How to Size a Bracelet by Extropian

How to size a bracelet
Metal bracelet
Watch bracelet
Mesh bracelet
Bracelet with screws
Expansion bracelet
How to Size a Bracelet by Extropian

When you buy a new watch with a metal bracelet, it’s unlikely to fit perfectly straight out of the box. You’ll probably find it needs a little bit of adjusting to sit neatly on your lovely wrist. Fortunately this is something you can easily do at home with just some basic equipment and a little bit of practice!

What does it involve?

Most metal watch bracelets, such as the Oyster or Jubilee, are made up of a series of links held together by either screws or pins. These need to be removed so that you can take out a link, re-join the ends of the bracelet, and then replace the screws (or pins). 

What you will need

  1. A clean, flat workspace, preferably with some kind of protective cloth laid down to protect the watch
  2. A watch bracelet holder
  3. A good quality screwdriver and some tweezers (If you’re dealing with screws)

OR, if you’re removing pins:

  1. A push-pin tool
  2. A small ball-peen hammer

Find out how many links have to be removed

Before beginning, establish how many links need to be removed. To do this, position the watch where you want to wear it. Then, gather up the slack and count how many excess links there are.

You should try to keep the clasp centred on the bracelet, so you’ll need to remove an equal number of links from each side (ie; if you need to remove two links overall, remove one from each side of the clasp).

It’s a bit finicky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s quite simple. Honest!

Adjusting a bracelet with screws

This is probably the most straightforward method and can be done quite quickly.

  1. Place the bracelet in the holder, with the screw hole facing upwards.
  2. Insert the screwdriver into the groove of the screw and turn it counterclockwise until you can feel that the screw is loose.
  3. Remove the screw with tweezers after which the links will come apart.
  4. Repeat this process to remove the necessary number of links.
  5. After removing the links, rejoin the separate ends of the bracelet and re-insert the screw so it’s holding them together.
  6. Insert the screwdriver into the groove of the screw and turn clockwise until it’s tight.
  7. Repeat this process on the other side of the clasp.

One final tip: Screws can work loose over time via the everyday motion of your wrist, and (worst case scenario) may eventually fall out of the link completely. So if you want to avoid your watch falling off at an unexpected moment, add a few drops of low strength threadlocker (such as Loctite 222) to the screws when you screw them back in. This will hold them firmly in place, but still allow you to remove them if necessary.

Adjusting a pin & collar bracelet

OK, this is slightly more complicated!

On the back of the bracelet, you’ll see small arrows on some of the links. These indicate which links can be removed and which way the pin should come out (links without arrows should not be removed!).

  1. Place the bracelet in the holder so the arrows are pointing downwards.
  2. Place the point of the push-pin tool on the pin and lightly tap with the hammer until you can pull the pin out at the other end.
  3. Remove the link.

After removing the necessary number of links, rejoin the ends of the bracelet.

  1. Insert one of the pins into the pinhole through the side from which it was removed.
  2. Place the bracelet back in the holder and gently tap the pin back into place.
  3. Repeat the process on the other side of the clasp until the bracelet is the right size and the  clasp is centred.

On some bracelets the links are held in place at either end with two small metal tubes called collars. These may fall out when removing the pins, so they’ll have to be replaced when you put the pins back.

So, yes, a bit tricky, but maybe worth the extra effort as pins are less likely to work loose than screws. And we bet you’ll be pleased with yourself when you’ve mastered the technique!

Adjusting a Milanese/Mesh bracelet

Adjusting a mesh bracelet is a lot easier and quicker than the previous two methods! 

  1. Look for a small gap on the plate inside the clasp.
  2. Insert a small screwdriver into the gap and push down so the plate lifts up, releasing the clasp.
  3. Slide the clasp up or down until it’s in the desired position.
  4. Finally, make sure the groove on the back of the clasp is lined up with the groove on the watch strap and then close the plate to lock the clasp in place.


And that’s all there is to it!  The main thing to remember is to always take care when removing links, as you don’t want to scratch the bracelet! But, if you’re a little bit unsure about anything it’s probably best to put it in the hands of a professional.

Created the 2023-05-12

Modified the 2024-03-15

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