Watch Dial Protector - The Essential Basic Tools of Watchmaking
The sign of a good watchmaker is that once they have finished working on a watch, there are no visible signs that they have been there. This is relevant for the entire watch and movement; however from a purely cosmetic perspective (and for most average watch wearers), it is the dial that is the key part to protect. With this in mind, there is nothing more risky to the dial then removing the hands. This involves sliding levers underneath them to gentle lift them off the post.
There is a simple solution - using a dial protector. This is simply a small shaped flat piece of plastic with a slit that can be placed between the dial and the hands in order to stop the hand levers touching and scratching the dial.
I have seen some watchmakers use a small piece of a transparent polythene plastic bag for this purpose. This seems fine but feels a little more risky to me for something that is so cheap to purchase.
The usual suspects of Bergon and Horotec make suitable branded options, but due to their cheap nature there doesn't seem to be many cheaper replicas around. It's worth pointing out the Horotec hand levers also come with 2 dial protectors, so you could save a little money.
Basic Variety = from £3 for a pack of 5
Branded Variety = from £1.50 each or £4 for a pack of 5
For the minimal cost it's worth buying a branded pack of 5, which should last you a good while and suit your needs. I use the Bergeon 6938 dial protectors and they are more than adequate.
If you think I've missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.