Watch bracelets are usually manufactured to standard lengths, but they are designed to have the links added or removed to ensure that they are sized for each owner’s wrist.
As watches change owners, watch links become broken or damaged, or people lose or gain weight, it requires the watch bracelet to be resized.
Learning how to remove or add watch links will save you time and money in the future. This may sound time-consuming and difficult at the start, but with these simple steps below, it’ll be extremely easy for you!
Tools For Removing Watch Links
First and foremost, acquire important tools to remove watch links. This is most especially important if you’re a watch collector. Don’t worry as these tools are not that expensive. All you need are the following:
You will need a push-pin tool or a spring bar removal tool to press the holes on the side of the watch link to detach every link from the bracelet. This tool contains a side with one pin, where spring bars or push pins can easily be pressed. This way, watch buckles or watch straps are easily disassembled.
Watch bracelet holder
This tool holds bracelets and watches firmly in place while repairing, removing, or adjusting pins and links. You will need this useful tool so your timepiece will be secured while working on it. A watch bracelet holder does a good job of preventing the watch from falling off the table. If you purchase an affordable watch repair kit, it often comes with a watch holder.
A small hammer should also be a part of your watch toolkit. It is used to tap the push-pin tool into the holes.
How to Take Links Out of Watches (A Step by Step Guide)
1. Measure how many links you need to remove
This first step in removing watch links is very important. If you remove the watch links from the wrong place or take the wrong amount of links, your timepiece will sit lopsided. So, measure it first by wearing it on your wrist.
Position the timepiece where you would usually wear it. Then, gather the slack of the band and stop once you reach a comfortable position. Regardless of whether you want a more snug fit or you prefer your watch slacker, know exactly how many links you need to remove.
Next, don’t remove the excess links from the middle of the watch but take an equal amount instead from either side of the clasp so it’ll be easier to add one back on later.
2. Prepare your workspace and gather your tools
Keep in mind that removing watch links is a delicate process. Make sure you work on a flat surface, preferably a desk, with plenty of light and fewer distractions.
It is worth placing something soft or a mat underneath your work to prevent the metal watch from scratching the benchtop as well as to decrease the risk of you losing little pieces of the watch. Next, gather your tools.
[Related post: Where Are The Most Popular Watches Made At?]
3. Remove excess links
As you already know the number of links you want to remove, it’s time to remove the excess links. You’ll probably notice tiny arrows on the back of the watch bracelet, indicating where the cotter pins come out.
Put the watch on the foam or the watch holder with the arrows facing downwards. Use the small hammer to gently tap the end of the push-pin tool until you can’t push the pin inside the link anymore. If the pin pops through, just remove it using a small set of pliers or your fingers. Be careful with ferrules or any other pins that may fall out.
Next, place the watch bracelet back onto the holder and gently tap the pin back into its place using the flat end of the hammer.
4. Reattach remaining links
After the correct number of links have been removed, rejoin the ends of the bracelets. To do this, place the bracelet back in the holder. However, this time, the arrows are pointing upward. Simply push the pins in the opposite direction and if needed, gently tap the pins with a hammer so you can get them back in place.
[Related post: How To Flip Watches]
Why You Need a Watch Band That Fits Well
Wearing a watch that doesn’t fit well on your wrist can ruin your look and will make you feel uncomfortable. If your band is too tight, it may even hinder the circulation in your wrist. This would be extremely unpleasant. That’s why it is worth it to adjust your metal band so that it will be loose and comfortable enough to wear.
Wearing a metal watch band that is too loose means that there are too many links. Removing several links in the metal band could get you a better fit and will make your watch feel more comfortable. On the other hand, if the metal watch band is too tight, having links added could get you a better fit.
How To Remove Watch Links Without Tool
(A Simple Guide to Taking Links Out of a Watch At Home)
If you don’t have any watch tools and you’re just planning to do this in one watch, then you can try using a sim ejector and a small piece of metal.
Follow the same steps we shared above, such as measuring how many links you need to remove and preparing your workspace. In a hole on the side of the bracelet, place the sim ejector and push it firmly until the pin emerges on the other side.
Pull out the pin and make sure it won’t fall off the table. Then, if you need to rejoin the watch links, place the pin back into the hole in the side. Next, use the piece of metal to push it back into its proper place.
Treat your watch as an investment, especially if you’re a collector
While removing the watch links without the tools we listed above is possible, we don’t recommend you do it for all your other timepieces. After all, buying a timepiece is an investment.
Enjoy your watch, but respect it and take proper care of it by using the right tools so you and your future generations can enjoy it for the many years to come.
If you’re not confident about removing the links yourself, you can also leave it to professionals. Key cutting places, jewelry stores, and watch repair shops offer this service for a small fee.
