Basic Spring Bar Tools
We are far from the skill sets a watch maker possesses, but we have been changing watch straps and bracelets for a few years now.
The above tools summarize what we use the most other than removing and fitting metal bracelet pins. These might be all you will need.
Lets see how we make use of them.
Fork and Pin Basic tool
Both ends of the tool caps can be removed to expose the pin and the fork on either ends. Do not underestimate the caps. They save you from getting pricked or cut by the fork end while in storage.
The Pin Tool
We LOVE drilled lugs watches. To remove the spring bars, simply insert the pin end of the tool and pull the bracelet away from the watch case.
Impt: Hold on to the tension on the bracelet to keep the spring bar dislodged from that end. Dislodge other side of the spring bar by inserting the pin to the opposite side of the lugs.
The bracelet or strap should be removed fairly easily without causing any scratches to the watch case.
The Fork Tool
This is one of the most used tool we have. Simply insert the fork into the gap between the strap and the lugs and reach one of the double flanges in most spring bars. Apply downward pressure and compress the bar to dislodge it from one side.
The other side will soon give way as you push that dislodged side further and further away from the hole designed to keep the spring bars in place.
How to remove metal bracelets - Spring Bar Tweezers
If the fork is too huge to access the slot openings of the metal bracelets shown on the left, you can forget about it. It needs to be small enough to enter the slot to start the work (shown on the right image).
Impt : Exercise the spring bars on each side by compressing the spring one side at a time before trying to remove it as it may be jammed due to long period of inactivity.
We have seen some people using one fork to compress and dislodge the spring bar one side at a time. We found it extremely difficult to do so. So, we tried out one of those tweezers.
We started using a very respectable, expensive spring bar tweezer (right image) and still use and love them today. The metal component feels so good to handle, it must feel like one of those dental tools used on us when we first handled it (none of us handled dental tools before). We thought we need this since we are getting into this business for real some years ago.
A few years after, an inexpensive tool (left image. about 7 times cheaper or so than the right) came out in the market and we thought, we need to try it. Here is our quick break down.
You can see from the close up:
- both tools have some form of deterioration but they held up well enough for daily use
- the expensive tool (on the right) main tweezer component is absolutely impeccable while the cheaper alternative is covered with a finishing and do not feel as amazing.
- Note the geometry of both tools. The circled portion is what we think, the most important factor that makes or breaks the tool.
On the left, the less expensive tool’s fork tips are shorter and its right angled sides and inward facing fork geometry prevents the fork from reaching the ends of the spring bars easily.
On the right, the longer ends and the chamfer at the very end of the tips (see previous right image circled) allowed the fork to find its way to the space between the flange and lugs a lot more easily. Superb!
A Tiny Tweak
Both images are using the more affordable tweezers.
The bottom image (factory setting) shows how it is a little awkward to try to reach the spot to start clamping the spring bars.
The top image is a modification we did to enable a much better geometry to reach the spot between the spring bar flange and the lugs. If you already have this tool, try swapping the position and we are confident you will feel the amazing difference.
We used to be stressed out trying to remove bracelets. With these tools now, we find it a lot easier but do not let anyone or videos tell you removing bracelets’ a breeze. It takes a lot of practices and scratches.
You need to:
- Warm up the spring bar by compressing it one side at a time
- Hold the watch case firmly
- Place the forks between the spring bar flanges and the lugs
- Press the tweezer down firmly and clamp the spring bar while maintaining a tenson on the metal bracelet
- Once the spring bar is dislodged, the bracelets come off
For a free set of the basic tool or to purchase the Tweezer model :