How To Remove Watch Links All By Yourself

Watch Links, Silver, Watch Parts, Steel, Disassembled, DIY

Whenever you get a brand new watch, the first thing you do is slap it on your wrist and check out how it looks. But often, there may be little adjustments that you need to make including resizing. This may seem like something that only your local jeweller can do.

You might ask yourself, “Can I change watch links myself?” The answer is yes. With the proper tools and a little knowledge, you definitely can remove watch links in order to find the perfect fit. After all, the perfect fit is key to enabling that beautiful new watch to create a powerful statement about yourself.

But you might also be wondering, “Can all watch links be changed at home?” As with the previous question, the answer is yes, provided one has the proper tools and knowledge mentioned.

So in this article, we shall walk you through on how to remove watch links at home as well as give you an idea of the tools needed to do it. Time waits for no man or woman. So let’s get into the methods and techniques needed.

How To Adjust The Band?

Watch Links, Golden Watch, Watch Band, Watch Strap, Mechanical Watch
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Once you’ve found that watch that says “I am yours, and you need to have me” you may find that the wrist band is just a bit too small or too large. That entails taking the time to adjust it for the perfect fit.

The process of adding links is the same as removing, only backwards. Here, we’ve broken down the steps you need to take to remove a watch link. So let’s look at how to get started.

Step 1 – For Every watch

You will need to know just how many links you want to remove. That means you first have to measure the band on your wrist. To do this, place the watch on your wrist and then turn your wrist over with the watch face towards the table, the clasp facing you. Afterwards, pull the extra links together until the fit is just right.

The extra links that are not around your wrist are the ones you need to remove. If you’re unsure, just go ahead and take one link less than what you think you need. This is because you can always go back and remove another link after the first pass. It’s best that you try to remove an even number of links. That way, you’re able to keep the band’s clasp centre.

Step 2 – Make Sure You Have Complete Tools and Prepare the Area

You want to find a flat surface that is clear of any clutter. Try putting a towel or some sort of fabric on top of the table to prevent any small pieces from rolling off the table while you’re working. Another great idea is to do the same on the floor below the table, just in case one of the pieces falls to the floor. 

Afterwards, you will need to find all the tools you require and get them situated on the table as well. (See the relevant section below for tools you will need)

Now that you’ve done the initial work, it’s time to learn how to remove watch links from multiple styles of watch designs. Here are the most common styles of watch links on the market and the steps you will need to take to remove those links.

Common Watch Link Styles

Screwdriver, Tool, Automatic Watch, Hand
Photo by George Hodan from publicdomainpictures.net

Round/Flat Pin Links

  1. Some watches may require you to remove the bracelet itself from the watch case. This is done by removing the spring bar. You want to grasp the watch in your left hand. The pin that is on your left is the spring bar for the strap.
  2. Take your pin pushers, press the bar down, and then push it out of the clasp. Be careful and patient while doing this. You don’t want the spring to fly across the room.
  3. You then want to find the arrow indicators that show you which way to push the pin out of the link. Once you’ve located that, you want to push the link’s pin out until you can grab it with pliers or your hand. Afterwards, you can place the pin on your tray. Make sure to keep a close eye on the link as some watches have a small metal ferrule that may pop out. This is an important part which you will need later.
  4. Repeatedly remove the pin on the other side of the link you’re currently working on. Then, continue the above process until all links you want to be removed are gone.
  5. Now that you’ve removed all links you want to be removed, assemble the watch back together. Now replace the pin (and the ferrule if applicable) by putting them back on the open slot in the arrows’ opposite direction. Some watches may require you to use the small hammer to get them into proper placement.
  6. All that’s left is to replace the clasp. Do this by simply doing the first step in reverse. Now try it on and make sure it fits just right.

Screwed Pins

  1. You want to turn this watch on its side and find the link you’re looking to remove. Find the screw that holds it there and firmly grasp it.
  2. Take out your small screwdriver (1mm) and then move it in a counterclockwise direction. 
  3. Turn the screw until it becomes loose enough to remove with your pliers. Place the screw on your tray.
  4. The link is now ready to be removed. Simply repeat this process for the chosen amount of links you desire.
  5. All you need to do now is join the two ends using the screw you removed.

Stretch Band

  1. Set the watch face down on the table once you’ve measured the band out. Once you do that, take the flaps that cover the band and bend them down to where you plan to remove the links.
  2. Turn the watch over and do the same on the other side.
  3. Once this is done, all you have to do is slide the section of the band out that contains the links you want to remove. 
  4. Afterwards, take the two ends and rejoin them using the staples that popped out of the removed links.

Snap

  1. On the links you intend to remove, use the pin pusher to gently take the pin out of the links, making sure to do so in the direction of the arrow to the link.
  2. Hold your watchband in one hand while pressing upwards on the part closest to the case while pressing downwards to remove the link.
  3. To reassemble, repeat the previous steps, but do them backwards. Afterwards, you will have a watch that is perfectly fitted for your wrist.

Tools You Will Need

Tools, Hammer, Pliers, Nails, Screws, Wrench
Photo by picjumbo from Pixabay

There are a few tools you may have laying around your garage that you can utilize to help with the removal of links. The tools you will need to gather together are:

  • A thin object that is pointed like a pin pusher
  • Pliers (long-nosed)
  • Hammer (small ball-pin is the best)
  • Screwdriver
  • Tray for excess parts

If you are a watch collector or enthusiast, you may want to just spring for an actual watch tool kit that has all the tools you need for link removal as well as other maintenance tools. Hence, here are a couple of the best watch tool kits available for you to use:

  1. EZTool Watch Repair Kit
  2. Eventronic Watch Repair Kit
  3. CREMAX Watch Repair Kit
  4. Longrunner Watch Repair Kit
  5. STAGO Professional Watch Repair Kit

Final Thoughts

Making sure your watch fits just right is as important, if not more so, as the watch itself. An ill-fitting watch may slip off or break easily due to outside sources such as table corners and the like. It can also distract from the overall look you are going for. Overall, knowing how to remove watch links when you love watches is a great tool to have in your arsenal. And there you have it!

For another interesting DIY read, why not check out How to Properly Wind a Watch.

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