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How do I change a strap?
Our members will receive a variety of straps in their monthly subscription. Since the type of strap isn’t guaranteed, we find that a lot of our members change their straps to add their own personal touch to their watch.
One of our amazing members, Josh Donnelly, made this video on how he changes his straps:
Before you get started, you will need to pick up a few specialized tools. You can find these in our Member Store.
- Replacement strap
- Spring bar tool
- Microfiber cloth or other soft pad
Step 1: Setting Up the Changing Station
You’ll need to find a sturdy level surface to ensure that the workspace is stable. Lay your microfiber cloth or softpad out so that the watch is not damaged, and orienting the watch for easy access to the strap and spring bars.
Pro Tip: Make sure the cloth and work area is clean. You don’t want to inadvertently scratch your watch.
The strap consists of two pieces: a short piece that is attached to the buckle and a long piece which is punched with holes for the buckle.
- Place the watch face-down and unbuckled with the strap pieces lying to the sides of the watch case on the cloth or soft pad.
Two pairs of lugs extend out from the case of the watch at 12 o’clock (top) and 6 o’clock (bottom) and have small holes on the inside to hold the spring bars. The two strap pieces are held onto the watch case by two spring bars.
Step 2: Remove the Strap
Removing the strap involves removing the spring bars, which releases the strap pieces from the watch case with your Spring bar tool. A spring bar is a spring-loaded metal rod with double-flanges on each end. The spring bar ends fit into small holes inside a pair of lugs on the watch case.
Pro Tip: Spring bars are spring loaded and may fly off the watch. Due to their small size, they are easy to lose. Use a wide and flat desktop object, like a coffee table book, or perhaps one of your fingers behind the watch to prevent spring bars from flying off the work surface.
- With the strap unbuckled and the pieces lying to the left and right of the watch case, firmly grip the watch case with your non-dominant hand.
- Holding the spring bar tool with your dominant hand like a pencil, position the fork end of the spring bar tool between one side of one of the strap pieces and the lug. Make sure that the fork end has purchase on the flanges of the spring bar end. Gently pry one end of the spring bar out of its lug hole and move it out from between the lugs. The strap piece will now be free from the watch case.
- Pull the spring bar out through the hole in the end of the strap piece.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 for the Other Side
Rotate the watch 180 degrees so that the remaining strap piece is in the same orientation as the one before. Repeat step 2.
Step 4: Installing the New Strap
Installing the new strap involves putting the spring bars into the replacement strap pieces and reinstall the spring bars between the lugs. Since the spring bars expand when removed, they are wider than the width between the inside of the lugs. This step requires the spring bar to be compressed again in order to fit back between the lugs. The spring bar ends will then need to be placed into the small holes in the lugs to be completely installed.
Pro Tip: Make sure your spring bar barrier is in place and be patient. If you’re not careful, you can easily lose a spring bar in this step if you try to rush it. Insert a spring bar into one of the replacement strap pieces. The spring bars ought to protrude equally from both sides of the strap.
- With the spring bar inserted into the replacement strap piece, loosely insert one protruding end of the spring bar into one of the lug holes and rest the other protruding end of the spring bar on top of the opposite lug.
- Using the spring bar tool, compress the spring bar and lower the end into the inside of the lug, aiming for the lug hole. If the spring bar does not snap into the lug hole, proceed to the next step.
- If the spring bar does snap into the lug hole, skip the next step and go to Step 5. If the spring bar did not snap into the lug hole and did not fly off, it is pressed against the inside of the lug. Put down the spring bar and carefully move the strap around (which moves the spring bar with it) to try to “find” the lug hole. Listen for a click that signals that the spring bar end has snapped into the lug hole.
Step 5: Repeat Step 4 for the Other Strap Piece
Rotate the watch 180 degrees so that the remaining strap piece will be in the same orientation during installation as the last one. Repeat step 4.
Step 6: The End
Finally, pick up the watch with the newly installed strap and, using a microfiber cloth or other soft cloth, wipe away any smudges that have gathered on the watch face.
Pro Tip: If you don’t trust yourself completing these steps, just take the watch to your local jeweler. It won’t cost much.
We've found this short video super helpful on how to change a watch strap.