Posted June 13, 2014 by Esslinger Staff
Whether your current watch band is worn out, or you would just like to give your watch a new look, you can easily replace your leather watch band. This guide will help you change watch bands in cases with holes in the lugs. How do you know if your watch case is held in place with Gucci screws? Check the watch lugs, the metal part that sticks out to hold the watch band. If the lugs look like they each have one small round hole, the band might be held in place with screws, check the holes closer and if the tips of the pin holding the band in place have screw heads, then you are dealing with a Gucci style screw.
- A flat head watchmaker’s screwdriver
- A screwdriver blade block OR a second flat head watchmaker’s screwdriver
- A parts tray
- A pair of non-magnetic tweezers
- A replacement watch band
- Optional: two Gucci style screws
When your goal is to change a watch band held in place with Gucci screws, you must first remove the old band from the watch case. Before you can remove the screws from the watch band, you must first find which end actually screws out of the band. To do this, you will need to hold one side of the screw pin steady while unscrewing the other. You can use either your screwdriver block and flat head screwdriver or two flat head screwdrivers to hold it steady. We recommend using a screwdriver block because it is more stable and less likely to damage your watch pin or band.
Take the screwdriver block, and find which blade best fits the screw head. Once you know which blade to use, line the screw blade with the screw head on one side of the watch band. When it is in place, turn the block and watch so the watch case is standing up on its side on the block with the other end free.
Then, insert the blade of your free screwdriver into the other screw head. Make sure that your first turn is a sharp and quick turn counter-clockwise so that you break the glue seal holding the screw in place. You may need someone to hold the screwdriver block steady so it doesn’t spin while you work. Once the seal has been broken, continue turning your screwdriver counter-clockwise.
When the screw comes loose, remove it and place it in your parts tray to keep it safe. You can remove the watch case from the screwdriver block at this point.
Hold the watch case in your hand and with your non-magnetic tweezers, push the remaining screw bar piece out of the watch band. When you can grab the screw bar with your fingers, pull it free and put it in your parts tray.
The first end of the leather band should fall away from the watch case. Pick it up and set it aside so you can keep track which side of the watch case it belongs to.
Now, repeat this process for the other half of the watch band. Start by matching the screwdriver block blade with the screw head on one side of the other half of the watch band. Turn the watch case so that the free end with the screw head is facing up and the watch case is balanced on the screwdriver block.
Take your screwdriver and insert it into the upward facing screw and turn it counter-clockwise. Make sure that your first turn is a sharp and quick turn counter-clockwise so that you break the glue seal holding the screw in place. Once the seal has been broken, continue turning your screwdriver counter-clockwise.
Once the screw comes loose, remove it with your non-magnetic tweezers and place it in your parts tray for safe keeping. After you remove the screw you can take the watch case off of the screwdriver block and set the block aside.
Use your non-magnetic tweezers to push the remaining screw bar out of the watch case and band. When the bar is partially out of the case, grab it with your fingers and pull it free. Place it in your parts tray for safe keeping.
At this point, the second half of the watch band should fall free from the watch case. Set the second half of the leather band aside with the first one to ensure that the watch clasp opens and closes the same way as before when you replace it.
Next you need to measure the watch band to determine the size of your replacement band. Once you have the size of the watch band needed, you can choose a size and style that you prefer. For lots of watch band options, visit our watch band page.
Before you begin to place the new band on your watch case, you should consider replacing your Gucci style screws. The screws wear out just like spring bars do, and while you can use your old screws you run the risk of losing your watch band.
Using the old band for reference, choose one side of the new band that you know belongs to one side of the watch case. Place the first end of the new leather band between the two metal lugs of the watch case. Align the holes in the watch band with the holes in the watch lugs and take one of the screw bars from your parts tray. Insert the screw bar into tube created by the holes in the watch band and the watch case. The bar will hold the ends together while you place the screw into the other end.
Take one of the screws in your tweezers and insert it into the open end of watch case lug. Turn it in clockwise once or twice with your screwdriver into the screw bar.
With the screw held in place, grab the screwdriver block and align it with the screw bar head end of the end piece. Turn the watch case so the loose screw is accessible to your screwdriver. Using the screwdriver block to hold the bottom screw head in place, turn the top screw clockwise until it tightens into place.
When you cannot turn the top screw anymore, remove the watch case from the screwdriver block and turn the case around so you can reattach the second half of the band into place.
Pick up the second half of the watch band and place it between the two open lugs of the watch case. Be sure that the hole through the watch band lines up with the holes in the watch lugs. Then, grab the second screw bar and slide it into the tunnel created by the holes in the watch case and the watch band.
Once the screw bar is in place, take your last screw with your tweezers and insert it into the open end of the watch lug. Turn it clockwise once or twice with your screwdriver to ensure that it stays in place.
Now that you know the screw won’t fall out of the watch case, take your screwdriver block and align the blade with the screw bar end of the watch pin. Turn the watch case so it is standing on its side on the screwdriver block and the free end is accessible to your screwdriver. Using the screwdriver, turn the loose screw end of the link clockwise into place. When you can’t tighten it anymore, you know the band is securely back in place.
Once both halves of the watch band are securely attached to the watch case, you are ready to wear your watch again with its brand new look.
Visit Esslinger.com’s Learning Center for more watch repair guides.