Shopping Cart

How to Determine What Size Clock Hands to Use


Lots of people think whatever clock hands they have will fit a new clock movement. This is not usually true. The mounting holes are not well standardized. So, if you already have the clock hands, you can just choose a similar length and style from us. If you do not have hands, then a few simple rules should be followed so you can correctly choose the correct size clock hands you need from us.
This simple step is often overlooked, but it does make a difference. It all starts with tape measure or ruler, and measuring the diameter of the clock face, or clock dial. Take a look at this clock dial.

Normally you would select hands that would come to about the middle of the numbers, but if you have these 2 parallel lines, also known as a time ring or chapter ring, then the minute hand should end right between the two parallel lines.
To get an exact length to end in the middle of the time ring, it’s perfectly normal to trim the minute and hour hand to fit your clock face. Our black hands are aluminum and easy to trim with a good pair of scissors. Our gold hands are a brass plated steel, so a pair of tin snips or wire cutters works well.

A lot of clock dials do not use this formal design, so the rules for hand length are more relaxed. This is especially true when unusual markers or indicators are used to indicate the hours.  These indicators could be adhesive backed numbers, buttons, wood toy wheels, nuts & washers, dried flowers, upholstery tacks, poker chips or dice, seashells, stones, bottle caps, photos, almost any small object.  Just end your minute hand in the middle of the indicator.

So scroll up and follow the instructions when choosing the perfect size clock hands for your new replacement motor.

Depending on the design of your clock face or clock dial, you do not have to be exact, but being within a ¼” is usually OK. It is also perfectly normal to trim hands to a shorter length. Clock repair shops do it every day to adjust new hands to their customer’s clock face.

You only measure the minute hand from the mounting to the tip, so do not be concerned about the length of the hour hand, as it is typically 2/3 of the length of the minute hand. All of our hour and minute hands are sold by the pair, and the size is based on the length of the minute hand from the middle of the mounting hole to the tip.

If you wish to check the exact size of the mounting holes in our hour and minute hands, then just refer to the drawings in this link. The problem is that to measure this accurately you would need a micrometer of a good pair of calipers, which most people do not have. The tolerance on these mounting holes is .002”, so measure carefully. This is why we suggest that if you are replacing a battery operated clock motor, that you get new clock hands.

Here’s my rule of thumb; if you replace a clock movement, select new hands. When you get your order if your old hands actually fit our movement, then go buy a lottery ticket, because it’s your lucky day!