Howto: Resize Your Own Watch

I haven’t put too many posts up here that are actually helpful to anyone else in any way, so I thought I should start working on that. This may or may not be helpful to anyone either, but what the heck, I already had the pictures…

Disclaimer: I am not a jewelry / watch expert, and in fact know next to nothing about them. What I present here worked for me, but I make no claim that it will work for you and take no responsibility for your actions and any damage they may cause. 🙂


So why am I resizing a watch band, of all things? Well, my parents bought me a Seiko watch for Christmas during my senior year of high school, which I like very much. Unfortunately, wearing it for several years (and drumming with it on) popped one of the hands off one of the smaller dials, and that hand now rattles around freely under the crystal, frequently getting stuck under other dials and jamming the watch up:

Note the alarm dial (bottom) of the old watch is missing a minute hand, which is located upside down jamming its second hand (left dial).

After sending it off to Seiko for a repair estimate ($162), we decided it wasn’t worth the money to repair, as it would be better spent toward the purchase of a new watch. Fast-forward several months, and I find my very same watch on for $105 (no longer available). I was pretty excited to have a chance to get it fixed, so I bought it. Fast-forward another week or so, and my new watch arrives. Three sizes too large for my wrist. Oops.

And so, here we are.


  • Resize a watch band of the “pin-and-link” type seen above.
  • Avoid fees to have it resized at the mall
  • Avoid damage by the inept worker at the Younkers jewelry department


  • Pentel 0.5mm mechanical pencil tips
  • Thumbtacks
  • 1″ Brad
  • Light hammer


  1. First, take a close look at your watch and determine how many links need to be removed, and from which sides of the clasp. Keep in mind that you should try to balance the removed links from both sides, or the clasp will end up on the edge of your wrist instead of the back.
    I had this step easy, as the old watch was fitted correctly to my wrist already as a model. In my case, I needed to remove 3 links total: 2 from one side of the clasp and 1 from the other.
  2. The next step is to determine exactly which links you will need to remove to accomplish this, and which pins hold them in place. Generally, you will need to remove 2 pins (one from each end of the link(s) you will remove), and then replace 1 to rejoin the watch band.
  3. Removing and inserting these pins without a commercial tool for doing so is the tricky part, and why I am writing this Howto. So, on to the pins:
  4. On my Seiko, I started by removing one of the pins on the links near the clasp, in the direction indicated by the small engraved arrow:
  5. One method to remove these pins uses the tip from a 0.5mm mechanical pencil. Remove the tip and place it point up on a solid surface. Then press the watch down, aligning the pin with the pencil tip’s metal shroud. Apply force as vertically and firmly as possible.
    This was the first method I tried, and though it worked for two of the pins I needed to remove, it destroyed 3 mechanical pencils by pushing the metal shroud into the tip. For this reason, I do not recommend this method.
  6. A second method is to use a thumbtack. Place the tack point-upward on a sold surface. Very carefully align the watch pin on the tip of the tack and press downward firmly. It is very important to keep the watch aligned so that you are always pushing directly into the pin, not at any angle. If you are not careful, the watch will slip off the pin, and if you’re like me, you’ll stab the pin a full quarter inch into the tip of your finger.
    Despite the increased danger in this method, I found it to be the most effective, and though I did destroy another few tacks in the process, I was able to remove the remainder of my pins relatively easily.
  7. Once all the pins are removed, you simply rejoin the remaining watch band pieces by reinserting pins as necessary. This is the second significant challenge.
  8. When reinserting the pins, it worked best for me to insert them in the opposite direction I had removed them in. I attempted to insert the pin in the direction of the arrow the first time around, pushing the “bulge” in the pin through first, with the result of destroying the pin:
  9. It is possible to push the pin nearly all the way back in just by hand and pressing the watch against a table, but replacing the pin the last 1/16″ proved trickier. You would like to reposition the pin as it originally was, to minimize the risk that it will fall out.
  10. The best method I found for recessing the pin back to its original position was to tap it lightly with a hammer, via a nail. Place the watch on a solid board or edge of a table so that the edge of the watchband rests solidly on the surface. Then align a small brad (I used a 1″) with the stub of the pin sticking out, and rap it lightly with a hammer as shown:
  11. Repeat for all pins that you need to remove and replace to adjust the watch size.
  12. And that’s it!

    Finished watch, down to size with minimal scratches.

    Total bill of materials:

    • 3 mechanical pencil tips
    • several thumbtacks
    • one watch pin
    • one stabbed finger