WS 21 How to use a Spring Bar Fork tool

Removing a bracelet - Step 3: Squeezing and releasing the End Link's Spring Bar

Of course there should be a left hand in this picture holding the watch firmly when using the right hand to hold the spring bar fork and applying carefully pressure to the end link's spring bar. My left hand was on the release button of the camera, that is the only reason for it missing in the picture below.
Also be careful not to use the thin fork as a prey bar by resting it on the lug. You do not want to leave marks! A good position of the spring bar fork is almost perpendicular to the spring bar if that opening of the end links allows it. But most of the time you will have indeed to use a position depicted below by slightly tilting the fork to the outside and then squeezing the spring bar.
A good trick is then to use the little finger or ring finger of the left hand holding the watch case to apply some upward pressure to the end link or bracelet. If the end links are not to tightly fitted, releasing the spring bar on one end, might be sufficient to let you push the end link out of its position between the lugs.
Most end links are tightly fitted and require this procedure: squeeze the end link's spring bar on one side and apply a bit of upward pressure and then let the spring bar rest above the drilled hole inside the lugs. This will leave a small mark inside the lugs, but this is not avoidable when working on the watch alone. Then use the spring bar fork to release the opposite end of the spring bar and make sure you apply upward pressure on the end link while doing so. Now the end link and the bracelet can be lifted off the watch case.
With more experience you will notice that depending on the end link construction and shape of the lugs of the watch, pulling it away from the watch case rather then just lifting it upward is better. Just never try to go out on the dial side of the watch, since you do certainly not want to leave marks and dings and scratches on the front or visible part of the lugs.
Taking off end links from a watch case is really not that difficult, yet it requires some basic manual skills. If you are really inexperienced with manual work, then please put away your expensive new watch now and get a "training piece" from the flea market please. Or simply let your watchmaker do the change for you. However, this kind of basic watch work is a lot of fun and many times we watch crazy people want to change from a bracelet to a leather strap, the shops are closed. E.g. late at night when receiving an impulse from a fellow watch friend posted on a watch forum :)

Do the same work on the other side of the watch case and you are finished. The bracelet is now removed from the watch case. Maybe a last hint. As a right handed person I found it a lot easier always working with the lugs being on the right hand side. Thus to remove the bracelet on the other side of the watch case, simply turn the watch 180 degrees and then repeat the steps to release the end link spring bar.

And last but not least a word regarding replacing the spring bar of the deployant clasp. I hold the deployant clasp with my left hand. Then I will insert the clasp spring bar's lower end into the hole of the clasp. Using my right thumbnail, I simply squeeze the clasp spring bar until it slips into the clasp. Then make sure you hear that audible click that the clasp' spring bar is securely placed into its holes. I have created an additional page (last page if you click and read through) with some hints and tricks when re-attaching leather straps and bracelets, but of course I know you want to jump there immediately, that is why this link opens a new window with that new page.

Always pull on a bracelet with reasonable force to make sure that both end link spring bars and the clasp spring bar are securely fastened. Many watches fall of wrists and get damaged because this little test is omitted.

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