Sizing a Bulova Watch Bracelet or Strap

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When buying a watch with a metal bracelet or expansion strap you may find that the strap needs to be adjusted for the correct fit, you may have to take a link out. This is often referred to as 'sizing a watch', 'sizing the bracelet' or just 'watch sizing'. As this 'sizing' can only be performed with the owner being present, we supply these styles of watches unsized and so you may need to visit a local jeweler to request this service. We can do it for you if you tell us the size of your wrist in inches. If you want to make the watch strap adjustment yourself then please read the following watch bracelet adjustment instructions.

The following watch bracelet instructions and diagrams will guide you in how to remove links from a watch band. These instructions cover most of the wristwatch bands in use today including the friction clasp bracelet, expansion bracelet, fold over clasp, bayonette-type bracelet and 'Capsa' style pin and tube. Be careful not to scratch or damage the watch. You will not be able to return any watches that have been altered or sized in any way so please make sure that you intend to keep your purchase before proceeding. It is also a good idea to keep any links you remove just in case you need them again at a later date. (Commonly used Bracelet Sizing Tools)

Purchase Link Pin Removal Pliers


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Bulova E-Z Link (Diagram)

How to remove links in a bayonette-type watch bracelet. (Diagram)
In this type of bracelet construction, the adjustable links slide into each other from the side. The screws act as a retainer to hold the links together. Using the correct sized screwdriver, turn the screw counterclockwise until it is free. Remove the screw and slide the link out sideways. To reassemble, reverse the procedure.

How to remove links in a tongue and groove watch bracelet. (Diagram)
As in the bayonette type of watch bracelet link, the adjustable links slide into each other from the side. The retaining screws, however, are on the underside of the bracelet. Again, using the correct sized screwdriver, turn the screw counterclockwise until it is free. Remove the screw and slide the bracelet link out sideways. To reassemble, reverse the procedure. NOTE: When reassembling the watch bracelet, carefully check the bracelet link alignment to be certain that the screw hole is clear.

How to remove links in a single-screw watch bracelet. (Diagram)
To size watch bracelets with this construction, simply remove the screws in the side holding the bracelet links. However, there are two important points to remember:

  • Always use a properly fitting screwdriver.
  • A stubborn screw can often be loosened by first tightening the screw slightly.

How to adjust watch bracelet with twin-screw links. (Diagram)
Some Bulova/Caravelle styles use a twin-screw set to hold the links for sizing. Since these screws turn together, it is necessary to use two screwdrivers to remove the screws. One procedure which can be used is as follows:

  • Wrap the bracelet with a protective material such as masking tape and secure it in a vise.
  • Using two properly fitting screwdrivers, hold one screwdriver steady while turning the other counterclockwise.

How to adjust a fold-over clasp. (Diagram)
This type of clasp is primarily adjusted by moving the spring bar to one of several holes in the clasp cover itself. Additional adjustment can usually be performed on the bracelet via screws or pins as described elsewhere in these instructions. Remove the spring bar by depressing one end using a pin pusher, a small diameter metal stem with a flattened end (a paper clip will do fine). Reinstall by placing one end of the spring bar in the desired hole, then depress the upper end and seat the hole oppostore.

Sizing expansion bracelets. (Diagram)
For this type of bracelet the links can be removed anywhere along the length of the bracelet:

  • Measure the band. (A good method is to attach one end to the case and wrap the band around your wrist. Count the overlap and add one. This determines the number of links to be removed)
  • Lay the bracelet on a work surface face down, bend down the top edge flaps of the section to be removed.
  • Turn over the bracelet and open the bottom edge flaps immediately to the left of the top flaps previously opened.
  • Slide the section to be removed sideways. The staples holding the links together will disengage.
  • Reassemble the bracelet. Engage the staples on both sides simultaneously. Close all the flaps.

How to remove links in bracelets with pins or clips. (Diagram)

Links held with pins.
Some bracelets use friction pins (there are no well defined screwdriver slots) to hold the links for sizing the bracelet. There are two basic types of pins, either straight pins or split pins. The direction to push is usually shown by an arrow on the bracelet underside. Always remove and install split pins head first in the direction indicated by the arrows. To remove these pins, a pin pushing tool is used which can be made from a watch screwdriver by grinding the tip flat. However, for this particular tool, it is far easier to have the correct watch maker's link pin removal pliers which we would be happy to supply.

To size, first try pushing the pins out by hand. If this doesn't work then put the bracelet on a work surface on top of a block of hard wood with a small hole drilled in it, slightly bigger than the pin to be removed. Using masking tape to protect the strap, position the pin over the hole and tap the pin out from the top with the pin pusher.

How to remove links in a 'Capsa' style pin and tube bracelet. (Diagram)
This style of bracelet incorporates a hollow tube as an anchor to secure the pins connecting the links. There are two basic types of 'Capsa' style links, each connected in a slightly different way.

To remove the first type of 'Capsa' style link, using the pin pusher (Purchase Link Pin Removal Pliers), remove the pin securing the link and pull the pin completely out of the bracelet link. Take care not to lose the tubing when disassembling the links. To reassemble the links, insert the tube, assemble the links and then insert the pin.

To adjust the other type of 'Capsa' style link bracelet (Diagram) , locate the angled recess on the backside of the bracelet. Using a suitable screwdriver blade, force the blade into the recess. Twist the blade to pry off the cap and then continue to use pressure to completely remove the cap from the tube. Remove the tube and disassemble the required links. After reassembling the links, push the caps into the tubes.

Clip-shaped pins. (Diagram)
This type of friction clip is generally found on watches with fold over (three part) clasps, the double deployment folding clasp. To remove links, using a pin pusher (Purchase Link Pin Removal Pliers), fine needlenose pliers or a screwdriver, insert the tool into the hole or open space of the clip and push out the clip. After sizing, when reassembling the links, be certain to push the clip fully back into the link.

'Sliding clip' type removable links. (Diagram)
Removable links for these bracelets use a sliding clip or lock to hold the links together. To remove these links, on the backside of the bracelet, lift the tab (which has a small depression in the center) with a small screwdriver and slide the lower section in the direction of the arrow. The links can now be separated. To reassemble, reverse the procedure.

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