How to remove links from a watch bracelet

How to remove links from a watch bracelet

While we’re all about rubber, leather, and carbon fiber watch straps here at Horus Straps, it would be wrong of us to say that we didn’t enjoy the bracelets that came with our watches from time to time. As such, the issue of sizing our bracelets has reared its ugly head for us just as much as anyone else, so we’d like to go over how best to remove links from a watch bracelet (and add them) to make it fit your wrist perfectly.

What you will need:

Screw-driver

Push-pins

Soft surface or Microfibre Cloth (to set the watch on)

Step 1:

To get things started, begin sizing your watch bracelet by putting your watch on your wrist and closing the clasp as usual. Then position the watch as you intend to wear it and pinch the excess bracelet links so that you can get an idea of how many links you need to remove.

Step 2:

Now that you know how many links you need to remove, flip your wrist over with the bracelet still closed and the watch located where you intend to wear it. From here, gauge which side of your bracelet needs the links removed.

If your bracelet is brand new, the chances are that both sides will need as close to an equal amount of links removed as possible, so if the number of links you need to remove from the bracelet is uneven, make sure that you remove enough from each side to keep the bracelet clasp centered on the inside of your wrist. Some preowned and vintage bracelets might have a long and short side; adjust each side as needed - it may need a lot more links removed from one side than the other.

Step 3:

Once you know how many links you need to remove, identify what securing mechanism your watch uses. Some watches will use screw-in pins like Rolex, others will use bi-directional push pins, and some will use uni-directional push pins. 

Screw-in pins will be identified as flat head screws in the bracelet, while both types of push pins will look the same, to begin with. To identify which pin your watch bracelet has, turn over your watch and look on the inside of the bracelet. Your links will either have an arrow on the back of each link to indicate the direction the pins must be pushed, or nothing. If the bracelet does not have any arrows, your bracelet link pins can be pushed out in either direction.

Step 4: 

Once you have identified how to remove the pins, begin by removing the closest bracelet link to the watch case. Then, with the bracelet opened, count down from the break in the bracelet until you have a section of bracelet with as many links you need to remove from this side. Then remove the last link in that chain. This should yield a section of the bracelet with however many links you need to remove from this side of your bracelet.

Now, join the bracelet back and reverse whatever opening procedure you used. If your bracelet link pins are uni-directional, be sure to place the pin’s domed end in the direction facing the side that a push pin might push it to remove it in the future. Failure to do this correctly might mean you could break the pin later on if you need to remove this link from your bracelet again.  

Step 5:

Finally, if you determined that you need to remove links from both sides of your bracelet, repeat Step 4 on the other side of your bracelet after the side you started with is closed.

Step 6:

Finally, with the links removed from your bracelet, try on your watch and see how it fits. If it is too big, repeat this process from Step 1, and if it is too small, add one link to the bracelet at a time until you get the correct fit. Usually, you will not have to add more than one link.

If, after adding a link, the bracelet is too loose, look at your bracelet clasp to see if a micro-adjustment system is built into your watch. With this, you should be able to adjust your bracelet in smaller increments than removing and adding links so that you can get a snug fit. For this, refer to your watch manual and follow the instructions they provide.

So, there you have it, how to remove and add links to your watch bracelet and ensure your watch fits you perfectly without the need to call into a jeweler or boutique. With that being said, however, some bracelets can be pretty technical in terms of their construction and the tools required to size them, such as stretch bracelets. So, if your watch has a bracelet like that, feel no shame in having it sized by a professional.