Knowing how to tighten the hour hand and minute hand for a watch is one of those jobs that we all run into from time to time. With a staking set this becomes a quick adjustment that can be completed in just a few minutes. If you need to tighten a loose watch hand there is no need for specialized tools.

Watch Hour Hand Pipe

The Area that Needs Tightening

Watch hands, specifically hour and minute hands have a raised area on the back called a pipe. The pipe has a slight angle to it which grips onto the hour wheel or cannon pinion. After repeatedly being taken off and re installed, these pipes can become enlarged and result in a loose watch hand. The key to tightening the Pipe is to be able to do it in an even and controlled manner. The solution is using the staking set with a specially shaped stake or punch.

Tapered mouth Watchmakers Stake

The Stake or Punch Needed

All Staking sets include the Tapered Mouth Punch. It is one of the most used stakes in the box. It has many uses, but today we are concentrating on reducing the pipe diameter in a watch hand. When selecting a Taper Mouth Punch, select one that is large enough to fit over the pipe without bottoming out in the backside of the watch hand.

Centering watch hand on staking tool

Just a Lite Touch IS needed

To close the hole on the hour hand, the hand is placed on the die plate. When using this punch, it is very important to center the punch directly over the pipe. To do this select a hole on the die plate that is large enough for the centering punch to rest inside the pipe while still providing enough support underneath. Once the watch hand has been centered you can hold it with your finger and remove the center punch. 

Watch hand on staking set

 Then insert the Tapered mouth punch and lightly press down on the pipe. Test the fit of the hand and repeat as necessary.

Watch Hand Holder for Burnishing the Pipe Hole

What if you over Tighten the Pipe ?

It can be easy to overtighten the hole but no worries, there is a way to reopen the hole if needed.

Because the watch hand is so fragile you need a way to support it to be able to increase the size. Of course, there is a tool for that. It is a Watch Hand Clamp.

Watch Hand Holder Open

The bottom of the clamp unscrews and allows the two circular jaws to open. 

The watch hole is inserted over the appropriate hole size the screw is loosely tightened just enough to support the hole but not tight enough to crush the hand.

Watch Hand Holder with watch hand inserted
Opening up a Tight Watch Hand Hole

Opening Up the Pipe Hole

With the watch hand now supported, a smoothing broach is inserted into the hole and gently turned inside the hole enlarging the diameter. Slow adjustments are key here.

In cased where the pipe on a minute hand is either too small or nonexistent, the diameter of the hole can be reduced by using a rounded punch instead.