The rubber-like watch band from my beloved Timex Ironman Datalink USB watch broke after a few years' exposure to the elements. Unfortunately, these watches use custom contoured crenelated bands (pic 4), so I wasn't able to easily replace it. About the time it broke, I noticed Timex had released a new version of the Datalink with a metal band. I got that and set my old watch aside for later repair. After a couple more years, it too broke and as a result I learned that the little black segments on that band (pic 5) are rubber. So I was again in need of bands. Having seen some of the beautiful paracord bands here, I decided to re-use the clasp from my old watch and replace the band with paracord. Turns out it's excessively easy and yields great results that look really nice on the wrist. The same thing can be done on any wristwatch!
Step 1: Ingredients
I used two short strips of black (olive drab green pictured) 550 paracord sheath, a lighter, a pair of scissors, and the clasp from my broken metal watch band (top of pic 2). You will find having pliers with wide, flat jaws very useful for flattening the burned paracord ends. If you don't have them, you can also use two dull knives as an improvised press.
Step 2: Cut and Gut
Wrap the paracord fully around your wrist and then add a half inch. The extra half inch gives you room for adjustment, later. Cut that from your spool and then cut a second strip of equal length.
Then remove the 7 (white) inner strands from each strip so that you're left with only the paracord sheath.
Doing so accomplishes two things: It reduces the diameter of the cord, allowing it to pass under the watch pins, and it lets the sheath flatten itself, so that it's comfortable on your wrist.
Now burn one end of each sheath until it becomes a nice little ball. It's hard to tell from picture 3, but you can see how this acts like a stopper knot, preventing the cord from pulling all the way through the hole between the pin and the clasp.
Now burn the other side of each sheath and, using your pliers or knives while the cord is still molten, flatten the end. This is necessary for the cord to be able to fit under the clasp pins on my watch. I also needed to narrow the width of the flattened cord by trimming the sides with my scissors. Pic 4 shows somewhat flattened cord ends. They look different from what I'm describing in this paragraph because after insertion I re-melted them so they would be too wide to slip out again.
I apologize for not having pictures of the cord before insertion, but it should be pretty easy to visualize what I mean from the text.
Step 3: Insert Cords Through Clasp.
Now that you have the cords prepared, take one of them and insert the flat, pointy side through one side of the clasp pins and pull it through all the way until the ball side stops the cord from going any further. Repeat for the second cord. See pic 1.
Step 4: Then Through Watch Pins.
Now insert the cords through both watch pins as shown in the photo.
Step 5: And Though the Other Clasp Pins.
Finally, run the cords through the other opposite clasp pins.
Orient the clasp and watch as they would be when being worn and untwist the cords. See photo 2. You want the cords to run in a nice, flat line.
Burn and flatten the pointy ends so that they are unable to slip out again. You don't want this side to be a ball. It needs to be as flat as possible because it will be between your wrist and the clasp.
Test fit the watch and adjust the cord length by pulling it. On my watch, the cord was held very snugly by the clasp pins, and would not slip unless pulled very firmly. If your watch holes are bigger, simply mark and trim your paracord and burn a flat stopper at that point. It won't be adjustable, but most claps have adjustment pins that can be used to accomplish the same thing. You can also cut new sheaths to the right length, of course.
Step 6: Enjoy.
Enjoy your watch again, now with a stylish modern look you won't find anywhere else.
To preserve the look, I'd suggest removing the watch before showering, swimming, or working in a dirty environment. Of course, making a replacement band is even easier the second time, partly because you've already got the measurements and partly because you now already know what to do.
If you make one, please share your pictures in the comments, below! I'd love to see them.
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