A Step-by-step Guide on How to Replace Leather Watch Band
There are two main reasons why you may decide to replace your leather watch band. It may be due to:
- Worn out leather watch bands
- You want the watch to have a new look
In this article, I am going to show you how to replace a leather watch band. It is a simple process that should take less than 30 minutes to accomplish.
A wood watch with a leather strap
Here is what you should do:
Get Tools & Accessories for Replacing the Leather Watch Strap
First, you must have all tools and accessories you will need to replace the watch band successfully. For the scope of this article, I will focus on the basic tools you need.
These tools include:
· Spring Bar Tool
You will use this tool to remove the spring bars. The spring bars are small bars that hold the watch strap in place.
As you can see from the image below, the spring bar tools come in a range of sizes and shapes. There are those that come with extra tips. You can replace depending on the type of watch band.
Spring bar tool – Photo credit: Vastar
As you can see from the above example, they also have anti-skid sections.
· Measuring Equipment
You can use a ruler or a vernier caliper. Use this equipment to measure the size and length of the watch strap.
· A Soft Cloth
This can be any piece of cloth where you will place the watch as you change a watch band. A towel can be a perfect alternative.
· Parts Tray
You need to put all parts in a central place. You will use a parts tray – just improvise one for this purpose.
With all these in place, you can begin to replace your leather watch band.
Get the Right Replacement Watch Strap
With tools ready, it is now time to get the best watch strap. You can either replace it with the same design that was there initially or get a new design.
A genuine leather strap
In case the leather band does not come with a watch strap buckle, you will have to fix it. I will show you how to go about that shortly.
Watch strap buckles
For now, let’s review another important aspect of leather watch straps:
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Leather Watch Band
By choosing the right strap for replacement, you will automatically give the watch a new look and style. Below are a few aspects you should consider when choosing a new leather watch band for replacement:
Watch band width and length; in most cases, the strap manufacturers will indicate the leather watch width and length. In case this information is not available, you can use the measurement equipment to determine the correct length and width.
You can measure the distance between the arms of your watch to get the correct size.
The length of the new watch band should fit your wrist. More importantly, the holes on the watch band should fit your hand.
Aesthetic value; this refers to the shape, design, and color of the watch band strap. You are at liberty to choose any of your choices.
Type of leather; you can choose either a faux leather or leather watch band. In most cases, faux leather tends to wear out faster; nonetheless, they are soft and flexible.
In short, there are many leather watch bands in the market, just choose the one you are comfortable with.
Now, let’s proceed to the next stage:
Start Replacing the Leather Watch Strap
Below are simple steps you need to follow to change a watch band successfully:
Remove the Old Leather Watch Band
First, before you begin to replace the leather watch band, it is important to prepare the working area. Choose a flat surface – maybe a flat table can do.
Spread the soft piece of cloth on the table. I always recommend a white cloth or towel.
Second, assess the watchband buckle. In most cases, the new watch band will come with a new buckle already fixed.
Still, you have two scenarios:
- In case you don’t like the watch band buckle, the best option will be to replace it
- The new leather watch band does not have a buckle so you have to fix one.
Let’s see how to replace a leather watch band buckle:
Step 1: Know the Kind of Leather Watch Buckle You Want to Remove
Generally, there are two types of watch band buckles. There is one with holes on both sides of the buckle whereas others don’t have such holes.
I will explain how to go about each case.
Case 1: Watch buckles with holes on the side
Place the strap on the piece of cloth on its side. By doing so, you will have full access to the hole on one of its sides
With the buckle in this position, insert the spring bar tool, then press it down. Do this until the spring bar pops out of its hole.
Removing watch buckle – Photo credit: Watch Material
Apply a small force on the strap (pull it) and you will eventually remove the buckle.
Case 2: For buckles without holes on their sides
Now, place your watch on the soft cloth with the crystal facing down. That is, you will work from the back end of the watch.
While in this position, hold the strap on the soft piece of cloth.
Insert the fork end of the spring bar tool between the buckle and the watch leather band. Once the tool is holding the shoulder of the spring bar, apply pressure towards the leather strap and away from the buckle.
Removing watch buckle – Photo credits: URREMMEN
As you do this, apply a little pressure downwards. This way, you will eventually remove the spring bar holding the buckle in place.
Step 2: Now Remove the Watch Buckle, Spring Bar, and Tongue
You can remove the buckle followed by the spring bar and then the tongue. So, by accomplishing step 1, the buckle will be detached from the leather strap.
All that remains is the spring bar and the tongue. Now push the spring bar from one end and then pull it from the opposite end.
By the end of this process, you shall have removed the leather watch buckle from the old watch.
