Introduction: How to Remove Watch Links

The purpose of this tutorial is to show the steps involved in removing a link from your watch band without the use of a link-remover tool. To remove one or multiple links from your watch, all you will need is a small screwdriver, and a well-lit area to work. This tutorial contains 5 steps and will take less than 15 minutes to complete if done correctly.

Note: choose a surface to work on that won’t scratch or damage your watch. Lay down a towel or soft rag if working on a hard or rough surface.

Step 1: Locate the Link Pins

To remove a link in your watch band, you must first locate where to remove the link and how many links you want to remove. Particular links on your watch will have arrows indicating that they can be removed. Small removable pins hold each of these links in place.

To locate where each of these removable pins are, hold your watch with the face pointed towards the ground. Look on the underneath side of the wrist-band near either side of the clasp or buckle. You will find arrows indicating the link pins. Note the direction of the arrows—these arrows point in the direction that the pins will slide out from (see photo).

Step 2: Remove the First Pin

Most watches will have up to three pins that may be removed on each side of the clasp or buckle. Determine the number of links you wish to remove and locate the link pin at that position (Advice: It is a good idea to remove links in multiples of two so links can be removed from each side of the clasp or buckle keeping the watch face centered on your wrist).

Note: the small opening across from the arrow. This opening is the access point to the removable pin.

Toremove the pin: use your screwdriver (the head of a small nail or small screw will work as well) and push it into the opening (first photo). Hold the watch with one hand while you place the screwdriver in the hole with the other hand. Make sure to hold both the watch and the screwdriver tightly during this step. Keep the screwdriver inside the opening and apply force on the screwdriver in the direction of the arrow. The pin will begin to slide out (second photo). Continue to push the pin until you can pull the pin completely out with your fingers (third photo). Remove the pin.

The watch band should now be completely disconnected at the link where you just removed the pin. Make sure to not bend the pin while removing it. If the pin becomes bent, you will not be able to slide it back into place when connecting the watch band back together. Place the pin in a safe location for later use.

Step 3: Remove the Second Pin

Now that the first pin has been removed from one side, you must take out the second pin on the other side of the link that you are removing. The procedure is the same as in Step 2.

Push your screwdriver into the opening across from the arrow and apply force on the pin in the direction of the arrow. Pull the pin all the way out.

Be careful when pulling the pin out during this step. Be sure to hold the watch at the link where you are pulling the pin out from. As soon as the pin is pulled out, the individual link will become disconnected from the watch band.

Note: you will not need the link or pin that was removed in this step in any subsequent steps. However, if you want to add the link back to your watch at a later time, you will need both the link(s) and the pin in order to do so.

Step 4: Put Both Ends of the Watch Band Back Together

At this stage, you can determine if you need to remove more links from the watch band. Wrap the band around your wrist and hold the disconnected ends together with your other hand. If you determine that more links need to be removed, repeat steps 1-3. Otherwise, proceed with the current step.

Hold the watch so that both disconnected ends line up with each other. Push the ends together so that the links become interlocked (first photo). Use the first pin you removed from Step 2 and place it next to the links that need to be connected back together (second photo). This pin will connect the watch band back together. See Step 5.

Step 5: Insert Pin to Connect Watch Band Back Together

Hold the two ends of the watch band together. Take the pin from Step 2 and thread it through the ends of the opposing links (first photo). Make sure the pin is facing the correct way and that it is not reversed or flipped upside down—if you place the pin the wrong way, it may get stuck within the link. Slide the pin all the way into the openings of both links until it is flush with the side of the watch band. Make sure the pin fits tightly—you don’t want this pin to come loose or fall out since it is holding both ends of the watch band together (second photo).

Note: if the pin is loose, you may have to use pliers to clamp down on the band and secure the pin—be sure to wrap cloth around the pliers so that you don’t dent or gouge the finish on your watch.

Try on the watch and buckle the clasp. The watch should fit as desired.

The only parts left over after finishing this tutorial should be one pin and one or more links—depending on how many you chose to remove. Keep these items in a labeled parts-bag and store in a safe location. You may need them in the future if you decide to add more links back to your watch band or if a link on your band becomes damaged.