Since most metal watch bands are held together with cotter pins, you will probably need this
guide to remove a band link to ensure that your watch fits.
When you need to adjust the length of your metal watch band by removing
links, it helps to know exactly how many links you need to remove. To learn
How to Determine How Many Links to Remove from your watch band, check out
Once you know how many links you need to remove, you need to decide how many
links you are removing from each side of the band. Remember that anytime
you are removing more than one link, you should split the total to be removed
between both sides of the clasp so you can keep it centered on your wrist.
Next you will need to pick which side of the watch band you want to start
removing links from. When you've decided, examine the back of the watch
band. You should see several small arrows that show which way the pins need to
be pushed out of the band. Position your watch band in the band holder so that
the arrows are pointing down and the first link you want to remove is centered
over a hole in the holder.
NOTE: When there are arrows on the links, links without arrows cannot
be removed. Also, if there are no arrows on the band, you will need to push the
pins out from the side without the seam in the pin, like this.
Now that you have the band positioned to remove a pin from the link, test
your pin pushers in the hole with the cotter pin until you find the pusher that
fits in the link. Once you have the right size pin pusher, hold it against the
cotter pin. Using the flat head of your ball peen hammer, tap the pin out of the
link with the pin pusher. When you cannot push the pin pusher any further into
the watch band, set it aside and remove the watch band from the holder. The
cotter pin should fall out of the link, but if it doesn’t just remove it with
your fingers and set it aside in your parts tray.
Count the links you need to remove from this side of the watch band moving
from the loose link near the clasp in toward the watch case. When you know how
many links to remove, place the watch band back in the holder and line up the
hole in the last link you want to remove with a hole in the holder.
Take your pin pusher and repeat the process from before to remove the cotter
pin. Align the pusher with the hole in the link and tap the pin out with the
flat head of your ball peen hammer. Remove the band from the holder when you
cannot push the pin out any further. Set the cotter pin aside in your parts tray
with the extra links.
With the first links removed, put both loose ends of your watch band together
so they form a solid band again. Then, insert one of the cotter pins into the
hole in the links to hold them together. The thin straight end of the pin should
be inserted first, against the arrow like this. The wide part of the cotter pin
should always be pounded in last.
Put the band in the holder to keep it steady. Make sure that the hole in the
link is lined up with a solid part of the watch band holder. Use the flat head
of your ball peen hammer and start to tap the pin back into place. You shouldn’t
need a whole lot of force to get the cotter pin into the links until you reach
the wide end.
When the pin is almost back in place, you should use your pin pusher between
the cotter pin and the hammer to tap the pin into the hole. Always keep the ball
peen hammer as separated from the watch band as possible to avoid damaging the
band. Set the pin pushers aside once the cotter pin is flush against with the
With the watch band back together, remove it from the band and try it on to
check the fit. Do the link test again here to make sure you still need to remove
the same number of links you expected at the beginning.
Once you have verified the number of links you need to remove, take the watch
band off and turn it so you can remove the next links from the other side of the
Repeat steps 3 through 8 to remove the
Put the band back together and try it on again. It should fit now that you
have removed the number of links you determined. If it is still too big, you can
always remove another link. If it is too small now, you can check out this
article on How to Add Cotter Pin Watch Band Links to a watch band
When your watch band fits just the way you wanted, you can wear it everyday.
Be sure to keep the links you removed from the band and the extra cotter pins in
a safe place in case you need them in the future.