How to Adjust a Metal Watch Band with Cotter Pins
Jewelers can make these types of adjustments quickly and the cost isn’t much. But if you’re the type of person who would rather do it yourself, you’ll be happy to learn that adjusting metal watch straps isn’t difficult.
However, it does require a few tools and the tools you’ll need depend on the type of metal watch band you’re working with.
Adjusting Nixon Metal Watch Bands
The Nixon Customer Service team is happy to help adjust metal watch bands you buy from us online. However, this will require you to wait for us to turn it around.
To begin your request, visit the Nixon Customer Service page on our website.
If you decide to adjust the band on your own, keep in mind that damaging your watch band could void your warranty.
So, steady those hands and be cautious when adjusting your metal watch band or simply leave it to a professional.
How to Resize Metal Watch Bands with Cotter Pins
If your metal watch band uses pins (called “cotter pins”), you’ll need several different tools to get the job done.
Here’s everything you’ll need to resize this type of metal band:
- Push pin tool, ideally .8mm diameter (something with a fine but not sharp tip)
- Sizing block/band holder (imagine a perfectly sized and padded vice grip)
- Needle nosed pliers (you know, they ones with the tiny ends)
- Small hobby hammer (basically a small hammer for precision tapping)
Non-abrasive cloth (like a micro-fiber or soft case for sunglasses)
Once you have these tools together, you’re ready to get started.
Nixon provides extra links for free with watch purchases that can be used to make this type of metal watch band larger. Sometimes these fall to the bottom of the box, so check under the foam insert if you can’t find it right away.
Note that for more traditional stainless steel bands, the micro adjuster on the clasp should be the first go to before removing links! And that when it comes to the Nixon 51-30, you will need a special tool to make the strap adjustment.
Follow this step-by-step guide to get your fit right.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Removing Links with a Push Pin Tool and Band Holder:
Pinch band on your wrist: Put your watch on your wrist and pinch the links to the tightness you want your watch.
Identify links to remove: As you pinch the watch band, count how many links are in the pinched section. That is the amount of links you’ll want to remove from the band to resize it.
Look for arrows on the links: Many times, metal watch bands will have arrows on the backside of the links. These arrows mark the direction that the pins need to be removed. You’ll be pushing the pin out in the same direction the arrows point.
NOTE: If you're having difficulty locating which end of the pin to remove, find the side of the pin that has the split down the middle.
Position watch band in band holder: In order to do this like a pro, you will put the watch band into a watch band holder with the arrows on the back of the links pointing down. The link you want to remove should have its pin lined up with the hole in the band holder.
Remove pins: Hold your pin pusher tool against the pin of the link that needs removed. Using the flat side of your hammer, gently begin tapping down on your pin pusher to begin removing the pin. Once you can’t push the pin any further, remove the band from the band holder. The cotter pin might just fall out. If it doesn’t, use your pliers to gently pull it out. Set the pin aside and repeat this process for each link that needs removed.
Reassemble the watch band: Once you’ve removed the links that need taken out, it’s time to put the metal watch strap back together. Put the two ends together and push the pin into the hole. Using the hammer, gently hit the pin into the link until it is fully pushed in.
NOTE: A pointed punch tool may be helpful for driving the link pins back into position (place the point on top of split end and gently drive pin into band).
- Check the fit: Finally, put your watch back on your wrist and check the fit. If links need to be replaced or more removed, repeat the above process.
You can also use a special "watch link removal tool" to resize your metal watch band that uses cotter pins.
Watch this video to see how to use the watch link removal tool for cotter pin watch bands.
Looking for a replacement watch band? Check out our selection of replacement Nixon watch straps here!