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How to change a watch band from the comfort of your home

How to change a watch band

Hello, watch owners!

Today, we're here to show you how to change your watch band. Because the truth is, once you change your watch strap it can change the entire look of your watch. And that's what we want you to take advantage of. Especially from the comfort of your own home. You can simply buy cheap straps and continuously change the look of one luxury watch. Now that's pretty sweet. By the end of this tutorial, you will be an expert on how to change your watch band.


Let's get to it.

 In this guide we will be showing you how to change the straps of 3 different kinds of bands:

  • Leather strap
  • Nato strap
  • Metal bracelet
  • Strap with a quick-release mechanism



Before we get started it’s best to understand the different parts of a watch. Below is an image showing the important areas of the watch you must know before changing your strap.


it’s best to understand which type of strap your watch is utilizing. This can range between a rubber, leather, nylon, and even stainless steel strap. Some watch bands are easier to change than others, but the process stays the same. 

So by the end of this tutorial, you will be an expert on changing your own watch band. 

And this way, you never have to visit the jeweller & spend money to change your watch strap.

Before we begin you will need a few key items and tools to make the process easier:

  • Current watch with an existing strap
  • Replacement straps
  • Spring bar tool
  • Extra spring bars
  • Soft Cloth, towel, or mat


Spring Bar Tool

A spring bar tool is one of the most important items needed to replace your watch strap. Usually, it comes with two sides. A forked-shaped end and a pointy end. The pointy end is used for watches that have drilled lugs on the outside of the watch case. This part of the tool makes it easy to replace the strap of a watch with drilled lug holes. The forked-shaped end is used for changing your watch straps. You slide this part between the watch case and watch strap until you feel the spring bar. From here you push down and release the spring bar from its lugs.


Spring bar tool


Spring Bar

The spring bar is a piece of metal that is used to hold the watch strap in place. It is connected between the two lugs on the watch case. You can use the spring bar in 3 ways:

  1. You insert the spring bar into the watch strap and then into the lug holes of the watch
  2. Some watch straps today come with quick-release pins. This makes the process of changing your watch strap easier.
  3. Attach the spring bar on the watch case through the lug holes. You will only do this when you want to attach a Nato strap to your watch since the strap is tied around the spring bars.



Two sets of spring bars: Curved spring bar & regular spring bar



Let’s get to it.

First, we’re going to walk you through the process of how to change a leather strap without drilled lug holes. Drilled lug holes can be seen on the outside of the watch case. To change the strap of a watch with drilled lug holes you will need a sharp pointy object and a spring bar tool. Simply take the sharp pointy object and slip it through the drilled lug hole. This will release the spring bar from the lug hole and you will be able to easily slip the strap out from the watch case. More on this later. 

How to change a leather watch strap without drilled lug holes?

Leather bands are the most common on watches. These bands give it a versatile look that

you can wear on any occasion. Now we will be showing you how to change your leather watch band without drilled lug holes. New and old watches come without drilled lug holes. This can make it more challenging to replace the leather watch strap. We’re going to show you how to change it yourself- it’s going to require patience and precision. 


For this removal process, you will need to use the spring bar tool. Place the watch face so the case back is facing towards you.



Watch on its dial with caseback looking up





Use the fork-shaped end of the spring bar tool. On the spring bar, you will need to locate the ridged shoulder and use the forked end of the spring bar tool to compress the spring bar.  

 Slide the spring bar tool between the strap and the watch case & place it on the spring bar. Pull down on the tool so the spring bar compresses and then pull the strap towards you. This will dislodge the spring bar from the watch case, allowing you to remove the strap.



Inserting Spring bar tool between leather strap and watch case



 Repeat this process for the other side. Once one side of the spring bar is released the second side should easily be removed. If not, then you will need to repeat the process with the spring bar tool to release the other side of the spring bar from the lug hole. Be cautious when removing the spring bar from the lug hole as the compressed bar and spring across the room. It's good to always have extra spring bars, sometimes they can be damaged or break during the removal process.  


Adding a leather watch strap onto your watch

Now that you have successfully removed the leather strap from your watch, it’s time to replace it with another strap. Place the front side of the watch on your mat so the back is facing upwards. 

The first thing you want to do is measure the distance between each lug. You can do this with a ruler or a calipre. This is an important step when changing your watch band. Because the last thing you want to do is put the wrong size strap on. 

Go too small and you'll have the ends of your spring bar showing, which doesn't look good. And if your watch strap is too big it won't fit on your watch case. Use the caliper and measure the distance between your lug holes and the size of your watch strap. 


Using a calipre to measure a Leberti watch Using calipre to measure the size of watch band


If you don't know the size of your watch band, you can take a look at the longer strap on the back side near the bottom. Older straps usually have the size (in mm) engraved onto the watch band. Making it easier to know the size. Here's an example:



a 20mm watch band with the measurement on the back side of the strap




With your new strap, insert one side of the spring bar into the lug hole. Using the spring bar tool, press down on the other side of the spring bar so it compresses and safely finds the adjacent lug hole. Be careful not to drag the spring bar tool along with the watch case as it can scratch and damage the case. Once it’s in place, you will hear a click. To double check, wiggle the watch band to ensure it stays in place. The last thing you want is for your precious timepiece to fall off your wrist. 



