminescence to the hour hand, this is one type of watch hand that is extraordinarily popular, especially on Rolex dive watches.
Snowflake Watch Hands
If Mercedes hands are synonymous with Rolex, then it is definitely Tudor that is the equivalent for Snowflake hands. Popular now because of the Tudor Black Bay, these hands first appeared at the end of the 1960s. Although much of the love for the hands style is aesthetic, the design of the snowflake hour hand, similarly to Mercedes hands, provides more surface area for luminescence, improving underwater dive visibility. It is the combination of the hour hand with the more plain minute hand and diamond headed second hand that further increases legibility for divers.
Baton Watch Hands
Although often found on classic or dress watches due to their minimalistic style, these long straight hands can also be found on dive watches. When installed on a dive watch, the hands are slightly thicker than the similar looking "stick watch hands" and it is this quality that makes them more accommodating to luminescence hence making them appropriate for sports and dive watches. You will also find some dive watches which will house an elaborate hour hand combined with a more subtle baton minute hand.
Plongeur Watch Hands
Plongeur is the French word for diver. Seems to me like the perfect choice therefore for a dive watch! Plongeur hands tend to have a prominent and exaggerated sword shaped minute hand with a straight hour hand. The shape of the hour hand is similar to that of a sword hand, but sets itself apart by the style of the hand's base. One of the more common examples of the Plongeur hand is the Omega Seamaster which has a striking colour, often Orange, highlighting the minute hand.
Obelisque Watch Hands
The obelisque hands are named after, due to their similarity in shape, the Obelisk, a narrow tapering monument that ends in a pyramid like shape at the end. Possibly most famously found in a Blancpain dive watches, these are strong and sturdy watch hands that somewhat resemble alpha hands although without a short point where they connect to the centre of the dial.
Sword Watch Hands
Like the sword itself, these hands can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Similar to a broadsword, for example, they can be thick, or more like a rapier, can be thin. Additionally you may find some skeletonised sword hands as well as solid. Similar to plongeur hands, they lack the stem at the base. On a dive watch, possibly one of the most famous watches housing sword hands is the Rolex Milsub.
There are a huge variety of watch hands available, and although we have outlined 7 of the most popular seen in dive watches, this is merely a drop in the ocean when you start looking further afield. What is clear though is that alongside the materials, the dial, the case etc the watch hands also play a critical part in the aesthetic character of a watch and should not be underestimated when choosing your next timepiece.