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 cotter pins. How do you recognize a cotter pin link? If one side has a smooth pin end, and the other end looks like it has a very thin groove across the top, you are probably dealing with a cotter pin. These pins often have arrows marking the way they should be removed from the band on the inside of the band.
- A jeweler’s small ball-peen hammer
- A pin pusher
- 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.
Position the watch band in your band holder, with the side you need to add links to accessible to you because you need to open the band before adding links. The arrows in the first link you want to remove should be pointing down. 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.
Test your pin pusher in the hole of the link until you find a pusher that fits and will allow you to remove the cotter pin. Hold the pin pusher against the cotter pin and, using the flat head of your ball pen 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 you can just remove it with your fingers. Set it aside in your parts tray.
Take the extra links you have and grab one to add to the first side of the band. Line up one end of the free link with opposite end of the loose end of the band. They should fit together like this. Insert one of the free cotter pins into the links to hold them together. The thin straight end of the pin should be inserted first, against the arrow. 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 links is lined up with a solid part of the watch band holder. Use the flat end of the ball peen hammer and begin tap the pin into place. You shouldn’t need to use a whole lot of force here.
As the pin slides further into the band, take your pin pusher and position it over the pin and tap it down with your hammer until it is flush with the band. The pin pusher will keep your from damaging the band with the hammer.
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.
When you have added your last loose link, put both free ends of the watch band together. Slide a cotter pin into the hole in these links so that the wide end will fit into the links last. Place the band in the holder to keep it steady.
Use the flat head of your ball peen hammer and start to tap the pin into place. You shouldn’t need a whole lot of force to get the cotter pin into the links. Before the pin gets too close to the band, you should place your pin pusher between the cotter pin and the hammer to tap the pin the rest of the way into the hole.
Always keep the ball peen hammer as separated from the watch band as possible to avoid damaging the band. Remove the band from the holder when the pin is flush against the band again.
With the band closed, try the band on again. If you can comfortably close the clasp 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 2 through 8 to add more links to the other side of the band and then close it 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 Cotter Pin Band Links.