How to Adjust a Watch Band

Kate Miller-Wilson
metal watch with links

You don't always have to go to a jeweler to have your watch adjusted to fit your wrist. Depending on the type of watch you own, you may be able to make the adjustment yourself quickly and easily using just a few tools.

Adjusting a Metal Watch Band

Most metal watchbands are made up of links that are attached to one another with small metal pins. Typically, watch bands come with more links than you'll need to fit your wrist. To get the perfect fit, you'll have to remove some of these links.

Things You'll Need

  • Small hammer
  • Small needle-nosed pliers
  • Tweezers
  • Two small blocks of wood
  • Sewing pins
  • Measuring tape

What to Do

  1. How to adjust a metal watch band 1
    First, determine how many links you need to remove. You can do this by measuring your wrist with the measuring tape comfortably loose, just as you'd wear your watch. Compare this measurement to the watch band to find out how my extra links you have.
  2. You'll also need to take a close look at the links. Not all links can be removed. In many watches, the removable links are near the clasp and are marked with small arrows.
  3. Locate the pins that are holding the removable links together; they will be near the arrow.
  4. How to adjust a metal watch band 2
    Rest the watch band on its side on the two blocks of wood.
  5. Position the pin so that it is between the blocks, in a way that will allow you to tap it out while supporting the rest of the band. The arrow on the link should be pointing downward.
  6. Hold one of the sewing pins directly over the watch pin hole on the link. Position the point of the pin so it will go down into the hole, pushing the watch pin out.
  7. Gently tap the small hammer on the top of the sewing pin, pushing the watch pin down between the blocks of wood. The sewing pin will now be in its place.
  8. Use the small pliers to remove the sewing pin, and set the watch pin aside. The links will pull apart.
  9. How to adjust a metal watch band 3
    Remove the number of links you desire, and then carefully realign the links to close the watch band.
  10. Position the watch pin so that it is in the hole for the link, and then use the small hammer to tap it back into place. If you have trouble placing the pin, a pair of tweezers can help.
  11. Try on your watch to make sure it fits as needed.

Adjusting Rubber or Silicone Watch Straps

Rubber or silicone watch straps are popular for their durability, and they are also fairly easy to adjust at home. These watches typically come with a clasp that can be removed and reattached with a special pin. If your watch strap is too long for your wrist, you can remove some of the rubber or silicone material and reattach the clasp.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper clip
  • Utility knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring tape

What to Do

  1. Begin by measuring your wrist and comparing the measurement to the watch. This will tell you how much rubber or silicone material you'll need to remove. Most silicone and rubber watches have a series of grooves in the band that can help you decide where you'll need to cut. Remember to keep the band loose enough to be comfortable, since you won't be able to add the material back in.
  2. How to adjust a silicone watch band 4
    Uncurl the paper clip, and use the end to push on the tiny pin on the clasp of the watch. This will release the clasp from the silicone or rubber strap.
  3. Lay the strap flat on the cutting board with the grooved side up.
  4. Identify where you'll need to cut to remove the amount of material you need. Carefully cut in the groove, using a utility knife.
  5. Examine the extra strap material to find the small pin in the link that attached to the clasp. Remove this pin, and then discard the extra strap material.
  6. Insert the watch pin into the remaining strap at the position closest to the end, and position the clasp as appropriate. Use the paper clip to help you engage the clasp with the pin.
  7. Try on the watch to make sure it fits.
  8. Re-adjust as needed.

Adjusting a Leather Watch Strap

Leather watch straps are also easy to adjust at home, but you'll need a special tool called a leather punch. You can purchase a leather punch at most craft stores or from Amazon.com. You'll need a punch that is capable of making a two-millimeter hole.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather punch for two-millimeter hole
  • Utility knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring tape
  • Fine-tip washable marker

What to Do

  1. How to adjust a leather watch band 5
    Measure your wrist at a comfortably loose spot. Compare this measurement to your watch band. Make a mark on the underside of the band where the measurement is. You'll need to make a hole in this spot.
  2. Examine your watch band to see if you'll be happy with the location of the hole. You may want to adjust it slightly to keep the hole spacing uniform.
  3. Use the leather punch to make a hole in the desired spot. Wash off any excess marker.
  4. Try on the watch. If desired, you can trim the excess leather off the end using the utility knife and cutting board.

Tips for Adjusting Watch Bands

When you are adjusting a watch band there are a few tips to remember:

  • Remember that some people's wrist size changes depending on the weather or even the time of the day. Do not adjust a watch band to fit snugly during very hot or cold weather or at the start of the day.
  • Thicker watch straps often need to be a little looser than thin straps; this is to allow for normal movement of the wrist. Thick straps are also less likely to fall off over the wrist.
  • When taking links out of a watch keep any spare links as these can be used to make the strap bigger again if necessary.
  • For valuable designer watches, it's best to take your watch to a professional to have the band adjusted.

Patience and a Steady Hand

There's no need to deal with a watch that's too loose. With a little patience and a steady hand, you can adjust most watch bands to better fit your wrist.

How to Adjust a Watch Band