How TUDOR Snowflake Hands Are Made

How TUDOR Snowflake Hands Are Made

The "HOW" of Hands

An in-depth exploration of the production process of TUDOR Snowflake hands.

What distinctive design element distinguishes a TUDOR watch? The Snowflake hands, naturally. They first appeared in TUDOR’s 1969 catalogue on the dive watch references 7016 and 7021. The concept behind the hands was straightforward: ensure maximum legibility by allowing for generous application of luminescent material, making the watch more functional and relevant for divers who relied on their watch underwater. This design was exclusively used for diving watches until the mid-eighties. The “Snowflake” configuration then re-entered the TUDOR collection at Baselworld 2012 with the launch of the popular Black Bay and Pelagos models. Today, it remains the single most proprietary and recognized TUDOR design element.

The role of the dive watch may have evolved, but the Snowflake hand has endured. It's the quickest way to recognize a TUDOR watch. But how is this unique design achieved?

It begins with a thin yet strong brass ribbon, approximately the thickness of the watch hands—very thin. This brass ribbon is first unfurled, and a stamping machine punches out the shape of a Snowflake hand. The resulting pattern forms the "inside" of the Snowflake hands. To complete the entire hand, the diameter of the pattern is enlarged and stamped again. This time, the whole hand is produced, but it remains hollow at this stage with no material filling the hand.

The hand is polished and finished before being filled with luminescent material to ensure a long-lasting glow. Using a proprietary technique, the hands are filled and then placed on a card, ready for a watchmaker to install by hand. This step cannot be done by machine, making the watchmaker essential to this phase of assembly. After all, the hands are a key feature of the watch, visible every time you check the time.