Sometimes your watch band clasp will wear out before your watch band does. If you don’t want to replace your whole watch band you can always replace the clasp itself. Use this guide to learn how to change a standard butterfly buckle that is held in place with double sleeve pins.
How do you know if your watch clasp is a standard butterfly buckle? There are a couple things to look for: if your clasp is completely hidden by the watch band and all you can see is a small seam between the two parts, you have a butterfly buckle that opens from the inside. When you look at a standard butterfly clasp, the clasp will have one solid tube that fits inside the split ends of the band. You will also be able to tell if your clasp is held in place with double sleeve pins if when you examine the ends of the pins they look like solid friction pin with a ring that surrounds the pin.
- A pin pusher
- A jeweler’s ball peen hammer
- A watch band holder
- A pair of jeweler’s pliers
- A digital gauge
- A parts tray
- A replacement standard hidden butterfly clasp
- And new pins and sleeves
The first step in replacing a watch band clasp is to remove the old clasp. Open the clasp so that it is fully extended and you can easily access the points where the clasp meets the band. Choose one side of the watch band to start on, and insert that end of the band and clasp into the watch band holder with the watch crown facing up. Be sure to line up the hole in the band closest to the clasp with one of the holes in the watch band holder.
Now, take your pin pushers and test them in the hole until you find the one that fits the pin inside of the sleeve ring so you can remove the pin first. Insert the pin of the pin pusher into hole in the band. Using the flat head end of your small ball-peen hammer, tap on the pin pusher to push the watch pin out of the band so you can remove the clasp. You will have to use some force, but start with a small amount and gradually increase the force until the pin starts moving so you don’t damage the watch.
Keep tapping on the pusher until you cannot push the pin anymore. Lift the band out of the watch holder and remove the pin with the jeweler’s pliers, placing it aside in your parts tray to keep it from rolling away. This may require some effort if one sleeve is still holding the end of the pin.
Next, you’ll remove the two sleeves from the edges of the loose end of the watch band. Place the loose end of the watch band in the holder. First you’ll remove the sleeve on the top edge of the band. Test your pin pushers until you find the one that fits in the hole in the band and rests on the edges of the sleeve. Use your ball peen hammer to tap on the pin pusher and push the sleeve out of the band. It may require some effort, but like before, start with a small amount of pressure and gradually increase it until the sleeve starts to move out of the band.
When the sleeve falls free of the band, you can remove the band from the holder and turn it over and reinsert it into the holder to remove the second sleeve. Place the pin in the hole in the second edge of the band to push the second sleeve out. Take your ball peen hammer again and begin tapping on the pusher to remove the sleeve, gradually increasing force until it begins to move. Let the second sleeve fall free and set your tools aside. Find your two loose sleeves and place them in your parts tray.
Repeat Steps 2 and 3 to free the other end of the clasp from the watch band. When the clasp is fully free of the band, set it aside so you can remember which side of the band connects to which side of the clasp.
Next, take the old clasp so you can measure it to ensure your new clasp will fit in your watch band. The first measurement you need is of the tube that connects the clasp to the watch band. Grab your digital gauge and close the large jaws on either side of the tube and record the measurement. The second measurement is of the maximum width of the clasp itself. This measurement is taken by measuring the clasp from edge to edge at its widest point in the center.
With the measurements in hand, you can order a new watch band clasp. When you are ready to insert the new watch clasp into the watch band, you will need your two new watch pins and four new sleeves.
Take your new clasp and insert one end into the corresponding end of the watch band so that the clasp will close in the right direction for you when you are finished. Holding the two pieces together, place the band and clasp in the band holder to keep the pieces together while you work. Be sure that the hole is lined up with a solid portion of the holder so you don’t accidentally push the pin out of place.
Then, insert the first pin in hole in the end of the watch band. You will have to hold the pin in place with one hand while you take your ball peen hammer and begin to tap it into place. When the pin is part way into the band, place the pin pusher between the end of the pin and the ball peen hammer to protect the watch band as you continue to tap it into place until it is flush with the band.
Then take one of your sleeves and line it up with the pin in the hole so that it will slide in to ring the pin and keep it steady. Begin to tap the sleeve into the band with your ball peen hammer, until the sleeve can rest in the band on its own. Take your larger pin pusher and place it between the sleeve and the hammer to keep from damaging the watch band and gradually apply more force with the hammer until the sleeve slides into place.
Remove the watch band and clasp from the holder when the pin is flush and turn it over to place the second sleeve by repeating the previous part of this step.
Once the second sleeve has been placed, remove the band from the holder. Connect the two loose ends of the clasp and band together and replace them in the holder and repeat Steps 6 and 7.
When the sleeve is flush against the watch band, you can remove the complete watch band from the watch holder and test the watch clasp to make sure it closes correctly under the watch band.
When you are satisfied that the watch band clasp is exactly what you wanted, put your watch on and wear it again. To learn how to complete other simple watch repairs, check out the rest of our Learning Center.