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How to install second hands

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Newbie here but my wife bought me a DYI watch kit and I'm stuck at the steps to attach the hands, first time I've done it.  The hour and minute hands took a little practice but I got them within 15 minutes.  But I probably spent two hours on the second hand and gave up to write this post.  I was using the microscope I bought recently and it was definitely helpful but for the life of me I cannot line up the hand properly to push onto the post.

I tried using a push tool and tweezers but no luck.  I tried working in a high bench configuration (actually a low stool) but that didn't work out and I had to work so close to the edge of the bench that I popped the hand onto the floor.

The closest I got was under the scope with the tip of the second hand in rodico to line it up while I try to push the hand onto the post.  Sigh.  One thing that the instructions did say re: the 2nd hand is to "gently tap the end with tweezers to fasten it in place." 

Anyway, sorry about the long-winded story.  I'll go search out videos of people actually succeeding, but if anybody has any tips or a link to a good video I'd appreciate it.


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Some seconds hands can be tricky, the tube on the hand can be misshapen or sometimes have a little paint in them from the paint used to colour the hand, this reduction in internal diameter can make them a very tight fit. You did the right thing in walking away, trying to force it may damage the hand or worst case the pivot onto which the hand fits, then you have a much larger issue. If you suspect what I am saying is correct you have 2 options:

  1. Use a different seconds hand
  2. Use a broach (like the ones below) to open it up slightly (in baby steps!)


Let us know how you get on - pictures are a big help too (hint)

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It took me another hour to finally get it in.  I used a trick I saw in a YT video where you stick the pointy end of the hand in rodico the grip the rodico in one hand an line up over the post.  It was still not easy but the hand was more stable that way then trying to align it with tweezers where the slightest touch or release of the tweezers makes it jump, twist and fall.

Once I got it where I thought it was over the post I nudged it onto the post with the tweezers closed and over the tube part of the hand.  When I was sure I was on the post I used a hand pusher to set it.

It did get me thinking about the pros and cons of the microscope.  I did this under the scope and even though the microscope is at an angle (IE, not perpendicular to the work surface) it's still mostly a vertical point of view and hard to gauge if I'm over the top.  It might have been as easy to use a high bench and loupe.



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The seconds hand is often a test of your patience and steady hands.

A couple of tricks: wind the mainspring a little to make the movement tick before you attach the hand. That way you will know that the hand is on the pivot when it starts turning.

Use rodico and stick the tip of the hand into it. Steady your hand to the workbench/mat and move the movement holder with your other hand to position the pivot. This technique is useful also for other moments when you assemble the movement.

Practice, practice, practice....

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I am finding that the rodico trick works well in lots of situations - like trying to reattach an incabloc spring that falls out of its grooves. You can also thrown the rodico at the wall when things are not going well. 

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