To ensure that your new watch band will fit your watch case just right, the
first thing you need to do is measure the watch case. Take your digital gauge
and measure the length of the lugs first to find out how deep a cut you need to
make into your new leather band. Use the regular jaws of your gauge to measure
the inside of the lug from the innermost point where the old band sits to the
outside edge of the lug. If the old band is still attached to the watch,
you can use it for a reference point.
Otherwise, if the band is gone, you will have to estimate and measure from
the halfway point between the spring bar hole and the watch case to the outside
edge of the lug, as pictured. You don’t want to blindly measure from where the
lug meets the watch case to its tip because most leather watch bands to not rest
directly against the watch case because of their design. Be sure to measure this
section at least twice before recording your results.
Once you know how long the cut needs to be, you will need to figure out how
wide it should be. For a watch band that will sit in between two lugs on a
typical watch, you will first need to measure the width of the new watch band
using the normal jaws of your digital gauge. Measure the new band twice and
record this measurement before moving on.
Then you will need to measure the distance between the lugs of the watch case
with the backward opening jaws of the gauge. Verify your measurement, by
measuring at least twice, and then subtract the distance between the lugs from
the width of the band. This will tell you the total width you need to remove
from the edges of the new band.
Next, divide the difference between the lugs and the new band in half. You
will remove the resulting width from each side of the watch band to ensure it
stays centered between the lugs and on your wrist.
Take your digital gauge and open it to the partial width you calculated, lock
your gauge in place to keep the measurement from changing.
Using your digital gauge, you will mark off the amount of the band you need
to remove from each edge to keep the new watch band centered in the watch case.
Lay one half of the watch band face down in front of you and line up the jaws of
the digital gauge with the outside of the band and mark the inside of where the
other jaw ends.
Slide the digital gauge across the end of the watch band and mark the other
side of the band the way you marked the first side.
Set your gauge aside and line up the two halves of the watch band end to end.
Continue the two marks you made on the first half onto the second half. This way
you can be sure that each side of the band will be trimmed the same amount.
After you have made your first marks, you will need to mark how long you need
to make your cuts, so the band will be perfectly tailored to your watch case.
Again, take your digital gauge, this time opening it to the lug length you
measured earlier. Be sure to lock your gauge in place to keep the measurement
from changing while you mark the watch band.
Starting with one half of the band, measure from the end of the band into the
center, marking at the inside of the jaw on the band. Turn the band around and
mark the length of the cut on the other side as well.
Repeat this step on the second half of the band being sure to mark both sides
of the band.
Once you have completely marked the inside of the band, you are ready to
notch the band to make it the right size. Position one half of the band in
between the jaws of the notching pliers. Be sure to align the notching blade
with the edge of your width mark. Then, check that the end of the blade is
aligned with the end mark you made.
Remember: it is easier to make one single cut with the notching pliers than
to try to make two smaller cuts. Holding the watch band steady, slowly close the
jaws of the pliers, allowing the metal to cut through the leather band. If your
watch band is particularly thick, you may find it difficult to cut through the
leather. To make it easier to cut through, you can brace the pliers against your
workbench and use two hands to apply pressure to close the jaws.
Once you make the first cut in the band, turn it around so that you can cut
the necessary amount from the other edge of the band. Reposition the band in
between the jaws and align the cutting edge with your markings. Press the jaws
closed to cut through the second edge of the band.
Set the first half of the band aside, and repeat Step 8 to cut the second
half of the band down to the correct size.
Once you have made the cuts in both portions of the watch band, you will want
to use the fabric cement to seal the cut edges of the watch band to keep them
from fraying or coming apart. This is particularly important if you have cut any
portions of the seam to size the band down.
Take your fabric cement, and one half of the watch band, and apply a small
amount of adhesive to all the cut edges. This will seal the band and extend its
life. Be careful not to accidentally seal the hole in the band shut because if
you do you won’t be able to connect the band to the watch case.
Set the first half of the watch band aside, and repeat Step 10 to seal the
second side of the band just like you did with the first. Finally, let the fast
drying cement set up and dry for about a half hour to ensure a good seal.