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How To: Change A Watch Strap (video)

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Changing watch straps, intimidating new watch owners for decades for absolutely no reason. In case you’ve never changed a watch strap yourself before, it may be a bit daunting. After all you don’t want to scratch up your watch by slipping while trying to get that bracelet or strap removed from your watch.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

You could go to your local watch store and ask them to swap your strap for you. But there’s no need for it with a bit of practice. If possible, practice first on an affordable watch before tackling your expensive pieces. Bracelet removal is very similar to strap removal, only it could be a bit more difficult as there is no ‘give’ with a bracelet. Tweezer-style tools are ver handy for bracelet removal.

Hereunder a detailed overview showing how to remove a watch bracelet and watch strap. To put back on it is the exact same steps in reverse order:

WHAT YOU NEED: 

  • Spring-bar tool
  • Soft surface
  • A minute or two

ONE RULE TO RULE THEM ALL:  DIAL DOWN

Make sure that you hold the watch with the dial down. So that you do not run a risk of scratching up the front of the case when accidentally slipping. If you do this correctly AND you slip, you will scratch the back of the lugs/watch, which is not nearly as terrible as scratching up the front.

LUG-TYPE: 

Before going any further, make sure to follow along for the correct lug style.

  • Drilled lugs: Drilled lugs are lugs where you have a little hole on each side, this is where the springbar rests. These are in our opinion, the easiest to swap straps
  • Non-drilled lugs: These are the ones were you have a clean surface around the lugs, no holes. Slightly more difficult than Drilled lugs to strap. For a detailed look on this make sure to check out our video instructions.
lugcomparison

Drilled Lugs (L) – Non-Drilled Lugs (R)

JUST DO IT: 

Drilled lugs:

Step 1: Put gentle pressure with your index finger on the watch strap at the front, pushing down. This will ensure that once the springbar unlocks, it will pop out through the back of the watch and not the front. Hold strap at an angle, so you have optimal space to reach for the springbar by gently pulling the leather of the strap down.

For illustration purposes: below I actually use my left hand’s thumb to apply the downard pressure on the strap. I’m gently pushing ‘away’ so that when the springbar pops out, it’ll come out on the back of the lugs and not the front.

Step 2: Simply nicely aim your springbar tool in the drilled hole, and press gently down.

drilledpush

Step 3: If all went well, by applying step 1 (downward pressure with index) and step 2 (pulling the springbar down gently). Your spring bar will now have popped out. Simply remove  taking care that you do not scratch up your lugs or watch.

Non-Drilled lugs:

Step 1: Put gentle pressure with your index finger on the watch strap at the front, pushing down. To be clear, use the index finger of the hand which is holding the watch, not the hand which is holding the springbar tool. This will ensure that once the springbar unlocks, it will pop out through the back of the watch and not the front.

Step 2: Reach for the springbar by gently pulling the leather of the strap down. Use the fork-end of the tool and gently grab hold of the little ridges on the springbar and pull these down (towards the bottom lug).

lugsnondrilled

Step 3: All done! If all went well, by applying step 1 (downward pressure with index) and step 2 (pulling the springbar down gently). Your spring bar will now have popped out. Simply remove  taking care that you do not scratch up your lugs or watch.

All done!

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