Step 3: Removing the hands and the dial

You will have noticed, that the stem and crown had been reinserted. This is important, since the crown will provide a good handle for further manipulations.

Now it is a good time to release the tension of the main spring. Hold the crown and movement firmly with one hand and move the click of the winding mechanism with your brass pincers or the pegwood out of its locking position. By gently and slowly letting  the crown rotate between your fingers, fully unwind the main spring.

Adjust the hour and minute and second hand to one single position, eg. 12 o'clock and use the hand lifting tool to remove the hands. This is a watch with sweep seconds. For a watch with sub seconds or for a chronograph or for a watch with other complications or dial inscriptions, chose a hand position with minimal risk of damaging anything on the dial.

We used the Indian version (see a comparison of both tools here - use the back button of your browser to come back here) to remove the hands. I had applied very thin insulation tape on the tips of the hand lifting tool, in order to avoid scratches on the dial.

Also important: often it is not necessary to completely loosen the dial screws. Slacken the screws 1/2 to 1 turn is often enough to lift the dial off. Be aware that there might be a dial washer (the brass washer in the picture below around the cannon pinion) and the hour wheel that are normally loose before turning the movement without dial over.

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