Watch bracelets are designed to have links removed and fitted to ensure that they are sized for each individual owner’s wrist. Having the correctly sized bracelet will help ensure that the watch is comfortable and that it is not damaged from being either too tight or loose.

Why would you need to remove watch links?

Watch bracelets are usually sized when they are first purchased; with links being either added or removed to fit to the owner’s wrist. As watches change owners, links become damaged or broken, or people gain or lose weight then the watch bracelet will often need resizing again.

One of the more common issues with bracelet repair is that customers wear a watch with a bracelet size that is too small. As the watch is too tight on the wrist the additional strain will distort the links over time – leading them to become worn or broken. The simple solution is to fit an additional link or two to the bracelet.

What is the ideal bracelet size?

There is no fixed ideal, as the choice for how a bracelet is sized is subjective and based on the owner’s preference. A happy medium is that you should be able to comfortably fit a pen between the underside of the watch and your wrist; this will ensure that the bracelet is secure on your wrist but that it is not strained.

5-step process for watch link removal

Here at The Watch Lab, we suggest a simple five-step process if you would like to remove your watch links at home.

  1. Measure the watch band to determine how many links to remove
  2. Gather your tools and workspace
  3. Remove links
  4. Reattach remaining links
  5. Reconnect the clasp

1. Measure the watch band to determine how many links to remove

To know exactly how many watch links to remove, you need to measure your watch band. To do this, position your watch on your wrist, the way you normally wear it. Once satisfied with this position and it is comfortable, turn your wrist over so that the watch face is facing away and clasp towards you.

To determine how many links to remove, gather the slack of the band in your fingertips. Stop gathering the links together once you reach a comfortable position on your wrist. Next, you’ll need to count the number of links that you need to remove. If you’re unsure of how many you need to remove or are in a predicament whether you want your watch slacker or a more snug fit, it is always better to remove fewer because it is much easier to remove a link than add one back on.

2. Gather your tools and workspace

Make sure you find a flat surface to work on, preferably a desk. Gather a pin pusher, a small hammer and a small screwdriver.

3. Remove links

As you now know how many links you need to remove, it is important to note that each watch is designed differently, so the removal of links varies from watch to watch. With some watch straps, you may need to separate the clasp so you can remove the links. To do this, follow these instructions:

  • To remove the spring bar in the clasp, hold your watch in your left hand, remove the spring bar on the left side of the clasp.
  • Use the pin pusher tool to lever the spring bar out of the clasp.

Now to remove the exact number of links you require. On most metal watches, small arrows will signpost how to remove the link. Simply, insert the pin pusher tool into the end where the arrow is facing down, when the pin peaks out the other end, pull the pin out and the link will detach. 

Repeat this process to remove further links. As a simple tip, make sure you remove links on both sides of the clasp and remove an even number of links either side. This will make sure that the face of your watch sits perfectly centred on your wrist. 

4. Reassemble the watch band

Once the correct number of links have been removed, the pins will need to be replaced to complete your watch strap. To replace your links together, push the pins in the opposite direction to the arrows. If needed, tap the pins with a hammer to get them back into place.

5. Reconnect the clasp

If you have disconnected the clasp, it will need reattaching. To do this, you need to carry out the disconnecting process in reverse by replacing the spring bars. 

Choose The Watch Lab for your link removal needs

At The Watch Lab, we are aware that this process can be tricky or you might be apprehensive about carrying it out yourself! This might be especially true if you are a proud designer watch owner. If you would like a professional watch technician to take charge, our Watch Lab technicians are located in over 20 Labs nationwide in prime shopping destinations. 

We offer a speedy watch link removal service and all of our technicians are trained in high-end and popular brands. Additionally, if we have a variety of watch repair services that can nurse your watch back to full health! 

Why not find your nearest Lab, and get a professional to do the hard work for you!