Question about Timex Expedition Watch Midsize with Fast Wrap Strap

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Trying to change leather watch band. This watch has a narrow space to attach rather than a wide space. Have tried to push pins and they will not move.

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The easiest way to insert and remove watch band pins is with a band tool. This small tool has a very small, thin fork on one side, usually made of tempered or hardened steel, that you use to spear one end of the watch pin; you can then quickly and easily apply the leverage needed to pull one end out of its mounting hole. Many watch pins have a small collar at each end designed to catch this forked end. These inexpensive tools are sold at most jewelry supply houses or come as part of a "watch maintenance kit" that can be purchased online or at Harbor Freight. However, you can also solve your problem without this tool.

There are two approaches to removing stubborn band pins without the right wrench. First, you can use a sharp knife blade (a screwdriver blade won't work) to try to grab the end of one of the pin to try to pull it out of its mounting hole. Band pins without collars are usually designed to pull a bit more easily from one side than from the other; if you're not having any success on one side of a pin, try the other. In addition, you might want to wear leather gloves--using this procedure, it's almost certain that the knife blade will slip out of control at least once or twice, and there's a serious risk of accidentally cutting yourself unless your hands are protected. Further, you may gouge a notch in your knife blade, damaging its smooth edge. Still, if you need to preserve the band pins, this is a common way to go. Finally, if you put too much pressure on the mounting hole in a plastic watch case, you run the risk of tearing out the hole. In that case, the watch is now useless as a wristwatch, because you can't attach a new band to it.

On the other hand, if your replacement watch band comes with replacement pins, you don't need the watch pins that are currently mounted in your watch. If that's the case, use a pair of nipper pliers to cut the pin in half. You can either push the old band out of the way, or you can even cut it off to get better access to the pins. If you cut the pin approximately in the center, it should be easy to pull each half out. Conversely, if you cut the pin very close to one edge, you may have a bit of a challenge pulling the short end out--but it's still quite do-able.

I always change out the band pins when I change a wristwatch band, so I have become increasingly fond of cutting the old pins in half and pulling them out if I can't easily get them out with a band tool. Doing so minimizes the risk that I will damage the pin mounting holes in the case. Even in a metal case, elongated mounting holes will not hold a pin as securely, making it easier for the band to spring out and the watch to fall and get damaged.

Posted on May 18, 2011

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