YES! It is a secret, and one you’ll love finding out.
For there is one critical step when it comes to removing watch links…
Oh, it’s not the tools themselves… really. They make plenty of great devices. The best ones, and the ones I recommend are shown below…
So first, let’s take a look at them so you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.
Watch Band Link Remover
This small plastic device is something every jeweler has. It’s easy to use, painless, and takes just a couple of seconds to line up the link and push the pin through (by screwing the pin pusher through the device).
If you have push pins (which are the most common pins) in your watch links (versus screws, which require a jeweler’s precision screwdriver set, or clips which use clip spring removing pliers), buy this pin pusher. It works well!
Secondly, would be the handheld plier pin puncher, as shown below…
Watch Link Plier Puncher
This tool is just as simple as the first. You line up the link hole with the pin, and push. The pin pops out in a second. This tool is better for some people to use since the previous one requires you to lay the watch flat. With this device, you don’t have to, because you hold the watch with one hand and pop the links out with the other. It’s like using a staple gun.
Grab yourself a plier pin puncher here!
Hammer, Pin and Watch Holder
This is the tried and true method. It’s the manual way of doing things, but often, when a link is stubborn and won’t come out, you’ll have to use a little force and hammer it out. So a watch holder that holds the watch band, allows you to align the punch and hammer the pin through. As shown below…
These are great tools to use, although they do require a little bit more practice and dexterity to hold the watch, holder (most jewelers use a wooden one, like this one here), pin and hammer all at the same time (and do use the rubber end of the mallet hammer on the watch so you don’t damage it). Many people hold the watch, holder and pin themselves and then get someone else to use the hammer (when you have a hammer in your hands, everything looks like a nail). Just watch your fingers! :)
A hammer, holder and puncher is a must-have backup tool.
Watch Band Link Remover Tool Kit
You could always get yourself a watch link remover kit too, as seen here:
This kit comes with a pin pusher, and extra punchers (which is great if you already have a mallet or hammer).
But what about the Secret?
Here it is…
Keep the Puncher Straight!!!
You don’t know how many times people break those little metal punchers (make sure you buy a tool with extra punchers, you’ll need them), it’s seriously like every day. This is because they smash the watch band into the device, then push or twist as hard as they can, and BAM;
The Puncher Breaks!
Punchers are delicate. They don’t take much pressure to snap them. So the key is to make sure the watch link hole is perfectly lined up with the puncher, and then gently, carefully, push the puncher through. If at any time the puncher feels like it’s stuck, jammed, or bending; STOP!
For if you put too much force on the pin (say the link is snug, which happens if the links are dirty, corroded, or covered with plating), then all you’ll do is break the puncher. These punchers work great, but you have to proceed with caution and be gentle. They should push the pin out easily. If not, use a hammer and block instead (watch holder).
Keep the hole lined up, exert just a little tension, but not enough to break the tool.
Because then, you’re SOL.