We’ve already discussed how to change a leather watch band, but what if your watch has a metal band. Metal band watches are very popular, but you still may need to change the band due to wear and tear, or because you want to change the look of the watch. You might even want to change it because the original band doesn’t suit the size of your wrist. Some people may not feel confident enough to change the band themselves. You can always take your watch to a jeweler, who will be able to change it for you, but they will probably charge for the service.
The first step in changing a metal watch band yourself is to figure what kind of fitting the watch has. Some metal watches have the spring bar fitting, so you can change it in much the same way as you would a leather strap. Look very closely at where the band meets the watch, and look at the lugs. If you can see small holes on the outside of the lugs, then the band is attached by screws. If you don’t see any holes, then it’s attached by a spring bar. You also need to check for end caps. End caps will protrude, like wings, so if the band doesn’t seem to have a flat end, then it has end caps.
If your watch band is attached with screws, you will need to get a small screwdriver, or something similar to remove the screws. You can find a flat head watchmaker’s screwdriver online for relatively little. You do need a steady hand as this can be a tricky job. Insert the screwdriver into the lug hole, make sure you feel it catch the screw. When you’ve removed the screw, you need to remove the spring bar piece. You might need to remove the screw on the other side to poke it through. You can get a pair of non-magnetic tweezers to help with this. Keep everything carefully to one side when you’re finished.
When you’re attaching a new band with screws, you need to make sure that the new band fits, and can be attached in the same way. Line the band up between the lug holes, and then thread the screw bar through. Hold it in place, keeping the bar and band in line with the lug holes. Position one screw in one of the lug holes, and screw it in a few times. Put the second screw in the other lug hole, and hold the first screw with a screwdriver, or a screwdriver block, then tighten the second screw. Once the second screw is completely tightened, you can tighten the first screw. It’s important to check the screws as they can wear out over time, so you may need to replace them.
If your watch has end caps , then it probably won’t have screws, but it will have a spring bar. Look at the space between the lugs, if the band seems to flow into the case, without gaps, then there’s probably not end caps. You could turn it over and look at the back. End caps will have an extra piece of metal at the end of the band. There will be two part protruding that look a bit like winds. You will remove the spring bar pretty much the same way as you would for a leather strap, however, once you’ve released the bar, the end caps will fall out. The bar attaches the caps to the band as well. Repeat this for the other side as well, and keep all the pieces safe to one side.
When you’re attaching a new band with end caps, you need to make sure that the new band fits the old end caps. First slide the spring bar into the end caps, and move it into position between the lugs. Press the bottom of the spring bar into the lower lug holes, depress the bar, and manoeuvre it until it clicks into the top lug hole. Bands with end caps can vary greatly in size, and it can be tricky to change the straps, so if you don’t feel comfortable, or if you run into difficulty, a jeweler will be able to do it for you.
If your watch band is flat, with no end caps, then it should be relatively simple to change. It’s probably a simple spring bar, so you change it like you would a leather strap. You can use a spring bar tool to carefully get it free. Press down gently and expose the bar, then slide it out of the indents in the lug. Do the same on the other side, and put the pieces safe to one side.
Changing a band with a spring bar is one of the easiest watch changes, because it’s a relatively straightforward process. Make sure you have all the pieces, ad that the band will fit the watch. Insert the spring bar into the hole, and move it towards the watch. Once one end is in the indent, you can depress the bar and slide it into position. You should hear it click when the bar is in the lug holes.
Again, if you need some help, or advice, then a jeweler will be able to help you. Brega Watches has a selection of bands and straps, as well as a luxury collection of watches. You can browse them here.