WS 15: HOW TO remove split pins with a bracelet sizing tool

Tools required:

This tool is now for sale on PMWC! Click here...
An Asia Made equivalent to the A&F tool that has saved me so much headache resizing split pin bracelets

Prerequisites (Knowledge):

If you are not familiar with split pin bracelets, then I urge you to read this article first: How to resize the most common bracelets

How to use this Tool - A pictorial with explanatory text below each picture!
(Pictorial shows the smaller resizing tool only)

Most split pin bracelets will have ARROWS on the under-side of the bracelet, then you know that there are split pins. If there are no arrows, take a loupe and check the holes carefully. If one side is a solid rounded head and one side has a slot, then you most likely have a split pin bracelet. Screwed bracelet pins often have slots on both sides as they often consist of two parts. This tool is not suitable for screwed pins!

Step 1: Remove the spring bar from the 12 o'clock end of the deployant clasp. It is a lot easier to work with open bracelets!

Basic Rule for split pin bracelets
OUT: Press on the non-split end in ARROW direction
IN: Push the non-split head into the bracelet against ARROW direction

Step 2: Decide on how many links you want to remove from the 6 o'clock bracelet side (the inner side of the wrist) and now many to remove from the 12 o'clock side of the bracelet (the outer wrist). I always prefer to have less links on the 6 o'clock side because this balances the deployant clasp a lot better on the under-side of the wrist. Samples of resized watches follow below. Turn the wheel clockwise and the spindle and its tip will softly push out the pin. Watch the ARROW direction on the inside of the bracelet! Position trick: Open the spindle until the bracelet fits in. Look for the pin hole and pull the bracelet towards the tip and make sure the tip is in the hole. Only then start turning the wheel clockwise. This is a lot easier then placing the bracelet left most and then turning the wheel and trying to hit the pin in the hole.

Step 3: The pin is already pushed out. Please always watch the spindle! Note that the split pin is not fully out yet. Do not turn the spindle further in as you do not want the shoulder of the tip to touch the bracelet at all. In most cases you can now pull the pin out with the thumb and index. Before you do that, you turn the wheel counterclock-wise until the pin is out of the pin hole.

Step 4: Some times the end of the pin is stuck in the pin hole, this is not a bad sign, because it also means the pin will not fall out. Use a pair of pliers with smooth jaws. Do not close the pliers too hard, you do not want to squeeze the split pin unnecessarily.

Repeat Steps 2 to 4 until you have removed all the links to fit the bracelet for your wrist. If you do not have a flexible ruler to measure your wrist, simply cut a stripe of paper and wrap it around your wrist and mark where the end meets. This makes an easy template to figure whether the bracelet has the right length. Please do not forget to include the closed deployant clasp in your measurement!

Re-insert the split pins
Normally the pins can be re-inserted quite easily using a simple plastic lighter, the thumbnail or any non-sharp item (you do not want to scratch the bracelet now when slipping after having successfully shortened it. I like to work with items that are easily found, also while traveling:

Step 5a: Hold the bracelet like in the picture above, press it against a lighter or a plastic part against the arrow direction until it is pushed fully back into the hole and aligns with the bracelet.

Note: Most watchmakers (maybe I should say "mall watch repair personnel") place the bracelet into a bracelet holder and then hammer the pin back in with a small watchmaker hammer. I really prefer this method above, since one wrong hit with the watchmaker hammer and you got a really nice ding in the bracelet. Also to fully recess the pin back into the bracelet, I prefer Step 6 (below) instead of simply hammering the pin back in.

Step 5b: This tool does a really great job pushing split pins back in as well if the pins happen to be a bit too thick or are not easy to re-insert. Make sure that the tip of the tool is exactly aligned with the split end of the split pin and push the pin back in against ARROW direction. In this picture you see the upper side of the bracelet, thus you can not see the ARROW on the inside of the bracelet

Step 6 - fully recessing the pin: Sink the split pin into the pin hole exactly like the pins in the neighboring holes. This way the bracelet looks best from the side. I prefer to hold the bracelet with the left hand while operating the wheel. If the pins are tight, the bracelet might move upward. With this grip you have more control.

Step 7: Push the springbar back into the deployant clasp. I prefer this method. Ladies will of course scream that their thumbnails will crack and run away. If you have healthy nails and are not in the advertising business for cuticle creams, I think you will find this method good too. The thumbnails are reasonably soft and you will not scratch the deployant clasp.

Step 8: You are done! My wrist is only 6.5 inches, that is why there are only 5 + 5 links left on this Sandoz Quartz Explorer from my private collection. This watch is also for sale on PMWC

Some more examples of resized bracelets

On this Sandoz 37.5 mm I prefered the link configuration 4 + 6 since the deployant clasp is slightly longer then on the Quartz Explorer-like

On this Omega Aqua Terra, I prefered 6.5 links at 6 and 9 links at 12 o'clock. Otherwise the integrated clasp would not have been centered on the under-side of my wrist.

The good news is, that with this tool, resizing is so easy, you can simply experiment and find out how many links you will need on the 6 o'clock and on the 12 o'clock side of the bracelet. Now all that remains is to wish you the best of luck!

Reto Castellazzi, Bangkok, June 29th 2004