Posted June 13, 2014 by Esslinger Staff
If your metal watch band is too small, you can add links to make it bigger and ensure a perfect fit. Use this guide to add links that are held in place with T-bar style pins. How will you know if your watch band is held together with t-bar pins? Turn the band over and look at the back. If the links have oval shaped cutouts in the back with arrows pointing toward them, your watch most likely has t-bar pins holding it together.
- A bench mat or other protected surface
- A pair of band link removing pliers
- A small ball-peen hammer
- A spring bar tool
- A watch band holder
- A parts tray
- And extra links with pins
If you have previously removed links from your watch band, find the extra links and pins that you removed. You can use them to add links to your band without having to purchase new parts or links. If you don’t have extra links, you will need to order additional links.
Choose which side of the watch band you want to start removing links from, and set the watch on its side on the bench mat. The arrows on the links should be pointing up toward the ceiling. If you don’t feel like you have enough room to access the links with your spring bar tool, you can open the watch band clasp to give you more room to work.
Take your band link removing pliers, and insert the longer, pointed end into the oval cutout in the band. The point should rest in the deepest point of the cutout to be under the “T” of the link. Close the pliers so that the flat top jaw rests on the solid part of the link. When you are sure that the jaws are in the right place, squeeze the jaws together and push the link up and out of the band.
Lay the watch band flat on the mat and use the pointed end of your spring bar tool to push the link pin the rest of the way out of the band. Then, when you begin to see the hook of the pin, you can pull it out with your fingers and place it in your parts tray. Let the band fall open where the spring bar has been removed.
Take the extra links you have and grab the first link you will add to this side of the watch band. Use one of the pins from your extra links to put this link back into the band.
Slide the t-bar link in so that the long straight part goes in first, and the bump on the T-section stops the link from sliding right into place.
Insert the watch band into your band holder now, so that the raised end of the t-bar link is facing up. Take your spring bar tool, or other tool with a wide flat surface, and rest it across the top of the t-bar link. Then, using the flat-head of your ball-peen hammer, pound the link back into place. Start gently and slowly increase the pressure you are using until the pin starts to move down into the links. Stop when the pin is flush with the watch band.
With the first loose link attached back to the band you can wrap the watch band around your wrist to see how it is fitting. Be sure that the metal clasp is closed, and then judge the distance of the opening in the band. If the gap is larger than one link, you will need to add at least two more links to the band.
Once the loose links have been added to the band, there should only be one opening in the band. Line up the two loose ends of the band and connect them by sliding the long end of the t-bar pin into place. Insert the watch band into your band holder again, so that the raised end of the t-bar link is facing up.
Using your spring bar tool, or other tool with a wide flat surface, you will push the pin into place. Rest the wide side across the top of the t-bar link. Take your flat-head ball-peen hammer and pound on the spring bar tool to push the link pin into place. Start gently and slowly increase the pressure you are using until the pin starts to move down into the links. Stop pounding on the spring bar tool when the pin has been pushed flush with the band again.
With the band closed, try it on again. If you can comfortably close the clasp on your wrist, you are done. If you still cannot close the clasp you will need to add another link to the band, on the opposite side from the one you started on.
If you need to add more links, take the band off and turn it around so you can add the rest of the links to the other side. Repeat steps 3 through 9 to add the additional links and close the band again.
When the band is together again, try on the watch band. It should fit just the way you like. If not, you can add or remove additional links until it does. To learn how to remove links, check out the article to learn How to Remove T-Bar Style Watch Band Links.