How To Remove Watch Links: A Step-By-Step Guide

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When you buy yourself a watch that comes with a metal bracelet, the chances are that it will be loose on your wrist. Typically, you would have to go to a jeweler who charges you $10 or $15 for the link removal. 

It’s not much, but add the time it takes you to take it there and back, and you wish you could do it yourself.

Guess what, you CAN do it yourself! And it won’t take you even 5 minutes! 

Following, I’ll explain to you in detail how to remove watch links in 3 easy steps that take you no more than the length of a commercial break. 

What Equipment Is Required?

It is quite clear that taking the links out of a watch cannot be done with bare hands. You would need some equipment to do that. 

I am using a special watch link remover that is available from Amazon and costs around $5 to $10.

So it’s even cheaper than the price you would pay at a jeweler! And if you’re a watch guy with more than one timepiece, the small investment pays off for good.  

Watch link remover

Besides the link remover, you will need a small hammer and a pair of pliers/tweezers. Though the latter isn’t often required as the pins come out pretty easily.

By the way, the job can also be done without the special link remover. Instead, you can use a pin pusher or any other sharp and thin object that fits into the pinhole. 

3 Easy Steps on How to Remove Watch Links

Once you’ve equipped yourself with the tools, let’s start removing the excess links. 

1. Measure the Number of Excessive Links

Before removing any links, it would be wise to measure how many of them need to be removed.

To do this, put on the watch and pull the bracelet from the clasp with your index finger. Then push the bracelet from both sides towards the clasp with your thumb and middle finger. That is how you can see the approximate number of excessive links.

How to remove watch links

As you can see from the image above, my bracelet has two links too much for the perfect fit. So it means I have to remove two links. 

2. Remove the Links   

Now that we know the number of links that need to be removed, it’s time to get to the action. 

You’ll have two options – to remove the links from one side of the bracelet or divide them between the two sides. 

It is a decision that affects the position of the clasp on your inner wrist – whether it stays right in the center or leans more towards the side.

I have decided to take off two links only from one side because the clasp will stay pretty much in the center either way. However, if you need to remove more than two, consider dividing them between the two sides of the band.

Taking links out of a watch with a special link remover

Now, for removing the links, place the bracelet on the pin remover so that the pin pusher lines up with the pinhole. Next, turn the screw gently until the pin pops halfway out. Then pull it out entirely with your fingers or with the pliers/tweezers.

Pulling the pin out of the pinhole

Repeat the process for the second pin and remove the links.

Note: The pins come out only in one direction, which is indicated with an arrow on the inside of the bracelet. Therefore, make sure you push the pin according to the indicated direction. Also, the links with an arrow sign are the only ones you can remove – all the others must stay put.  

3. Reconnect the Bracelet

Now that the links are removed, you have to put the bracelet back together. 

To do that, bring both of the ends together and push the pin into the hole delicately while slightly moving the links to ensure the pin goes through all the required holes. The pin goes in the hole the other way around that you pushed it out, that is, towards the arrowhead.

Pushing the pin back into the pinhole of the bracelet

If the pin doesn’t go all the way in, use the hammer to finish the job.

And that’s it – the bracelet is resized!

Optional Step – Fine-Tuning the Clasp

Although the link removal should ensure the perfect fit in most cases, some wearers may feel the bracelet still needs some small adjustments (smaller than the link size) to be spot-on.

That is why most deployant clasps come with the option to resize them. As a result, they have smaller gaps between the pinholes for fine-tuning.   

Watch clasp with additional pinholes

Contrary to the link pins, the one found from the clasp is a push-in pin (a release pin). It means that both ends of the pin can be pulled back.  

So, to detach the pin from the clasp, simply push one end of the pin and pull it out of the clasp. Reattaching is also simple – place one end into the pinhole and slide the other end into the opposite hole.   

What’s the Perfect Fit?

Once you’ve done resizing your watch, it should sit comfortably around your wrist. 

But how do you know what the perfect fit is?

The proper way how to wear a watch is when your index finger fits between the bracelet and the wrist.

It means that the bracelet shouldn’t press hard against your skin, causing red marks, and it shouldn’t move more than an inch up and down your wrist.

These are rules the majority of wearers prefer. However, if you wish to wear your watch more loosely or tighter, go ahead. In the end, it’s up to everyone to decide how to wear a watch.  

Can You Ruin Anything with Watch Link Removal?

Although the watch link removal is quite a straightforward task, it is still prone to accidents. 

The primary accident prevalently happening is that the pin bends or breaks while pushing it in or out.

Therefore, you should make sure not to apply too much pressure to the pin. For example, if it doesn’t want to fit back into the pinhole, move the links slightly so that the pin finds its way.

Also, if you happen to have some extra pins, try another because the original one may have some bend in it. 

In addition, make sure you don’t scratch the surface of your bracelet with tools. The pin pusher, in particular, is very thin and sharp, and if you misplace it while removing watch links, it can easily leave scratches on the metal bracelet.

What If There Are No Arrows on the Bracelet?

It can happen that the metal bracelet doesn’t come with arrows indicating the direction the pins go out. 

If the bracelet doesn’t have them, you have to push the pins out from the side that has a smooth tip, not the one with the seam/notch. 

When putting the pin back into the hole, the smooth side goes first.

Final Words

We hope this article has been of help to you to find out how to remove watch links. With proper tools, it is a relatively easy task to carry out by yourself without bothering to go to the jeweler. Moreover, the tools won’t cost you basically anything. 

Therefore, if you consider yourself a watch person who most probably owns more than one timepiece in the future, taking links out of a watch is a valuable skill to know.

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Carl Pender
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