How to tighten a watch band

Written by jenni wiltz
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If you’re tired of your watch sliding up and down your arm, you can tighten up the band to keep it in place. With a simple household tool, you can adjust most metal watch bracelets yourself. If you have a leather or plastic watch band, you can use a specialised tool to create a new hole precisely where you need it. Luxury watches should be taken to a licensed dealer for fitting and repair.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Thumbtack or pushpin
  • Tweezers
  • Chalk
  • Leather hole punch

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  1. 1

    Calculate the number of links you will need to remove. To do this, measure the circumference of the watch, the circumference of your wrist and the length of one metal link. Subtract your wrist measurement from the watch circumference and divide this by the length of one link. The result is the number of links you will need to remove. If you end up with a fraction, round down. You don’t want to make your watch too small.

  2. 2

    Select the links you want to remove. Press a thumbtack or pushpin point into the pin holding the link in place. In most cases, the pin should start to slide out the opposite side. If it doesn’t come out all the way, use tweezers to help pull it out.

  3. 3

    Repeat the process to remove the second pin holding the link in place. The link will fall out.

  4. 4

    Remove the number of links calculated in step 1.

  5. 5

    Reattach the watch bracelet by holding the ends together and slipping a pin into the slot. Press the pin firmly until it catches.

  6. 6

    Tug gently on the reattached section of bracelet to make sure it’s secure.

  1. 1

    Buy a leather hole punch from a craft or hobby store. Most punches have a wheel on which each spoke is a different size; you can select the size that best matches the prong of your watch clasp.

  2. 2

    Place the watch on your wrist, and pull it to the desired tightness. Use chalk to mark the ideal spot on the band for your new prong hole.

  3. 3

    Lay the watch flat on a clean work surface.

  4. 4

    Press the correct spoke of the hole punch through the chalk mark.

  5. 5

    Rotate the spoke in the hole to make sure every strand of leather or plastic has been cut.

  6. 6

    Pull the tool out of the hole, and try on the watch with its new tighter setting.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep all the metal watch links you remove. If you ever pass the watch onto another owner, he or she may need those missing links to resize the watch.

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