Posted June 13, 2014 by Esslinger Staff
Whether your current watch band is beginning to look dingy or tarnished, or you would just like to give your watch a new look, you can easily replace your metal watch band. This guide will help you change watch bands that have end pieces or end caps at the ends where the band connects to the watch band.
How do you know if your watch case has end pieces? Check the space between the watch lugs, the metal part that sticks out to hold the watch band, where the band meets the watch case. If it looks like the band smoothly flows into the watch case without any gaps, you are most likely dealing with an end piece. You can turn the watch case around so you are looking at it from the back to know for sure. From this view, you should see an extra metal piece at the end of the band that has two wing-like protrusions that slightly overlap the watch lugs.
The first step in changing your watch band is to remove the existing watch band. Start by holding the watch so that the back is facing you. Be sure that if the watch is sitting on the crown that you are not putting pressure on the crown. One side of your band should be accessible to you, and you will see the spring bar in the small gap between the end piece and the lug where the piece dips away.
If you need more space to see the back of the watch case, you can open the watch band clasp.
Take your spring bar tool and slip the forked end into that gap under the top lug. When the point catches on the spring bar, push down and then to the side to pop the spring bar free. This may be a little tricky depending on the end piece. You will just barely be able to slip the end of the spring bar out from under the lug.
Carefully remove the spring bar with your fingers. Note that if the spring bar is particularly stuck you may need a small tweezers to pull it out of the band. As you pull it free the end piece will slip out of the watch case and fall loose from the watch band. Place the spring bar and end piece in your parts tray to keep them safe in case you need to reuse them. Let the first end of the watch band hang loose from the watch case.
Turn the watch case so that the half of the watch band that is still attached to the watch case is accessible to your tools.
Use your spring bar tool to repeat what you did before. Find the gap between the watch lug and the end piece and insert the forked end of your spring bar tool into it.
Once the tool catches on the donut ring of the spring bar, push down and then to the side to slide the spring bar out from under the watch lug. Grip the free tip of the spring bar in your fingers and pull it free of the case. As the spring bar comes free, the end piece will also fall free. Set both aside in your parts tray.
With nothing holding the watch band in place, it will have slipped free of the watch case. Pick it up and set it aside so you will remember which side of the watch case the ends connect to. By doing this, you will ensure that the watch clasp of your new band will lay the right way.
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.
Now, take your new watch band and lay it out beside your old watch band. Match up the bands so they face the same way so you can determine which side of the watch case the new band should go on. The new band will come with two loose end pieces.
When you know which side of the watch band you want to work with, take it in your hand and match one of the included end pieces to the end of the band. Slide a spring bar into the connection between the end piece and watch band to hold them together. If your new band came with spring bars, you can use them. Otherwise, simply reuse your old spring bars as long as they aren’t damaged.
Grab the watch case and turn it on its side with the back facing you so you can attach the first end of the watch band. Insert the end piece and spring bar so that the spring bar lines up with notch for it in the bottom lug of the watch case. Slide the end piece between the lugs so that the two wings are on top of the back of the lugs. It should be a little difficult to position the end piece like this.
When the end piece is correctly arranged between the lugs and almost in place, take your spring bar tool and with the forked end push down on the donut ring of the spring bar.
Make sure the spring bar tool is positioned in the divot of the end piece so you can push the spring bar and end piece into place under the lug. Move the spring bar around once it is under the lug until it clicks into place.
Turn the watch case around so that the back of the watch case is still facing you and the end without the band attached is available to you.
Pick up the loose end of the watch band and match up the end piece with the last link. Take your second spring bar and insert it into the hole between the end piece and the watch band to hold them together.
Position the spring bar in the notch in the bottom lug and slide the end piece into place so that the wings are on top of the back of the watch lugs. Again, it should be a little difficult to position the end piece.
Then, when you can’t push the end piece into place anymore, take your spring bar tool and with the forked end push down on the spring bar so that the end fits in the low point of the end piece. With the spring bar pushed down, slide it under the lug so that the end piece connects into place between the lugs and the spring bar can snap into the notch in the top lug.
Once both ends of the watch band have been connected to the watch case, you can wear your watch again and enjoy its new look. If you want to learn more about watch repair, you can check out our Learning Center or video playlists.