How To Replace Your Watch Strap (Step By Step Guide)
Do any of your watches have old or worn out straps? Or perhaps you just want to try out new styles and colours without spending lots of money on a brand-new watch.
Check out our new range of NATO Watch Straps.
The good news is, you don’t have to visit the watch dealer or the watch store and spend any extra money on a new watch. You only need to follow these simple steps to replace your watch strap, and you’re all set!
What You Need
Before you start, there are four things you need to be equipped with:
- A replacement watch strap
- A spring bar tool
- A Barrier, like a sheet of paper, to prevent any small parts from flying off and getting lost
- Microfiber cloth or any other soft pad
Make sure to find a soft, level surface like a soft pad or mouse pad to prevent the watch from being scratched, as well as to orient your watch easily.
The strap is made of two different pieces, the first one is shorter and has the buckle attached to the end of it, usually on the 12 o’clock side, and the second one is long with holes punched into it for the buckle, usually on the 6 o’clock side.
You need to put the watch face down on a soft pad with the strap unbuckled and the lugs pointing out to the sides. This makes it easy to reach the spring bars and the strap, and it also prevents scratches on the lens.
In the top (12 o’clock) and bottom (6 o’clock) ends of the watch case, there are two pairs of lugs, attached to which are two spring bars, each securing a strap piece to the watch case.
Keep in mind that any dirt or dust on the soft pad or cloth can scratch your watch, so make sure everything is clean.
Remove the watch from your wrist and lay it face-down on a clean soft pad or microfiber cloth, letting each strap piece lie on either side of your watch case.
2. Remove The Spring Bars
Now that everything is set up, it’s time to remove the strap. In this step, you’ll need to remove the spring bars in order to release the strap from the watch case.
Spring bars are spring-loaded, telescoping metal rods with double flanges on each end.
The spring bar ends are inserted into tiny holes in the watch case's lugs. A spring bar tool is a long tool with a thin, forked end that you use to compress the spring bars by pressing it against the flanges on the end of each spring bar, compressing the bar.
Remember that a spring bar is spring-loaded and can fly off the watch. Moreover, due to its small size, it can easily be lost.
To keep the spring bars from flying off the work surface, make sure you have a barrier in place behind the watch, like a folded piece of paper, any flat, wide desktop object, or even one of your fingers.
3. How To Remove The Strap
Here are some fast-action steps on removing the strap securely.
Step 1: Unbuckle
Unbuckle the strap if it’s buckled, then hold the watch case firmly in your non-dominant hand and let the pieces lie to the right and the left.
Step 2: Spring Bar Tool
Get your spring bar tool, and position one end of it between one of the lugs and one of the strap pieces, while holding it like a pencil in your dominant hand.
Once you’ve made sure that the fork end is secured on the spring bar’s flanges, gently compress the spring bar inwards towards the strap piece and out of the lug hole.
Step 3: Pull and Remove
Pull out the spring bar through the hole at the strap piece's end. Then, pull the other spring bar out, and remove the piece from between the lugs.
Repeat What You Did For The Other Strap Piece
Do the exact same thing you did on the first strap piece. Rotate your watch 180 degrees so that the remaining strap piece is aligned with the other one, then follow the same steps to remove the spring bars and strap piece.
Install the Replacement Strap
The spring bar tool can slip off the spring bar when it’s compressed. Due to this, the spring bar might slip out from between the lugs while inserting it and so you have a higher chance of losing a spring bar in this step.
Make sure the barrier of the spring bar is always ready for emergencies.
Step 1: Insert
Insert your spring bar into the strap piece you’re going to install. The ends of the spring bar should protrude equally on both sides of the strap.
Step 2: Lug Hole
Now that you’ve inserted the spring bar into the strap piece, place the spring bar’s protruding end into a lug hole, and let the other end rest on top of the opposite lug.
Step 3: Did You Hear The Click?
While aiming for the lug hole, compress the other end of the spring bar using the spring bar tool, and lower the end into the lug's interior. If you hear a click, that means the spring bar has snapped into the lug hole. In that case, skip step 4 and move on to the other strap piece.
If the spring bar doesn’t snap into place in the lug hole or fly off completely, it’ll be pushed against the inside of the lug. If this happens, continue with the next step.
Step 4: The Finish Line
Put the spring bar down and move the strap around carefully (along with the spring bar) trying to find the lug hole. If you hear a click, it means the spring bar end has snapped into the lug hole.
Install The Replacement Strap For the Other Strap Piece
Rotate your watch 180 degrees so that the other strap piece is aligned with the other one, then just do the same again with the other strap piece.
Once you’re done, pick up your watch and wipe any smudges off of the watch face using a soft cloth.
Replacing your watch band might not seem so easy to begin with, but with enough patience and precision, you can gain access to an unlimited variety of strap-case combinations.
Max Quick Release Watch Straps
Repeat the same process as above to remove the non-quick release spring bar. When installing the new quick release watch strap, there is no need to use a tool. Instead, use your finger nail to pull back the spring load and gently insert the spring into the lug hole.