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How to Remove a Spring Bar

So you want to replace the strap on your watch or alter the micro-adjuster on your steel bracelet. And you would like to do it yourself. Where do you start? Is there a tool for this?

You finally get the tool and then you’re off to the races to get the spring bar out. You’ve got the first half of it out, and then something scary happens. It shoots off into space and into the abyss where it’s never seen again.

We’ve all been there.

So, we decided to put together some tips on removing a spring bar without losing it indefinitely.

First, here are some things you’ll need:

  • A watch tool with a forked end – This allows you to get ahold of the watch’s spring bars. (Pictured above)
  • A watch tool with a pin end – The same exact tool we reference when we taught you how to alter your metal bracelet. This really only comes in handy for removing a bracelet. Most tools come with a forked end and a pin end on opposite sides.
  • A few extra spring bars – Without some practice you’ll find your spring bars shooting up and out. They are spring-loaded, after all. While this is entirely optional, having a few extras might save you some time on your hands and knees, hunched over while looking for them on the floor.
  • A soft, scratch-free surface to work on – could be a microfiber towel, a regular towel, a piece of paper, or whatever you’d like. The point is to work on a surface that won’t scratch the crystal or case of your watch when you work on it.

Now, onto spring bar removal.

Here’s the process if you have a leather, rubber, or nylon strap:

  1. Lay your watch down on the surface of your choice, with the dial facing downward. You should be looking at the case back of your watch and the backside of your strap.
  2. Pick one side of the strap (top or bottom) to start with. The goal is to take your forked watch tool to engage the spring in the spring bar to remove it.
  3. You may need to push the strap down in order to reveal the spring bars. Alternatively, you may be able to place your forked tool between the strap and the lug so you can engage the spring bar.
  4. Place your forked tool between the notches and push in the opposite direction of the lug (depress it). This should engage the spring and allow it to be removed. Here’s our tip for keeping your spring bar grounded—as you are moving the tip of the spring bar out of the lug hole, it is important to keep applying constant downward pressure. You can use a finger from your opposite hand (or cup your entire hand) to cover the spring bar from popping up and flying.
  5. With one end already out, the other end should be easy to remove by wiggling the strap out. If needed, repeat the process for the opposite lug.
  6. Repeat the entire process for the other part of the strap if you need to replace the other spring bar as well.

As for removing the spring bars on a watch with a metal bracelet, it can be a little tough since they are specifically engineered to be a tight fit. However, with practice it becomes easier and your chances of scratching the lugs will lessen.

Removing the Spring Bars of a Metal Bracelet:

  1. We find that it’s easier to split the bracelet in two before doing this. With your pin tool, take out the pin from the micro-adjuster. All you need to do is depress the spring bar and remove it.
  2. Now that the bracelet has been split, lay it face-down.
  3. Choose one side to work on first. You’ll see the spring bars exposed on each side. The goal is to take your forked watch tool to engage the spring in the spring bar to remove it.
  4. Use your forked tool to depress one end of the spring bar and attempt to pull it out of the lug hole. This may take a little while. Sometimes, you might be able to fully remove one end of the spring bar from the hole. At this point, the spring bar tip is resting on top of the lug. If you don’t mind your lugs getting scratched, you can leave it as it is.
  5. Do the same on the other end. When doing so, it is important to not let the other end (the end that you already removed from the hole) to pop back into the lug hole.
  6. When both ends are out of the lug holes, you should be able to remove the full end link and bracelet from the case.
  7. Repeat this on the other end if necessary.

And there you have it! Now, you know how to remove the spring bars on your watch. With a bit of time and practice, you’ll be a pro in no time!


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