5 Simple Steps to Changing Your Watch Strap

July 2, 2024


You do not need a lot of experience with changing straps to be able to follow along with these instructions. It is important to note that these instructions will not help you with every kind of watch strap.

These instructions apply to watches that have lug holes that are drilled. It can also be applied to watch straps that are two-piece and made of very flexible material.

When we talk about changing watch straps, we are talking about getting rid of the old strap and installing a new one. This can be of a lot of help if your watch strap has gotten old. You can also do this if you want to change the look of your luxury watch.

Today, we will be taking a look at how you can remove and also replace your watch strap. These instructions have been made to be used by just about anyone who wears a watch.

You Will Be Needing These Tools

If you want to be able to properly follow along with the instructions here, you will need the following tools:

  • Spring bar tool
  • Replacement strap
  • Soft pads or microfiber cloth
  • A piece of paper.

How To Change Watch Straps? [Simplified Step-by-step Guide]

Step 1: Find A Reliable Workspace To Start With

You need to properly set up a workspace where you will go about changing your watch strap. One of the first things you need is a flat and level surface.

So you need a stable workspace. Then you need to lay out a sort of soft pad on which you will place the watch. The soft pad is important to not damage the watch.

Make sure the watch is placed in such a way that you have easy access to the spring bards and the strap.

Straps are made up of two pieces. One piece is short and attached to the buckle of the watch and the other piece is longer and it is punched with holes where the buckle fits. The watch, in most cases, will be placed face down.

The strap will be unbuckled on a kind of soft pad and the lugs of the watch will be pointing to its sides. This makes getting to the spring bars and the strap a whole lot easier. It also makes sure that the watch is not scratched.

A couple of lugs will typically extend out of the case of your watch at about noon and about 6 o’clock. They will have a few small holes on the inside to hold the spring bars.

Step 2: Remove The Straps

When we talk about removing straps, we are talking about getting rid of spring bars. These bars can release the pieces of the strap from your watch case. The ends of the spring bar are loaded with springs and it also has a sort of telescoping metal rod that has double flanges on each of its sides. The ends of the spring bar fit into small holes in the lugs of the watch case.

When you have the strap unbuckled and you have the pieces of the watch lying on either side of the case, make sure you grip the watch case strongly with your hand which is not the dominant one.

Make sure to hold the spring bar tool with your main hand and hold it like a pencil. Make sure the fork end of the tool is placed between the side of the strap and also the lug. Gently pull the spring bar out of its place in the lug hole and take it out. The strap will now be disconnected from the watch case.

Step 3: Rotate The Watch

In this step, you need to make sure the watch has been rotated 180 degrees to make the remaining watch strap in the same kind of orientation as the previous one.

After this has been done, you need to repeat step two.

Step 4: Install The Strap

To install the replacement strap,

  • insert the spring bars into the new strap pieces.
  • Reinsert the spring bars between the lugs. Since the spring bars expand once removed, they become wider than the space between the lugs. You will need compression to fit it back in place.
  • Ensure the spring bar ends are correctly aligned with the small holes in the lugs for a secure fit. It’s helpful to remember and visualize the position of the lug holes on the inside of the lugs. They won't be visible during installation.

Typically, the short end of the strap with the buckle is attached to the 12 o’clock (top) side of the watch case. The long end is attached to the 6 o’clock (bottom) side, positioning the buckle comfortably on the wrist and facilitating easy wear and removal.

However, strap ends can be attached according to user preference.

Caution: This step has a higher risk of losing a spring bar compared to step 2. The spring bar tool might slip off the spring bar during compression, or the spring bar might slip out from between the lugs.

  • You will now need to put a spring bar into one of the straps you want to replace it with. The spring bars need to be poked out equally from either side of the strap.
  • Try inserting one pointed end of the spring bar into a proper lug hole. The other pointed end of the spring bar needs to be on top of whatever lug is on the opposite.
  • By using the spring bar tool, make sure you compress the spring bar and then have it lowered into the inside of your lug with the aim being the lug hole.

You can move on to the next step if the spring bar does not snap right into the hole of the lug.

Step 5: Repeat!

Repeat the previous steps exactly but for the remaining pieces of strap you have. After all of the above steps have been completed, you can now use a soft cloth or a microfiber cloth to polish it and make sure it has no smudges or anything of the sort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Type Of Watch Strap Is The Most Comfortable?

In general, leather straps are considered to be the most comfortable watch straps. It has to be noted that genuine leather fits the bill the best when it comes to comfort.

Are Watch Straps Important?

Making sure that you have the right kind of strap attached to your watch is very crucial for a lot of things. This includes the overall look of the watch, the comfort factor, and the ability to withstand daily wear and tear.


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