Types of Spring Bar Tools
There are many types of spring bar tools in the market. Finding the right type of spring bar tools can be a daunting challenge. We are not watch makers, but we have been changing watch straps and bracelets for a few years now.
You might be surprised to know you do not elaborate spring bar tools to change straps or bracelets. These tools may be all you need to change straps.
Left tool: ideal for removing bracelet after we made some modifications to it.
Right tool: ideal to remove most straps.
Lets see how we make use of each type of spring bar tools for different situations.
Fork and Pin Basic tool
Those tool caps can be removed to expose the pin and the fork on either ends. The functions of the caps are very useful. They prevent you from getting pricked or cut by the fork end when you try to retrieve them in your drawers.
The Pin Tool
Drilled lugs watches are some of the easiest watches to remove its bracelets. To remove the spring bars, simply insert the pin end of the tool and pull the bracelet away from the watch case.
You need to hold on to the tension on the bracelet to prevent the spring bar from springing back to the lug hole. Dislodge other side of the spring bar by inserting the pin to the other side of the lugs. The bracelet should come off the moment you pressed the other side of the spring bar. They should be removed easily without causing any scratches to the watch case.
The Fork Tool
This is one of the most common tool everyone uses.
Step 1 – insert the fork into the gap between the strap and the lugs.
Step 2 – Reach into the double flange of spring bar.
Step 3 – Apply downward pressure and compress the bar to dislodge it from one side.
Step 4 – Repeat the same action to the other side and the bracelet should come off.
How to remove metal bracelets - Tweezer Spring Bar Tool
If the fork is too huge to access the slot openings of the metal bracelets shown on the left, you do not have a chance at all. It needs to be small enough to enter the slot to start the work (shown on the right image).
Important tip : Exercise the spring bars on each side by compressing the spring one side at a time as it may be jammed due to long periods of inactivity.
We have seen some people using one fork to compress and dislodge the spring bar one side at a time. It was extremely difficult to do so. Instead, we tried out one of those tweezers where you try to pinch both sides at the same time to remove it.
We started using a very respectable, expensive spring bar tweezer (right image) and still use them today. The metal component feels so good to handle, due to its high quality alloy component. 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 6 times cheaper or so than the right) came out in the market and we need to try it. Here is our quick break down.
Close up comparison of the spring bar tool tips:
- both spring bar tools have some form of deterioration
- the expensive tool (on the right) main tweezer material component is impeccable while the cheaper alternative is plated with a finishing.
- 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 tip is shorter. In addition, the geometry blocks itself from reaching the spring bars.
On the right: The longer ends and the chamfered tip (see previous right image circled) allowed the fork to reach the spring bar easily. Superb!
Geometry was an issue for the cheaper tool but we found a way to modify it.
A Tiny Tweak We Made to the Cheaper Tool
Both images are using the more affordable tweezers.
Bottom image (factory setting) shows how it is a little awkward to try to reach the ends of the spring bars.
Top image is a modification we did to enable a much better geometry to reach the end of the spring bar. If you already have this tool, try flipping the end tips. You will feel the amazing difference.
We used to be stressed out trying to remove bracelets. These tools made it easier to change straps. However, removing a bracelet is not a breeze. It takes a lot of practices and scratches to get better at it. This video shows a very skilful person making use of the tool https://youtu.be/0TaACU6deCs?si=Q_v0ukyPVveDWA00
In summary, you need to:
- Loosen 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 and hold the spring bar in a fully compressed position
- Once the spring bar is dislodged, the bracelets come off
For a free set of the basic tool or to purchase the Tweezer model :