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How To Replace Your Leather Watch Band Strap

Band Broken?

Strap come apart? Split? The ends undone? Or maybe you just don’t like the color…

It’s time to replace it

Luckily, they sell watch bands everywhere. And luckily it’s a pretty easy process

Or can be!

There are a few pointers though that you should know. Some tips and tools that can make replacing your watch band a breeze.

First off, before you do anything, you’ll need to know the mm size of your band (which is the measurement of the ends, where it connects to the watch case). And you can measure your old leather band, or measure in between the watch lugs (little legs on the watch that hold the band).

Measure The MM Width Of Your Watch Band

Tools to use:

(If you don’t have mm listed on your ruler (say you only have inches), then convert those inches to mm with GOOGLE!)

Millimeter widthw can run just about any size, but the standard is around 18-22mm. for both men and women.

Leather bands are sold in just about every jewelry store across the country, online (at places like Amazon HERE), and even places like Target, Walmart, or Kohl’s (to name a few).

They are all sorted by mm size (which is clearly marked on the case), color, and band type (leather, metal, rubber).

But wait…

The other thing you’ll need to know is if your band is a regular sized band (to fit normal sized wrists), or a longer band (to fit bigger wrists).

Use the Handy Chart Below:

  • Regular Length: Fits wrists 6 1/2″ to 7 1/2″.
  • Short Length: Fits wrists 5 3/4″ to 6 3/4″.
  • Long Length: Fits wrists 7 1/4″ to 8 1/4″.

(P.S. They also make x-long bands too).

Regular Length Watch Bands Vs Long Watch Bands

Most of the bands you’ll find are a regular length (unless marked), and have enough holes (generally 7) in the strap to adjust to most any wrist.

Do make note of the color of the buckle (or clasp), as well. This should match the color of your watch case…

Make Sure The Clasp Color Matches Your Watch Case

Note that most of these buckles can be replaced as well (they use spring bars just like the band). And many leather bands actually come with different colors of clasp, so you can pick which one you desire.

Now the FUN part; The Spring Bars!

The leather band (which could be leather, alligator, suede, cloth, silicone, paracord…) are all held in place by spring bars. These fit into small holes drilled into the watch case (the lugs that stick out of the side of the watch).

To remove your old band (if it hasn’t already broken off), you’ll need one of two tools:

Either one works well (and also, if you have an eye-glass tool kit, that works fine too).

The spring bars compress and squish down when pressed, so you’ll need to take the tool and push it down (which frees it from the holes).

This allows you to pull the entire bar and band from the case lugs so you can replace it with a new one.

Do realize that these spring bars (also called pins) get very dirty, corroded, weak, bent, and broken. You should clean them off before reusing them, and if the spring feels weak, that should be replaced as well.

You can go into a jewelry store and have them replace these bars (they usually have a wide assortment of them on hand), or you can buy an assortment of watch spring bars (of different lengths and sizes), like these:

Plus, many leather watch bands even come with extra watch spring bars and tools that do it all! (BONUS)

Most pins are straight, but some are thicker than others. So just grabbing one the right length may not always work. It all depends on the amount of room available between the case and the watch band, and where the holes are located. See image below…

Different Types Of Watch Spring Bar Pins

Once you have a pin that fits (put it into the holes to make sure before you put them through the watch band)…

It’s time to insert the New Strap

Thread the bar through the leather slots in the end of the watch band. Stick the bottom prong into the watch lug hole. Maneuver the strap up to the case and over it in front of the other hole. Use your tools to press the nub downward so you can push it back into the opening and into the hole. You may have to wiggle the band slightly to get the bar to pop into place. Once it snaps in, pull on the band slightly to make sure it’s snug and secure.

Replacing The Leather Watch Band

Do note that you have to be careful when doing this, because most watch cases are not durable. Many are made out of cheap base metal and the lugs could snap off if you apply too much pressure to them. So try not to use the lugs as leverage when pushing the band or pins in. If the watch case is stainless steel, or gold, then you won’t have to worry about it. :)

Repeat this process for the other side. Also keep in mind that the end with the buckle goes on the top of the watch (at the 12 spot). That makes putting your watch on easier.

Doesn’t have to be Leather either!

Something that most people don’t know is this: If your watch comes with a leather strap, you don’t need to stick with a leather strap. You can put on other bands (as long as they’ll fit), like metal, rubber, or even paracord, as seen below…

Different Tpes Of Watch Bands Silicone Paracord Metal
(And vice-versa, if it comes with a metal band, you can put on a leather band).

The biggest concern with metal bands is the way that they connect to the case.

Some metal bands have curved ends (to fit the curvature of the watch case), and others are flat (which work, but leaves gaps between the case and the band). They will give you a difference in appearance.

Different End Attachments For Metal Bands On Watches

Try them on

If you desire a curved end, make sure you try a couple on first to see which one fits the curve of your watch the best.

When you put on a metal band, make sure you put it on the correct way (so the clasp faces you, and not away)…

The Correct Position For A Metal Watch Band Clasp

Don’t Forget to Adjust the Links

Lastly, with metal links, if you need need to remove any (to fit your wrist), it’s easier to do so when it’s not hooked to the watch. Lay it flat to work on it and it’ll make your life easier.

There are three types of pins that metal links have holding them together:

  • Cotter Pins
  • Straight Pins
  • Screws

Which means, you’ll need Tools for those too:

Watch Link Pin Removers

And one last bit of info…

If you remove the links (save these in case you need them later, as in eating too much chocolate), take them off the watch band evenly. Meaning the same amount on either side of the clasp. That way it stays balanced on your wrist.

If you don’t have an even amount to remove (say you’re taking off three), then take more off the side closest to you (the 6 spot – removing 2 from the bottom, and 1 from the top). That way the clasp doesn’t ride up the other side of your wrist.

Hope this Helps!

If it helped you, or answered your questions and concerns, let me know. Leave me a comment below.

If you have anything else to add, in case I forgot something, let me know that too.

I’d Appreciate it!

Cheers! :)

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