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  • Writer's pictureMarc Jenni

Miss a minute hand?

Updated: Feb 8

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Date: October 22, 1993


After weeks of spending time on acquiring the basic skills, the first repairs were coming in. Besides all the miscellaneous small repairs I’d like to emphasis on an old dutch clock with a missing minute hand.


Old style hour and minute hands for an antique dutch clock
Old style hour and minute hands for an antique dutch clock

Such old style hands cannot simply be bought at next door’s component supplier. In this case the minute hand needed to be entirely made by hand. But how?


First, observe the design and shape of the remaining hour hand. Since the minute hand needs to pair with the existing hour hand it’s just a logic approach that we are getting the design inspiration from what is original and still existing! Also use vintage watch books and look for similar clocks from the same period of time which help to take the final decision.


A hand sketch will be drawn on a piece of paper and glued onto an old and tarnished plate of steel. At the end it gives a vintage look to the newly manufactured hand and will match the existing hour hand texture.


Hand drawing of the missing minute hand
Hand drawing of the missing minute hand

The next steps will take some time; sawing the plate while following the hand-drawn lines. Drilling holes in order to access the internal cut-outs. Finally the sharp edges are rounded using different profiles of files and the major imperfections in the geometry get corrected. Not too perfect please - remember the age of that clock... back in those days no CNC machines were available!


Hand made minute hand

At the very end, a brass bush with a square hole needs to be fixed onto the minute hand.  Finally, both hands will be mounted and adjusted.


However, «Time» is the factor giving the final touch to the new minute hand - no one can copy or imitate a vintage pattern or a specific color of tarnish... so let time simply do it’s job!

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