How to Remove Links From a Fossil Watch

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A professional jeweler can help you remove links from your watch.
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Fossil is well-known for its fashionable, high-quality watches that are available in many different styles. For those who have invested in a Fossil watch, it is worth making sure that the wristband fits perfectly. With a link-style watch band, doing so means adding or removing links to make the band longer or shorter. Fossil suggests visiting a Fossil store or jeweler to have a professional remove the links, but the task is quite straightforward, and it's certainly possible to do it yourself at home.


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For the best chance of success at DIY Fossil watch link removal, purchase a watch link removal tool kit. These are inexpensive and widely available online, and they usually include a watch band holder, a pin punch tool and a small hammer. The watch band holder is very useful, as it leaves both hands free for the task.

As an alternative to buying Fossil watch link removal tools, it's possible to improvise with some common household items. Doing so makes the task trickier, and it risks damage to the watch strap and its components. However, if you're cautious and willing to take the risk, you might substitute a thumb tack for the pin punch tool and a regular hammer, preferably with a rubber cap, for the watch hammer. Instead of a watch band holder, you can carefully hold the watch band, recruit someone to hold it for you or perhaps improvise with a binder clip or another form of clamp.


Some optional tools that are handy include needle-nose pliers and a small dish for holding the pins and links after removal.

Depending on how much you need to shorten your watch band, you might need to remove one or multiple links. Clasp the watch around your wrist, pinch together the excess length and look to see how many links you need to remove. If it's more than one, divide the links to be removed over the two parts of the watch band as evenly as possible – for example, one on each side or one link on one side and two on the other.


On the back of the watch band, look for small arrows lined up along one side of the links. These arrows show you the direction in which you need to remove – by pushing out – the pins that hold the links together. You will replace the pins – by pushing in – in the opposite direction of the arrows. With a watch link removal tool kit, position the watch band on its side in the watch band holder so that the arrows are on the top pointing downward; otherwise, hold, clamp or have another person hold the watch in the same manner.


Identify the links that you will remove and find the tiny holes where the pins are placed. Poke the pin punch tool or the point of a thumb tack inside the tiny hole to one side of the first link to be removed and push it down firmly into the pin hole in the same direction as the arrows. If the pin doesn't move immediately, use the hammer to tap the tool until the pin moves downward.

Lift up the watch and pull the pin out from the other side using your fingers or needle-nose pliers. Repeat this with the pin on the other side of the link. Remove the link and keep the pins safe, as you need them to put the watch band back together. Repeat this with any additional links that need to be removed.


How to Put the Watch Band Back Together

Slide together the remaining links on both sides of the gap created by removing the links and make sure the channels for the pins line up. Position or hold the watch band on its side, this time with the arrows pointing upward.

With your fingers or pliers, firmly push one pin into the empty channel connecting the adjacent links, pushing in the opposite direction of the arrows. Tap the pin with the rubber end of the hammer until it's firmly in place and the pin head is flush with the edge of the link. Repeat this with the second pin on the other side of the link.

Try on the watch, and you should find that it fits perfectly. If not, remove or replace a link using the same method.