It’s important for your watch to sit on your wrist comfortably else your watch can get in the way and become a mild annoyance. If you know how to adjust a Rolex watch band, you’d be able to get your watch to fit nicely and comfortably.
Besides the inconvenience you personally suffer from an ill-fitting watch, a Rolex that is too loose will also be prone to knocks and scratches. This can add to your watch aging faster than it should normally. This is another reason your watch must be a perfect fit and you should learn how to adjust your Rolex watch band.
Before we go into the details of how to adjust a Rolex watch band, here is an important tip to help you size your watch correctly so that you might not have to end up adjusting your watch band.
Wear Your Rolex Watch On Your Forearm Not On Your Wrist!
Yes, it is called a wristwatch, we know. And yes, everyone says you wear a watch on your wrist. But you’re not actually supposed to wear it on your wrist. You’re actually supposed to wear it adjacent to the wrist on the forearm, the lower part of it, to be precise. This is true for leather straps and metal bracelets and here are some reasons wearing your watch on your forearm is better.
First off, the bone of your wrist (on the pinkie side of the wrist) called the head of the ulna is going to hurt if your watch is sitting directly on top of it, especially for long hours at a time.
Secondly, the winding crown, as well as the chronograph pushers for Daytona watches can dig into your hand if you wear your watch on your wrist. This could cause scratching and blisters on your wrist which isn’t exactly great news.
How To Adjust A Rolex Watch Band
Now, it’s possible that, even after you get the right fit with your Rolex, the watch is still a little loose. In this case, you might have to remove a couple of links from the bracelet to be able to get the perfect fit.
It’s best to get a watch specialist you trust to help you with this. However, if you’re confident in your handiness and you want to adjust the band on your own, we’re here for you.
Now, don’t forget that your clasp must be centered with the case when you want to remove bracelet links. This is important to ensure that things are kept balanced.
How To Adjust A Rolex Band — Required Tools
1. Bergeon screwdriver (1.6 to 1.8 millimeters) for the bracelet link screws.
Well, in truth, the best tool for this work is a Rolex screwdriver. However, that tool is hard to get and is also quite pricey. Hence our Bergeon recommendation.
The slot you’ll be working with is one that has 90-degree corners exactly with a flat bottom. Usually, a screwdriver should fit the slot precisely without any slop.
For many watchmakers, they decide to file their 1.8-millimeter screwdriver blade so that it can fit the slot exactly. Then they retain their custom screwdriver and use it as their dedicated Rolex bracelet screwdriver.
2. For Rolex watches with the milled clasps, you’d need a small spring bar tool. For the folded stainless clasps, you’d need either a toothpick or a thumbtack.
3. A red bottle of Locktite 221 or Locktite 222 which is a blue fluid.
4. A non-capreted worktop. It could be a desk/table or hardwood floor. You want something on which you can easily locate your spring bar in case it flies off.
Also, make sure there is something soft spread over the table like a cloth or a pillow so that your watch does not get scratched when you’re working with it.
How To Adjust A Rolex Watch Band With The Built-In Extension System
The Glidelock Extension System
There are some Rolex watches that come with extension systems which help to adjust your watch if need be.
Looking underneath this clasp, you’ll find that you’re able to adjust your bracelet (both expand and contract) in 2-millimeter increments without the aid of a tool.
Simply push the adjustable side of the bracelet from the clasp. Then, as the name suggests, glide the extension back and forth until it gets to your desired size. Afterward, simply click your bracelet back to its place, and you’re done.
A Glidelock extension is a great way to make slight size changes as you switch between temperatures or as your wrist changes in size.
By the way, Submariners with the Glidelock will extend up to 20 millimeters. Deepsea watches and Sea-Dweller watches, on the other hand, will extend up to 26 millimeters.
The EasyLink Extension
Other Rolex watches such as the Datejust, Daytona, GMT-Master II, and others come with a different extension system known as the Easylink extension. This one only supports micro-adjustments and adjusts a little differently than the Glidelock extension.
First off, it’s not as effortless as the Glidelock extension, so you’d need to do a little bit more work with the Easylink than with the Glidelock. Ironic, right?
The method of adjustment, though, is still kinda similar except that with the Easylink, you’d need to work with a tool.
Bracelets that feature the Easylink extension system typically come with about 4 or 5 spring bar adjustment holes. So, you push the spring bar holding the bracelet and the clasp together. When you do that, you can then move the bracelet to one of the adjustment holes on the inside of the clasp — anyone you please. Once you’ve reached your preferred adjustment hole, slide the spring bar back in place and you’re done.
The Easylink extension only extends (and contracts) by up to 5 millimeters only.
Remember not to pull on the link when you’re releasing the spring bar, if you do, it might fly off and across the room.
For more information on Rolex bracelets, clasps, and extension mechanisms, click here to read our article: Which Rolex To Buy — The Ultimate Guide.
