So you have a watch with a metal bracelet that is most likely way too big for your wrist. Sure, you could take it to a local jewelry repair shop to get it sized for a fee, but we’re here to show you how incredibly easy it is to do it yourself.
What You Need
If you happened to have purchased a watch repair kit online, chances are that you already have the necessary tools! From a watch band adjuster, to a hammer and pin tool, to even household items, there are a multitude of tools that you can use since the methodology for removing pins is the same. Below are examples of some of the tools that we use. Top to bottom: jewelry hammer, spring bar tool, watch band holder, pin tool, bracelet adjuster.
How to Actually Do It
Before you start taking links out, you need a clear workspace and an idea of how many links you have to remove. Taking as close to an equal amount of links on both sides allows the watch to feel more balanced on the wrist. To figure out how many links need to be removed, put the watch on your wrist and let the bracelet hang. Then, pinch the bracelet inwards as if you were trying to wrap the bracelet links fully around your wrist. The number of links that are below the pinch give you a better idea as to how many need to be removed.
The most common type bracelet that you’ll find is a pin bracelet or one that has pin and collars (more on this later). These types of bracelets feature holes on the sides of the links. If you flip the bracelet over, you’ll notice a bunch of arrows. To remove a link from the bracelet, you need to push the pin out in the direction of the arrow. Subsequently, you would hammer the pin back into the bracelet in the opposite direction of the arrow. We normally take the spring bar out of the clasp with a forked spring bar tool so that the band can lay flat. This makes things a whole lot easier, especially if you opt to use the bracelet adjuster or watch band holder.
About watch pins: They are normally very thin, but rounded on one end. This helps the pin stay securely within the bracelet. Other pins have collars (hollow, cylindrical pieces) on both ends which further keep the pin in place as well. Due to the size of these parts, they're very easily lost. We recommend either placing them in a small dish, or placing them on a thin piece of tape (to prevent them from rolling around).
Another common band is the folded link bracelet. In these kinds of bracelets, the pins are actually L-shaped. The method is similar in that you need to push the flat link out in the direction of the arrow. Refer to the image below: what’s circled is where the link starts, and where you push the link out, and what the pin should look like when it is loosened. We normally use the jeweler’s hammer and a pin tool to get the pins out.
Bonus: A mesh bracelet isn't too common, but pretty simple to adjust. This video does a great job of explaining how to engage the clasp so that you can slide it and adjust the strap length on your wrist.