How to Adjust Watch Straps

How to Adjust Watch Straps

There is a huge variety of types of watch straps available to collectors, allowing each watch to be personalised for every individual’s needs. The core types of watch straps are metal bracelets and leather straps. These kinds of straps are very commonly used and can be made in a wide range of colours and styles to give each watch a distinct look.

Some watch straps are easier to adjust than others. Keep reading for our guide on how to adjust watch straps.

Leather Straps

How to Adjust Watch Straps

The leather strap is the most universal watch strap available. They tend to fasten with a pin buckle, allowing the wearer to tighten the strap to a size of their liking by placing the pin through the correct hole. If the strap does not have a hole to accommodate the size of the wearer’s wrist, it is possible to create a new hole by punching one through the leather. It is advisable to use a purpose-built tool for this task to ensure the new hole is as neat and uniform as the pre-existing ones. It is also possible to replace the strap entirely for one of a different size, design, or colour entirely.

A benefit of the leather watch strap is that it is easy to adjust if the wrist changes size throughout the day or over time. It is easy to move the pin to another hole within a matter of moments. Also, a leather strap will not have to be fitted to the wearer. This means that they will be able to wear it immediately after purchase rather than having to wait for it to be professionally adjusted. However, leather watch straps can wear out fairly quickly. As the pin is being pushed through the same hole every day, it can sometimes make the strap look worn and tatty. To keep a leather strap looking its best, it is recommended that it is replaced periodically.

Metal Bracelets

Stainless-steel is the most popular material used in watch straps due to its durability and affordability when compared to metals like gold and silver. Unfortunately, there is no way to make these straps fit universally, so they must each be adjusted to the exact wrist size of the wearer. Many people choose to take their watch to the manufacturer or jeweller they purchased the watch from to have this adjustment done for them. However, it is possible to complete this process yourself with the correct tools and knowledge.

How to Adjust Watch Straps

A metal watch strap can be adjusted to be larger or smaller. If the strap is too small, it would be necessary to source some additional links from the manufacturer. However, if the watch is too large, it is possible to remove links to ensure a comfortable fit. It is important to note that not all of the links in the bracelet will be removable, so it is best to check this before adjustment is attempted.

To adjust a metal watch strap at home, a small selection of tools is required. Push pins, pliers, and a jewellery hammer will be required to complete the task. Firstly, the watch should be placed on the wrist and fastened. The strap should be pinched together to make the watch fit snugly, but comfortably on the wrist. It will then be possible to count how many links need to be removed in order to make the strap fit properly. This number of links should be split evenly over each side of the clasp. This will ensure the watch dial will sit in line with the clasp, making it sit straight on the wrist.

The first step in removing links is to use a push pin to remove the pin that is fastening the link that is to be removed to the rest of the strap. The pin will begin to emerge from the other side. Pliers can then be used to pull the pin out the rest of the way. This process can then be repeated on the other side of the watch to ensure the strap remains even. It is important to keep these pins as they will be required to put the strap back together.

Once the unnecessary links have been removed, the clasp needs to be detached from these links. The same method can be used for this process. The push pin pushes the pin fastening the clasp to the links out, so it can be removed using pliers.

How to Adjust Watch Straps

The next step is to reattach the clasp to the strap. The end link of the strap and clasp should be lined up so that the holes in each piece match. A pin can then be placed through these holes to join them together. The pin can be pushed most of the way by hand, but a small jewellery hammer can be used to secure the final lengths of the pin, making it sit flush to the bracelet. This process needs to be repeated to reattach the other half of the clasp too. It is important to keep the links and pins that have been removed in case the watch strap needs to be made larger in the future.

Although this process may seem time consuming, it is a valuable skill for watch collectors as it allows watches to be perfectly adjusted at home without any additional visits to the manufacturer. However, if there is any uncertainty on how to complete this process on a particular watch, it is always best to visit the place of purchase to ensure it is done correctly.

Rubber and Silicone Straps

A watch strap favoured amongst sport watch enthusiasts is the rubber, or silicone strap. This material is extremely well-suited for active wear as it is waterproof and resilient to sweat. This ensures that the strap is still comfortable to wear even when the wearer is pushing themselves to their physical limits.

Garmin Watches

Garmin watches tend to use silicone and rubber straps. The brand creates and builds watches for sportsmen and adventurers. Many of the watches feature fitness trackers and some even have GPS functionality. A lot of the appeal of these watches is due to how easy it is to change the strap. All of the straps from Garmin have what the brand refer to as ‘Quick Release’ technology. This means that the strap can simply slide out of the case and be replaced with another.

The silicone and rubber straps on Garmin watches are quick and simple to change meaning that each model can be personalised depending on the wearer’s mood or outfit. The brand offer both rubber straps for activity and leather straps for everyday wear. The ease of adjusting Garmin straps is what makes them entirely unique.  

What did you think of our guide on how to adjust watch straps? Will you try this with any of your own watches? Let us know in the comments below!

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