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How to adjust your watch bracelet

Have you bought a new watch recently and you want to shorten the watch band? When you order a watch from Mastersintime.com, we shorten the metal bracelet for you free of charge. Prefer to do it yourself? Below we explain exactly how to customize your watch. 

 

Free watch bracelet adjustment service 

When you buy a new watch, you naturally want it to fit perfectly. In some cases this may mean that the watch strap has to be shortened, which is usually the case with watches with a metal link bracelet. 

 

We offer a free shortening service for this type of watch. Specify your wrist size when ordering and we will make sure that the strap is made to measure. This way you can wear your watch right away! Of course we keep the remaining links so that you can use them later. You can still return the watch within the return period if you don't like it, even if the link strap has been shortened. Please don't forget to also send back the leftover links.

When to shorten your watch bracelet? 

A watch should not be worn too tight, but certainly not too loose either. The rule of thumb is that if you can put your little finger just under the closed clasp on the inside of your wrist, the watch is properly sized. If the watch is much looser, you can choose to shorten the watch bracelet. 

 

You can read which watch is suitable for your wrist size and how to measure the right size watch for your wrist in our article about measuring wrist size.

Bracelet too large

Bracelet too large

correct fitting watch bracelet

Correct fitting watch bracelet

How to shorten a metal watch bracelet? 

The easiest way to adjust your bracelet: loosen or tighten the clasp. 

Before you remove links from your watch bracelet, first see if it is possible to adjust the watch clasp. Often, adjusting the clasp of the watch strap is the easiest way to tighten or loosen the bracelet. If you have a watch with a clasp with pins, you can loosen the pin and move it to another hole. This way the clasp becomes a bit tighter or looser and the watch fits better on the wrist

Adjustable clasp

Clasp can be adjusted

Adjusting watch clasp

Press the pin to loosen it

Adjusting watch clasp

The clasp can now be adjusted

Strap changing tool

Strap changing tool

It is best to use a specialist tool to adjust the pins. You can find this tool on our accessories page. 

 

Shortening a metal bracelet: what do you need? 

Shortening your metal bracelet is not difficult. With the right tools, it's done in no time. You need: -

1 Watch strap shortener or strap change tool 

2 Small hammer 

3 Soft (cleaning) cloth 

4 Optional: pliers 

 

You can order a complete tool set for shortening and changing straps on our accessories page. 

 

Step-by-step plan for shortening a metal link strap with steel split pins 

The most common way links of a metal bracelet are joined together is with steel pins. You can easily shorten this type of strap yourself using a watch strap shortener:

Always start at the bottom of the watch (the 6 o'clock position) and only remove links marked with an arrow. 1 Try on the watch and see how many links you want to remove and turn the strap shortener all the way out

2  Place the watch with the correct link in front of the push-out pin of the shortener and make sure that you push the pin out in the direction of the arrow

3  Push the pin out of the link by tightening the shortener 

4 Do the same for the other side of the link 

5 Connect the strap back together by pressing the pin firmly into the loose link ends -

6 Make sure that you push the pin into the link in the right direction, with the split end on the side of the arrow. If you do this the wrong way around, the pin can get stuck. 

7 Make sure the pin is properly seated in the link. Carefully use a soft (plastic) hammer for the last piece of pin 

8 If you want to remove more than 1 link, remove a link from both sides of the belt so that the bracelet remains balanced.

How to shorten a mesh bracelet

You can easily adjust the folding or sliding clasp of a mesh strap (also known as a Milanese strap) to make the strap shorter or longer. It is important that you make sure that the slot on the back of the clasp is horizontally in line with one of the lines on the back of the bracelet. Otherwise it will not be possible to close the lid properly. Watch the video below for more explanation.

Shortening watch bands of different materials 

You don't shorten every watch bracelet in the same way. Below we give examples of shortening the most common types of bracelets.

Shortening a leather or rubber band. 

You cannot really shorten a leather band without damaging it. The watchmaker can make an extra hole in the strap with special pliers. You can also order a new, shorter watch band. Hirsch's universal watch bands, for example, are available in different lengths. 

 

Some rubber bands can be cut to size. When that is the case, it is clearly indicated on the product page. 

Please note: watches with a leather or rubber band with an extra hole or that have been cut cannot be returned or exchanged.

Shortening a watch band, does it differ per brand? 

Metal straps whose links are connected with cotter pins are the most common, across all brands. In addition, there are other ways that are more common with some brands and not with others. 

 

Shortening a watch bracelet with pin and tube 

Watch straps with pin and tube links are mainly found in more expensive watches from among others Seiko and Citizen. In principle, shortening a pin and tube bracelet works in the same way as with a bracelet with split pins, but because the tube is very small and difficult to place back into the link, we recommend you take this type of bracelet to a jewelers or watch maker.

 

Shortening a watch bracelet with screws 

With some brands, such as TW Steel, small screws are used to connect the links. Shortening a bracelet with screws is easy with a small screwdriver. Be careful not to scratch the bracelet and use a suitable screwdriver. Putting a small piece of tape around the screw can help protect it. On our accessories page you will find special screwdrivers for watch bands and watch cases.

watch bracelet with steel (split) pins

Watch bracelet with steel (split) pin

watch bracelet with screwed links

Watch bracelet with screwed links

Shortening a bracelet with pushpins 

With some bracelets, the links are connected with push pins instead of steel pins. You can also easily shorten this yourself in the same way as bracelets with steel pins. Just remember to always press the pushpin in the direction of the arrow. 

 

Shortening a bracelet with sliding links 

Links with a sliding mechanism are mainly found in older watches from, among others, Festina and Casio. In principle, this type of bracelet is very practical because you do not need any specialist tools. However, it is often difficult to do this yourself, because the links bend quickly. We therefore recommend having this type of strap shortened at the jeweler or watchmaker. 

 

Shortening a metal stretch band 

Of all metal bands, the stretch band is the most difficult to shorten. Fortunately, this will usually not be necessary because the band stretches with your wrist. If your metal stretch band needs to be shortened, we recommend that you have this type of band shortened at the jeweler or watchmaker. You will find metal stretch bands mainly on Lorus watches and older Swatch watches.

metal stretch band

metal stretch band

Watch bracelet with sliding mechanism

Watch bracelet with sliding mechanism

Extending the bracelet if it is too short 

The specifications of the watches on our site indicate for which minimum and maximum wrist size the watch is suitable. Is your wrist size larger than the maximum size of the watch in question? Then please contact our Customer Service. In some cases it is possible to order extra links from the manufacturer for a new watch. If the watch has a leather or rubber strap, you can consider ordering another, longer, band. On our page with universal watch bands you will find a wide selection of different sizes. 

A NATO strap is also a good alternative because you can easily adjust the length of this type of band. 

Do you need personal advice? Please contact our Customer Service. They are happy to help you!