How To Make A Watch Smaller?

A wristwatch is a timeless accessory that not only tells time but also adds a dash of style to any outfit. While watches are made for every wrist size, sometimes you might find your perfect timepiece a bit too large for your liking. This guide is designed to help you adjust your watch size for a comfortable fit.

Making a watch smaller generally refers to resizing the band for a snug fit around the wrist. This could be required in several scenarios such as weight loss, wrist shrinkage due to age, or simply because the watch was a gift and not sized accurately.

What Does Making a Watch Smaller Mean?

To put it simply, making a watch smaller involves adjusting the band size to fit the wearer’s wrist more comfortably.

This could mean removing links from a metal watch band, adding holes to a leather strap, or adjusting the buckle position on fabric or rubber straps.

While some might think making a watch smaller only applies when the band is too large, it can also refer to when the watch face appears oversized for the wrist.

Though this guide will focus primarily on adjusting band size, remember that personal comfort and style preferences play a large role in what constitutes the “right” size for your watch.

The Types of Watch Bands

There are several types of watch bands, each with its own resizing methods. They range from metal links often seen in classic wristwatches, to leather bands more common in vintage and luxury watches, and fabric straps usually found in casual or sports watches.

Knowing the type of band on your watch is crucial as it determines the tools and techniques required to make the watch smaller.

The Tools Needed to Make a Watch Smaller

Depending on the type of your watch band, you might need different tools to adjust its size. For metal bands, a watch link remover or a small hammer and pin could suffice.

Leather and fabric bands, on the other hand, may require a leather hole punch or a simple needle and thread. It’s important to ensure you have the right tools at hand before embarking on the resizing task.

How to Make a Metal Watch Band Smaller

Making a metal watch band smaller involves removing links to shorten the band’s length. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Identify the removable links: Not all links are removable in metal bands. Usually, the ones with arrows can be removed.
  2. Use the watch link remover: Align the pin of the tool with the link pin, then press or screw to push the pin out.
  3. Remove the required number of links: Always start by removing one link, try on the watch, and see if it fits. If it’s still too large, remove another link. Continue until you’re happy with the fit.
  4. Reattach the band: Once you’ve removed the necessary links, reconnect the band using the saved pins.

How to Make a Leather Watch Band Smaller

For a leather watch band, the process involves adding holes to the band. Here’s how:

  1. Identify the best spot for a new hole: Try on the watch and pull the strap to a comfortable tightness. Mark this spot for your new hole.
  2. Use a leather hole punch: Align the hole punch with your mark and press down to create a new hole.
  3. Try on the watch: Place the watch on your wrist and secure it with the new hole. If it still feels too loose, repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the fit.

How to Make a Fabric Watch Band Smaller

Fabric watch bands often come with adjustable buckles. Here’s how to adjust it for a better fit:

  1. Loosen the buckle: Slide it towards the end of the band, effectively making the attached part of the band shorter.
  1. Try on the watch: Wrap the band around your wrist and secure it with the buckle. Check the fit and comfort.
  2. Adjust again if necessary: If the watch is still too loose, continue sliding the buckle and trying on the watch until you’re happy with the fit.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Watch Smaller

When adjusting the size of your watch, there are several potential pitfalls to be aware of.

One common mistake is removing too many links from a metal band at once. Always start with one link, test the fit, and only then consider removing another. This methodical approach ensures you don’t accidentally over-shorten your band.

Another common error is not keeping the removed links and pins. If your wrist size changes in the future or if you decide to sell the watch, those links will be crucial. Always store them in a safe place.

Making Holes Too Close on Leather Bands

When adding holes to a leather band, avoid making them too close together. This can weaken the strap and cause it to tear over time. Always ensure adequate space between the holes.

Is It Better to Seek Professional Help?

While it’s possible to resize your watch at home, there are instances when seeking professional help is advised.

When to DIY: If you have a steady hand, the right tools, and the confidence to perform the task, go for it! Resizing a watch can be a satisfying DIY project.

When to Seek Professional Help: If you’re dealing with a high-end luxury watch, a vintage piece with sentimental value, or if you simply don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, it’s better to take your watch to a professional. While this may cost a bit more, you can rest easy knowing your precious timepiece is in safe hands.

How to Maintain the Adjusted Size of Your Watch

Once you’ve achieved the perfect fit, it’s important to maintain it.

  1. Store Properly: When not in use, store your watch in a cool, dry place to prevent materials from expanding or contracting.
  2. Avoid Extremes: Drastic temperature changes can cause watch materials to shrink or expand. Try to avoid extreme temperatures where possible.
  3. Regular Checks: Regularly check the fit of your watch and make minor adjustments as necessary to ensure it stays comfortable.


Adjusting the size of your watch for a perfect fit can greatly enhance your comfort and the longevity of your timepiece. Whether it’s a metal, leather, or fabric band, a few simple tweaks can make a big difference. Remember, if you’re in doubt, it’s always best to consult a professional.

Sherry's editorial journey seamlessly merges with her passion for horology at WatchReflect. As a seasoned editor and watch enthusiast, she curates insightful guides that cater to novices and connoisseurs alike. With a penchant for research and a flair for storytelling, Sherry transforms horological complexities into engaging narratives. Her mission is to illuminate the path for those navigating the multifaceted realm of timekeeping.

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