Picture of Fit The Watch Band and Get a Kiss!
So, you need to re-size that Twist-O-Flex (stretch) watch band that you gave your special someone.  When she puts it on the first time it slides clear up to her elbow, but she loves the watch.  Now you realize just how small her wrists are, and the claim of "one size fits all" is not always true.  Not to worry, you are mechanically inclined and know that every band is adjustable, but you need some guidance because you do not want to damage her brand new watch. Before you shy away from the looming complexity and hand it over to a jeweler to figure out, keep reading and follow the steps hereafter.  You're guaranteed to be the man of the hour, and you just might get a kiss for being savvy with your tools and talent.

In this Instructable, I will show you how to adjust a stretch watch band by removing links.  If you have an old watch band to take parts from, a variation of this process may be used to insert links as well.  Also if your band is broken, this Instructable will illustrate how to uncover and replace the components that have failed.

Let's get started!
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Step 1: What You Will Need and Background

Picture of What You Will Need and Background
To carry out the rest of the process, you must have the following items: 

1. The watch which you will working on
2. Safety glasses
3. Precision screwdriver or equivalent prying tool
4. Needle nose pliers

See the photo below for the tools which I used to carry out this project.

For simplicity and to obtain good pictures I removed the band from the watch movement in this Instructable.  However this is not necessary, and you may leave the band attached to the movement.

Metal stretch bands are preferred for watches because they make a watch very easy to take on and off.  This is made possible by joining leaf spring cartridges together with small staples.  When the band is stretched, these small metal staples rotate and press against the leaf spring creating a restoring force that returns the band to its contracted position when you let go.  The inner spring cartridges usually rest directly against the skin, and to increase cosmetic appeal, the outer spring cartridges are covered with a stamped piece of metal,and may be plated.  Pictures of the cosmetic cover piece (outside of the band) and staple are provided in  Step 2 and Step 3 respectively.

Thank you! I was able to follow your instructions and remove 2 links from my band and it now fits perfectly. If this 63 year old woman can follow these instructions, you KNOW they are good! The photos helped very much.

TareqK6 months ago

Thanks for the tips! Just resized a band.

karlito8 months ago

My 76 year old father (and myself) thank you for this tutorial. He asked my to resize his band. I didn't know it was possible to adjust these type of bands but said I would try. I found your instructable and 15 minutes later resized! Thanks for the easy to follow and detailed instructable.

Years later, this is still extremely helpful! Used your guide to shorten the band of a new-style Timex expansion band. The salesperson at the store said they couldn't be modified. Apparently she knew not of The Internet ;)
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jacobrale3 years ago
Great instructions. I spent hours looking for instructions to shorten the band. Once I found these, even though my band was a bit different, I was done in 15 minutes! Thanks.
rkundi4 years ago
simply beautiful
Kudos to your instructable!

I work as a watchmaker and learned to do this early on (I started in Sears), but I have had Rolex-trained colleagues send them away because they didn't know how to do it!  Just goes to show that versatility is as important as the specialized skills.

I never thought to make one on this, but this one's so good it would just be redundant to do it now!  Good work again!
This is great! I was just bemoaning the fact that a bad side effect of losing weight was that all my nice vintage watches with the expansion bands no longer fit correctly. Now I can go back to wearing them and not have to pay a jewellery store to repair the bands!

I also second the comments on the nice clear photos.
jdtwelve125 years ago
Clearly you put as much effort and precision into making the Instructable as you did on the project itself.  Nicely done.  Your pictures and annotations make clear what is very difficult to describe textually, especially to someone who isn't holding a similar watch band in front of him.
frollard5 years ago
Great instructable!

Photography is top notch...
Instructions are as clear as you can make this rather complex process...
Useful to those who need the adjustment...

5 from me!