NOTE: The procedure applies when removing a watch band from either the old or new leather watch strap.
Step 3: Replace the Watch Buckle
Place the new watch strap on the soft cloth on one of its sides. Insert the spring bar in the new strap and then push it to a point when it is almost halfway.
Then insert the tongue of the watch buckle. The tongue should be such that the curved section faces up (assuming the section of the strap that will rest on your arm is facing up).
Now push the rest of the spring bar to hold the tongue in place.
Next, while still holding the watch strap in the same position, insert the buckle, then use the spring bar tool to push it slowly in place. In most cases, you will hear a click sound – a confirmation that the buckle is in place.
Carefully remove the spring bar and turn the leather watch buckle left and right to ensure it is in position.
With all these in place, you can go ahead to remove the old leather watch band and replace it with a new one.
Now let us remove the old leather watch band:
Step 1: Put the Watch in the Right Position
First, the aim here is to ensure that we work from the back end of the watch. By doing so, in case of any scratches, they should be on this section that no one can see.
Put the watch on the working bench with the crystal on the soft cloth.
The soft cloth will ensure the crystal of your watch remains free from any form of scratches. Even when you apply a lightly high force at the back of the watch, the crystal will still remain safe.
Go ahead to get the right spring bar tool.
Step 2: Now Compress and Release the Spring Bar to Remove the Leather Watch Band
One hand should hold the watch down in position. You should hold the two opposite ends.
At the same time, the other hand should hold the spring bar tool.
Slowly insert the watch band removal tool between the shoulder of the spring bar and the case of the watch.
You need to be cautious when handling your best wood watch so that you don’t cause any possible chipping of the wood.
Once the spring bar tool is in position, now apply pressure towards the leather watch band and away from the watch casing.
As do you this, apply slight pressure downwards. By doing so, you will remove the leather watch strap.
Turn the watch and repeat the same procedure to the other strap.
By doing so, you shall have removed all the two leather watch straps from your watch.
Here is a summary of the process:
Removing a leather watch band – Photo credits: URREMMEN
As you can see, this is a simple process. It is now time to replace the leather watch and with a new one.
Replace the Old Leather Watch Band with a New One
While holding the new leather watch bands, insert the spring bars and push them through. You can use a flat material to push the spring bar through the watch band.
It should be such that the spring bar protrudes from the two ends of the strap.
Once you ensure the spring bars are visible on the two ends of the strap, it is now time to replace the watch bands.
At this point, you should pay attention to the following:
- The watch is on the working bench with the crystal facing down. You should also insert the strap such that the section that will be in direct contact with your hand faces up.
- Pay attention to the short side of the leather watch strap. That is the one with the buckle. You should attach this side of the strap to the 12 O’clock side of the watch.
You can always turn the watch over just to be sure that the watch strap with the buckle is connected to the right side of the watch.
Now, you can insert one of the springs to the hole on the watch casing. Then use the tool to compress the spring bar, while pushing gently into the right position.
Push it gently until it clicks into the hole. Once you fix the leather strap, try to pull it gently, while turning it left and right to ensure it is in position.
Next turn the watch gently, place one of the spring bars into position. Then use the spring bar to push it gently until you hear a click sound.
Again, pull gently, turning it left and right to ensure it fits properly.
Now lift your watch and try to pull both sides of the leather watch band just to confirm that they are fixed properly. This is to ensure that the watch does not fall off from your arm.
This now marks the end of how to replace a leather watch band.
Before concluding this guide, I want to have a quick overview of a critical aspect of leather watch straps.
How to Maintain a Leather Watch Strap after Replacement
Depending on the brand or design of the metal or wood watch, the leather straps can be very expensive. Therefore, it is important to take good care of the leather watch straps to avoid instances of buying a new one soon.
Here are a few things you must do:
- Do not sleep with the watch on your wrist. You may damage the spring bars while turning.
- Never bathe with your watch. I know there are some leather watch straps that are “water resistant”. However, when you constantly expose them to excess moisture they tend to weaken.
- The leather watch is exposed to stains of all sorts. Therefore, you should form the habit of cleaning it regularly. Don’t wash the leather watch band directly in water, you can use a soft cloth to wipe or rub both sides.
- Do not overstretch your leather watch strap. You will not only break the spring bars but also damage the leather.
- In case you have to make holes on the leather strap, use appropriate tools.
With all these in mind, I am sure your leather watch straps will serve you for years.
I want you to remember that the cleaning detergent may vary depending on the type of leather material. They type of leather will not only determine the cleaning procedure but also the price.
In summary, replacing a leather watch band is a simple and straightforward process. All you need is the appropriate leather watch band removal tools.