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How to shorten a metal watchstrap

Updated on March 14, 2009

This article describes the necessary steps on how to shorten metal watchstraps with simple tools

Did you buy your friend's new watch in an internet shop ? Great deal, but your friend's wrist is small and the watch it just dangles around or even slips off ? You went to the closest watch retailer but he charges you a fortune to change the strap's size ? So here is the solution on how to impress your friend not only with the watch itself but with your mechanical skills !

Type of straps it works with

This works with straps that display a small arrow on the links that can be removed from the strap (see picture). It works on a Casio Edifice for example

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What do you need ?

All you need is a breadboard and a precision screwdriver. I used a model like the one shown in the picture with exchangeable tips.

Removing a link (1)

To remove a link, you need to slide out the pin in the sense of the arrow by pushing it just above the small metal knob. Incline the link as shown in the picture, apply the screwdriver and press firmly. Maybe you need to incline it a little less if the pin doesn't move (not enough room between link and breadboard).

Removing a link (2)

The result should be like this. Eventually you need a smaller screwriver to completely extract the pin in a second step.


Once you are done and the pin is extracted, you can separate the links of the strap.

The construction of the links

Here's another picture of two links to better visualize the construction of the links. Like this you may imagine how it works with your watch if the design of the strap is not exactly the same. I suppose that the priciple is similar in most of the cases.

How to go on

Obviously you need to perform these steps 2 times on both sides of the strap in order to remove the appropriate amount of links (ideally you should remove an equal number of links on both sides). If this is not leading to the adequate size and you need to remove one more, do it at the outer side of the strap (the one sitting at the outer side of your forearm).

Then reassemble the strap and re-insert the pins. For pushing them firmly into their original position, use an object made of plastic - for example the handle of the screwdriver. This will avoid ugly scratches.

That's all - you're done you saved a couple of $ with only few effort and you can be proud of the result.

Some more hints

Recently I came across another type of straps where the pins that hold together the links are much thinner (see the picture on the right). The correct assembly of the pin is shown in figure B. There is a significant space between the link and the pin. If you re-assemble the strap, there is a risk that the pin gets jammed as shown inside the red circle in the picture below.

In order to avoid this you should follow these hints:

- push the pin only at the edge following the green arrow (otherwise the pin may get bent when it jams)

- once you feel that the pin is jammed, take a very thin screwdriver tip an push its end in the direction of the red arrow this will un-jam it

- don't pull on the strap when re-assembling it

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SE JT6221 16-Piece Watch Repair Tool Kit
SE JT6221 16-Piece Watch Repair Tool Kit

If you like to get further you may want to use some more adequate tools


Let me know how this worked for you

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      wirasi 8 years ago

      Thanks! I had no clue how to do this but five minutes later and it's done.

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      offtothemoon 9 years ago

      Great info! Since getting into