Insert one side of the spring bar inside the lugholeUse forked shape end of spring bar tool and place onto the ridged shoulder of spring bar Compress the spring bar with the spring bar tool and slide it underneath the lug case until the spring bar finds the lug hole





How to change a strap with drilled lug holes?

What are drilled lug holes?

Drilled lug holes are exactly what they sound like. Lugs that have drilled holes on the outside of the watch case. You will easily be able to change your watch strap when a watch case has drilled lugs.

For this you will need a pointy object. Usually your spring bar tool has one.

Simply take the pointy end and push it through the drilled lug. This will remove the spring bar from the lugs and you can easily remove the strap.


Where to insert a pointy object on a watch with drilled lugholes to remove a strapPointy object inside the drilled lughole to remove the strap


Quick-release pin 

 Analyze your current watch and see which type of strap is being used. Today many new straps use a quick-release mechanism that allows for easier swaps. The quick-release pin is located on the backside of the strap near the watch case. 


A watch with a rubber strap that has quick release pin


 Pull the lever down & pull the strap towards or away from you to release the spring bar & strap from the lug holes. Repeat this process on the other strap that’s attached to the watch. If you hate changing your straps with all the tools we recommend you purchase a watch with quick release pins. This will save you the headache in the future. 


Watch with rubber strap removed by using quick release pin


Nato Strap

Nato straps are extremely comfortable & versatile. They can make your watch look completely different. Nato straps are different from your traditional leather bands and stainless steel bands. Rather than running the spring bar into the strap and through the lug holes, they are instead tied around the spring bar. We will explain shortly. First, we’re going to show you how to put a nato strap on your watch case. For this process, you will need the spring bars already attached to your watch. You can remove the spring bars from the strap you replaced or use an extra pair. Simply pull them out using your fingers or pliers. Next, install the spring bars into the watch case following the steps above. You will need the spring bar tool for this. Once the spring bars are attached to your watch it’s time to install the nato strap. This is how your watch should look with only spring bars attached to the watch case:



Leberti watch with spring bars attached - no strap


 Once the spring bars are attached to the watch case its time to tie the nato strap. You want to make sure the buckle is facing upward and on the top of the watch - 12 o'clock. 


Preparing Nato strap to be placed on Leberti watch



Begin by taking the long side of the strap and inserting it through the front side of top of the watch (12 o clock) between the spring bar and watch case.

Inserting nato strap into Leberti watch 12 oclock




Then run the same side through the bottom of the watch case (6 o'clock) in between the spring bar & watch case.



Running nato strap through Leberti watch's 6oclock side between spring bar and watch case




From here, using the long side of the nato strap, slip it through the buckle and pull until fully tightened.



Putting the Nato strap through the last buckle on a Leberti watch



And there you have it, those are the simple steps to adding a nato strap to your watch.

 Now keep in mind after you put your watch on your wrist, some part of the nato strap will be sticking out. And that doesn’t look good. So, we’re going to show you the best ways to tie your Nato strap so it looks perfect on your wrist.

There are 3 ways to tie the nato strap that makes it look best. Below we have attached a short video on how to tie your nato strap the best way.

As you can see, by simply changing the strap from a leather band to a nato strap, it completely changed the entire look of this automatic watch. And thats why we're glad to teach you how to change the strap of your watch so you can rock any strap that suits your style best. 


Leberti watch with nato strap



 Removing Nato strap

To remove a nato strap from your watch simply follow the steps above backward. Begin by removing the long strap from the buckle. Then remove the strap from the 6 o'clock and slide it out through the 12 o clock side. And that’s how you remove the Nato strap from your watch.

How to change a metal watch band

Metal watch bands are more or less the same when it comes to changing the bracelet. But, you need to be careful. Because some metal watch bands come with end pieces so the process can be a little different. Place the watch face down so the case back is facing towards you. Locate the spring bar between the bracelet & watch case. Insert the forked shape end of the spring bar tool until you feel the ridged shoulder. Compress the spring bar with the tool and using your other hand (without the tool) push the bracelet up towards you until the spring bar releases from the lug hole. Sometimes you will have to wiggle the bracelet so the opposite side of the spring bar will release from the lug hole. If not, then you will need to use the spring bar tool and repeat the same steps.

When removing the end pieces and the spring bar be sure to know which side it should be on. When you don't know which parts go where it will get extremely annoying. We've learned from experience.


And that's all there is to it. Now you have the right tools and knowledge to change any watch strap. So go ahead, treat yourself to a luxury watch & put your skills to the test. 


P.S  for all of our visual learners, we have attached a short video on how to change your watch band. Be sure to check it out if you prefer watching a video over reading text.