A concern we talk about with potential customers is that many avid watch collectors worry about swapping out their watch bands too often because it can be very easy to scratch the lugs during the process of removing and adding traditional Spring Pins. Below are a few tips we recommend whether you are just starting out collecting watchbands or just looking for some new tips.
Firstly, there are two main types of pins with internal springs used to attach most watch bands: traditional Spring Pins and Quick-Release Pins. Traditional Spring Pins are what you will find on most watches (including vintage pieces) and Quick-Release pins are all in the name. Designed for speedy removal, this style has a little ball on the side, allowing you to slide the spring with your finger rather than using a removal tool.
Chances are if you still have the stock band on your watch, it is most likely to use traditional Spring Pins. In order to most effectively remove the pins, a pin removal tool is highly recommended. We sell two versions of the same tool: a steel full-size tool (one end which is forked, and the other straight) as well as a mini version. The forked end is the most commonly used, but some watches have small holes on the outside of the lugs, so you are able to use the other narrow end to push the pin out, rather than pulling it towards you with the forked end.
To begin the process, make sure the face of your watch is protected by prepping your work surface. Lay down a durable fabric or a microfiber cloth to prevent scratching on the glass while changing the watch strap.
For many people, it can be a struggle to change out the watch bands because there is a chance of slipping and scratching the lugs with the metal Spring Pin removal tool. Until you get the hang of it, many have recommended to us to apply four small squares of tape around the lugs, so if you slip up, the lugs are safe. While you can use Scotch tape, it will most likely leave a sticky residue on your watch. We recommend using blue painters tape instead, but if clear tape is all you have on hand, just remove any excess residue with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol.
This method is good if you only swap out your watch band occasionally, but if you are changing out the bands every day, your best option is to go with a quality double-ended Spring Pin Removal Tool. Because ultimately, if you have a quality pin removal tool, the tape should not be necessary.
When compressing and setting the Spring Pin into place, we recommend sliding the pin in between the lugs, setting down the tool, and using your fingers to slide the pin into place. This is the easiest method and allows you to then attach NATO style straps.
When installing or removing a 2-piece band, you should always pull the strap towards one lug as much as possible instead of just digging a tool in between the strap and lugs. By doing this, the pin should become visible, allowing easy access to the pin and giving you a clear view so you can avoid scratching the lugs.
In some cases, it may be a good idea to buy a pair of fresh Spring pins (if you have a vintage watch for example) as if the pin fits correctly, as vintage pins can sometimes rust or have stiffer springs, making this process difficult.
If you own or recently purchased a band that has Quick-Release Pins installed, you will be able to skip all previous steps. Simply use your thumbnail to push the metal ball underneath the strap, and pop it into place. This is (in our opinion) the easiest and most protective way to swap out a watch band.
We hope you enjoyed these requested tips, and hopefully, it helps you as you decide on what type of watch band will work best for you!