How to Adjust a Metal Watch Band with Basic Tools

How to Adjust a Metal Watch Band with Basic Tools

Most often when you buy new watch with a metal band (strap), it is far too big for your wrist and requires adjustment. There are several different types of metal watch bands and each needs a different technique to remove links and adjust the size to fit your wrist. In this article I will describe the method to adjust two of the most common type of metal watch band.


Metal watch band fixed link, non-stretch type


Metal watch band stretch link type

Always wear eye protection and have a small container available to store any parts removed.

Stretch linked watch band

These bands have an outer and inner links which interlace with each other and are held together with multiple staple-like clips.


Metal watch band stretch link type, outer links


Stretch metal watch band inner links

Place a small jeweler’s screw driver under one of the staples and prise it up then grip it with a small pair of pliers or an artery forceps and remove the staple.


Removing staples of stretch type metal watch band using a jeweler’s screwdriver


Staple-like pin of stretch type metal watch band

Slide the links on either side of the removed stale in opposite directions and the band will separate at that point.


Stretch type metal watch band separated after outer and inner link removed

Count the number links you wish to remove and remove staples at that point in the same way as before. Be sure to include the same number of outer links as inner links.

Realign the separated edges of the watch band and replace the staples using a pair of pliers or artery forceps.


Stretch link metal watch band replacing staples with artery forceps

The video link below demonstrates this technique for adjusting this type of watch band.

Fixed linked watch band


These watch bands have thin metal split pins which hold the links together and act as a hinge between links. To separate links this pin needs to be gently knocked out. An arrow  on the inside of the link usually indicates the direction the pin should be knocked out. If no arrow is found then located the rounded end of the pin and knock it out from that side.


Fixed linked metal watch band adjustment pin rounded end


Arrows on inside of the metal watch band indicating direction of pin pin removal

Place the watch band on edge on a soft surface (a block of wood with a non-slip rubber cover and hole drilled to knock pin into) with the rounded end of the pins facing up. Be sure that the pin is over the hole in the wood so that it has a path to move freely out of the watch link. A 1 mm jeweler’s screw driver makes an ideal punch for this purpose. Place the jeweler’s screw driver on the rounded end of the pin and tap gentle the pin should move a little way out of the link on the opposite side, grip it with a small pair of pliers and pull it out. The watch band should separate at that point.


Tap out pin of metal watch band in direction of arrow to remove link


Metal watch band separated after pin removal

Remove another pin on the other side of the same link and that link should drop out. Try and remove the same number of links from each side of the clasp mechanism. After the appropriate number of links have been removed the separated ends of the watch band can be reunited and secured by replacing the pins. The pins are replaced in the opposite direction to their removal, this time firm pressure on the flat end of the pin is sufficient to insert it back into position.

Should additional finer adjustment be required this should be done on the clasp mechanism adjustment holes. This is done by depressing the spring loaded pin and moving it along one hole at a time first on one side then the other.


Fine adjustments to metal watch band made by moving spring-loaded pin in holes of clasp


Metal watch band fine adjustments, release and move spring-loaded pin on clasp

The video link below demonstrates this technique for adjusting this type one watch band.

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