Recommended Watch Link Removal Kits
EFIXTK Watch Band Strap Link Pins Remover Repair Tool – 24 in 1 Kit
The EFIXTK Watch Band Strap Link Pins Remover Repair Tool – 24 in 1 Kit comes with almost everything you need for watch link removal. It has a plastic watch holder, a watch band link pin remover, a dual-head hammer, 6 extra tips, 4 pin punches, glasses cloth, and 20 pcs cotter pins. All for a price less than $15.
Apart from the essentials, the pins in the kit can fit different band sizes. We also like that this watch link removal tool kit is easy to use so you can quickly size your watch band yourself. This simple tool provides the best value for your money. Overall, we find this a tool ideal for watch repair and watch band link removal.
RARTOP Professional Watch Repair Tool
Best for a professional watch repair kit but you can also use it at home, the RARTOP Professional Watch Repair Tool comes with a carrying case and an operation manual.
This high-quality watch repair set is durable, convenient, very easy to use, and portable. Both beginners and professionals can do common tasks, like watch band adjustment, opening watch backs, and changing watch batteries.
It has micro screwdrivers that can be used for many applications. They are also color-coded for easy organization, identification, and storage. The watch back opener is equipped with a hard plastic handle as well as a tempered steel blade fixed.
EZTool Watch Repair Kit
The EZTool Watch Repair Kit is another comprehensive toolset that we can recommend to you. It contains an extra-large (XL) case wrench that can open right up to 58mm and is ideal for home or professional use. Tools are also presented in a zip-up case.
It comes with a 41-page printed guidebook with photos to guide you through watch band resizing, watch battery changes, gasket replacement, bracelet adjustments, and all other common watchmaking tasks.
BYNIIUR Watch Link Removal Tool Kit
The BYNIIUR Watch Link Removal Tool Kit comes with a printed user manual, helping beginners to use this tool. It comes with 3 extra pins and 18 sizes of band pins for the watch band strap. You will also find a watch link remover, hammer, rust-resistant watch pins, and a spring bar.
Let’s Answer Frequently Asked Questions on Watch Links Removal
Which side of the watch do you remove links from?
At best, remove links evenly from both sides of the watch so that the clasp remains in the middle. Before removing a link or links, try on your watch first with all the links in so you will know how many excess links in a metal watch there are.
However, on some used and low-end timepieces, one side of their watch bands may be longer than the other.
How long does it take to remove a link from a watch?
With a modest set of tools, a well-lit and noise-friendly environment, and some steady hands, the entire process of removing a link from a watch should not take longer than 20 minutes. Once you get used to the process, it will even cost less than a fraction of what your trip to the jeweler would amount to.
But if you decide to visit a watch repair shop to get watch links removed for a fee for one time, it may take less than 20 minutes because professionals already know how it’s done.
What is the ideal bracelet size?
There is no ideal bracelet size as the perfect fit depends on the preference of the owner. Generally, you want a watch band that is just loose enough to fit the size of a pin between your wrist and the watch. With enough space, the watch bracelet size is both comfortable and secure.
What if I don’t have the proper tools?
Even if you don’t have the proper tools for watch link removal, you can still learn to remove watch links using common household items. For example, you can use any pointy or thin object instead of a pin pusher. In the same way, you can use a block of wood if you don’t have a hammer.
But if you’re a watch collector and would want to remove watch links independently, it’s not that expensive to invest in a watch repair toolkit or a watch removal toolset. More so if the watch you’re adjusting is a precious timepiece. Get it wrong and may mess up your expensive watch.
Is a metal watch band right for you?
The question of which watch strap is best for you is the hardest to answer when it comes to watches. The reason being we all have our own preferences in strap types. But if you like to wear something that looks elegant and expensive rather than the soft feel of tanned cowhide, then a metal watch band is right for you.
It is the same material that you see on high-end watches, like Omega and Rolex watches. They are less likely to break and the material will not stretch. It’s up to you to adjust the strap or have it done at a shop where you buy your watch.
The metal strap is also one of the most versatile watch strap materials as it is easier to maintain and care for than leather, can be paired with other metallic accessories, and fits with different outfits at varying degrees of formality.
Congratulations. You now know how to make links out of watches. Now that your watch fits your wrist perfectly, it’s time to enjoy it!
If you like this review, you might want to read our other reviews at EvesWatch.com.
My name is Eve Acosta and I’m the person behind this site. Watches are what get me ticking ;).
No, but seriously, I just love watches, I have over 30 myself. It’s an obsession of mine, which is why my husband recommended me to put my hobby into some good use and build this site – so I did.
My passion for timepieces came from the fact that my parents own a small chain of shops selling timepieces. I’ve worked at the shop since I was 11 and fell in love with the merchandise.