Dial torque wrench, in its standard form, is composed by two parallel metal bars, of which the first, more strong, joins the handle with the head under the square drive. The second one is connected to the head, but is free at the opposite end and plays the role of needle on a graduated scale. The torque is applied by the first bar, employed as a normal operating tool for compasses, that flexes under the action of applied force, while the second bar remains straight as not connected to the handle. The drop is indicated on the graduated scale, where the second bar plays the role of needle. The operator is responsible to stop tightening when reads the desired value on the scale.
There are versions with single bar and rounded scale with needle controlled by a mechanism inside the wrench, that is more accuratee than the version with two bars. In the last few years there have been digital versions, that read drive torque through a load cell contained in the head, and display the data on a small liquid crystal screen on the handle; a beep indicates the tightening.