For Rolex Watches With Milled Clasps
Rolex watches with the newer milled clasps have three adjustment slots inside their clasp. You’ll also need a spring bar tool to release the two sides of the spring bar. Like with the last time we talked about releasing the spring bar, make sure you don’t pull on the links so you don’t send the spring bar flying off.
Once you have released the spring bar, then slide it gently from slot to slot till you land on your preferred slot.
You can try different combinations of spring bar locations and links inside the clasp until you get something that fits.
How To Adjust A Rolex Watch Band By Removing Bracelet Links
This is the last method you can use to adjust your Rolex watch. When you remove links, you’ll be able to make more significant changes to your Rolex watch, depending on your needs.
Most times, a new Rolex watch will need to have a few links removed as they typically come with a full set of links on the bracelet.
Also, while adding links to a new Rolex’s bracelet is uncommon, it’s not impossible. Adding new links to your watch’s bracelet, fortunately, is easy and follows the same steps as removing them.
Now, before you begin taking out the links, be sure, first of all, that your clasp is centered. Also, check to confirm that your watch is sitting correctly on your wrist.
As a rule, when you wear your watch, it should be loose enough such that a finger can slide in between the clasp and your hand. This is important for times when the temperature gets warmer and your wrist expands. If the clasp fits flush, your watch can become uncomfortable.
But hey, it’s you who’s wearing after all. If this method doesn’t work for you, feel free to wear your watch the way you prefer it.
Removing Rolex Bracelet Links
Most Rolex watches come with about 12 to 13 links, and as we said, for most, a few would have to be removed.
By Rolex’s recommendation, removal should begin from the 6 o’clock side of the watch so that you’re sure the hinge remains centered on the wrist. If you remove from the 12 o’clock position, you can pull the watch off-center which isn’t what you want.
After this, it’s time to remove the links. You’ll need the screwdriver we talked about in the Required Tools section.
Place your Rolex vertically on a soft worktop. You can use a soft cloth or a pillow. This is to keep you from scratching your watch.
Now, fix the screwdriver into the slot and begin unscrewing. When you begin, it might seem a little tough. This is normal and expected considering that Rolex uses 222 Loctite to hold its links together.
So, while it’s kinda tough, don’t give in to the temptation to apply more force than necessary else you might end up damaging something. Instead, try heating the link to loosen up the glue a little. If it will help, you can even have the hairdryer on while you work the screws.
Spot the holes on each side of your bracelet. You can find these holes at the edge of the links near the clasp.
To remove one link, you’d have to unscrew two pins from the bracelet. So, hold two links together while you unscrew the pin, and then pull out the pin. After doing this, then remove the residual Loctite glue on the screw and pin.
When that is done, apply a little amount of Loctite glue to the end of the pin you just pulled out and then hold the two links back together by passing the link through the hole.
After this, screw the pin back in and make sure you screw the pin in properly. Also, make sure that you keep every link you take out safely as this will definitely affect the valuation of your Rolex watch in future, if you intend to sell it.
Learn how to value your Rolex watch. Click here to read our article: What Is My Rolex Worth? — How To Value Your Watch.
Watch this video for a visual demonstration.
How To Adjust Your Rolex Watch Band When Nothing Else Works
If you’ve tried everything and nothing is working, it might be time to do something a little more drastic.
Rolex wearers whose wrists are smaller than 6.5 inches in diameter are typically in such situations that demand drastic measures. To get the Rolex to fit perfectly, you’d have to take out a non-removable link.
If this is your predicament, your first option is to go to your local authorized dealer to help you remove a few non-removable links. It’s not something you can handle on your own, so, please, don’t attempt to.
A second option would be to use half-links. However, this option is mostly for watch owners with a Submariner, Deep Sea or Sea-Dweller. The Oyster half-links are made for these models. But there are also half-links for jubilee bracelets which an authorized dealer can get for you if you own none of these watches but have a Rolex with a jubilee bracelet.
Some Tips For Removing Bracelet Links
1. You want to ensure that you screw the removed pins back into their original thread. This is because if you have even slightly different threads or sizes joined together, it could affect the perfect fit.
2. Be careful about tool slippage while working to remove links on your watch. The more your tool slips, the more your watch suffers unnecessary scratches that could affect valuation in future if you decide to sell.
And these things happen pretty quickly, especially if your watch’s bracelet is made of precious metals.
To prevent this, you can even mask the bracelet with a tape so that any accidental slippage won’t lead to something catastrophic.
3. Sealing with glue (Loctite glue) is very important. It’s true that there are many who never use the glue and nothing happens with their watch. In fact, the way Rolex crafts its pins and threads, it’s possible for them to hold properly without glue.
Nonetheless, it might be best to use the screw glue for a number of reasons. For one, a damaged thread due to incorrect screwing, or exchanged pins can lead to a loose connection. In such situations, Loctite glue could help in securing the links so they don’t fall.
4. Keep the application of the screw glue very light. If you use too much glue, you could set yourself up for next time. Link removal, if you ever have to some other time, will be unnecessarily difficult. So, make sure you keep the application light.