You don't need to buy special tools to remove a watch band link and make your watch fit!

I have small wrists, and that means just about every watch I buy is too big. That isn't a major problem with leather-banded watches (I can just punch a hole if I need a smaller band). Recently, however, I bought a metal-banded watch online, only to find I couldn't wear it without it banging around and driving me nuts (short trip!). I looked at some “how to remove watch band links” videos, but they all required jeweler’s tools, which I don't have. Unwilling to spend more money to use something I already owned, I figured out how to fix my watch using simple household items. Here's how. 

You Will Need 

  • Paperback book or magazine with matte pages 

  • Sewing machine needle you're willing to sacrifice for the cause 

  • Tin-snips or heavy-duty wire cutters 

  • Rubber-headed mallet 

  • Needle-nose pliers 

  • Sewing stick-pin or small paperclip 

  • Heat tape or duct tape 

  • Scissors 

  • Goo Gone (if using duct tape) 

  • Cotton ball (if using duct tape) 

  • Soft cloth (if your watch is made of a metal prone to tarnishing) 

Prepare Your Watch 

Open your book to the first page and put your watch on it. You'll need to place the watch on it's side with the "point" side of the pins up. If you think of the pins as nails, you want the "pointed" side up, not the "head" side. You can tell by the fact that the "pointy" side looks like the pins are deeper set than the "head" side. The pages of the book will provide friction, which will help stabilize the watch as you work. 

Make sure the watch link you want to remove is lined up with its neighbors. Kinks in the watch will not allow you to remove the pin cleanly. 

Cut two small, thin strips of your tape and place them on the top and bottom of the links so that the tape connects at least two links (the top being the side you'd see when you're wearing the watch, the bottom being the side that would be touching your skin -- these are the "wider" sides of the watch). This will help hold your watch aligned so it doesn't slip. 

Prepare Your Tools 

Using your tin-sips, cut the point off your sewing needle so that it has a flat tip. If you don't, the point may break off while you work, and could fly into your eyes. 

Remove the Watch Pins and Remove the Extra Links 

Next, place the flat tip of your sewing needle on top of one of the end of the pin you want to remove. Give the sewing needle a few gentle taps with a rubber-headed mallet. Pick up the watch and look at the other side; you should see part of the watch pin sticking out. 

Using your needle-nose pliers, gently pull the pin all the way out of the watch and set it aside. Don't lose it, you'll need it later. 

Remove the duct tape and reposition it to remove another pin. Repeat the preceding steps until you have removed the number of links you want. 

Once you have removed all the links you want, line up the ends of the remaining links and apply the duct tape to keep them aligned. Stick your sewing stick-pin through the holes to check if everything this lined up properly; if it is, you should be able to get the pin all the way through all the holes. Remove the sewing pin and put it aside. 

Replace One of the Pins to Put the Watch Back Together 

Flip the watch over so the "head" side of the watch pins is up. Take one of the watch pins you removed and slide it into the holes you just checked. Place the tip of the sewing needle on the pin and tap it gently with your mallet; the goal is to drive the pin back into the links. 

Clean Up 

Once you have the watch pin in position, remove the duct tape and put a drop of Goo Gone on your cotton ball. Gently swab your watch to remove any sticky stuff left by the tape. Rinse the links under running water (being careful not to get water on the watch face) to remove excess Goo Gone. Allow the watch to dry. For silver or other metals prone to tarnish, polish with a soft cloth to remove moisture and prevent the metal from tarnishing.