How to adjust steel linked watch band (Wenger Swiss Military waterproof)

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How do we adjust a too-large stainless steel watch band? (It's not obvious.)
I bought, at CostCo, the Wenger Swiss Military 200m water proof watch for my teen-age son's birthday for about 30 dollars (as he wants to learn how to scuba dive in Monterey Bay).
His thin wrist in no way fits this Wenger watch band, even wearing his wetsuit, in so much as at least two links need to be removed from the stainless steel watch band, one on each side. Instructions supplied with the blister pack do not explain how to adjust the band (presumably it's so simple that we should be able to figure it out by ourselves using a butter knife)???
His new Wenger Swiss Military watch band has six links on each side, with two (I'll guess they're called) pins holding them together. The three lower links on each side each have a 2 mm arrow embossed into the center of the backside of the plates (for whatever reason, I don't know). My son suspects that arrow is telling us the direction in which to remove the pins holding the links to the watch band.
Further evidence these six links are the remove-me links are the fact that a pin of some sort can be seen on a side view of the Wenger watch band for these "arrowed" links only.
Problem is - how do we remove those 'pins'? If we punch them out with an incredibly small punch (the pins seem to be about a half millimeter in diameter), won't we ruin them? I mean, what holds them in? Friction? If it's friction, won't we need new pins when we punch out the old ones (presumably stripping the heads)?
The other thing is these arrows are not symetrical in that they are only lined up with one of the two pins per link (that is, there is only one arrow per link and that arrow is under only one of the pins per the link).
Am I missing something fundamental here? What's the trick to removing and replacing two links in a steel watch band?
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Yeah, I basically removed a couple of the links.

Yeah, I had the same problem.

Not really, but it isnt rocket science.

Mine had fold over metal bits with each link.

Sounds plausible.

Some have a spring loaded inner pin at each end.

Yes, http://www.wengerna.com/faq.jsp?cat_id=1#add_links

Looks like there is a special tool that does it.
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Rod Speed wrote:

I should have mentioned I had been to the Wenger web site previously. http://www.wengerasi.com which happens to have a photo of my son's Wenger Swiss Military Watch (70016) on the home page - but my searches came up blank.
However, unless I'm more of an idiot than I thought (which is always possible :), there are absolutely no instructions for removing links in that steel watch band on the entire Wenger web site.
While there are detailed instructions for measuring arcane things like the simple width of the watch (http://www.wengerna.com/browse/tutorial.jsp ) I'm surprised there are no common adjustment instructions for the band. Given the CostCo Wenger Swiss Military 200m date watch band ships in XXL elephant size, I can't imagine that everyone on the planet won't have to remove links in the bracelet band.
I very much appreciate your link to the Wenger Swiss Army Watch FAQ. http://www.wengerna.com/faq.jsp But all it says for adjusting the band is take it to someone who knows how to adjust the band already (that's why I'm asking this message board). :)
The two PDFs at that FAQ site are for the booklet that comes with the watch (which says ask someone who knows how to adjust the band) and for ordering new bands.
Why would it be so exasperating to do something so simple as a watch band adjustment - especially since the band comes in such a huge size to start with that every human other than Mike Tyson will have to adjust the band. Where's the usability in that? :)
By the way, I seriously doubt the pin is spring loaded like it is for the clasp adjustment on the band because in the u-shaped clasp, there's a place for the pin to come out - but in the closed-off band, there is NOWHERE for a spring-loaded pin to exit. It seems that the link pins can ONLY come out one end or the other which means it must be a friction fit or some other trick - but not simple springs like in the clasp (am I totally off base here?)???
Here is my best-guess procedure for all those CostCo watch buyers out there. 1. Find a very small (1/2 mm) punch (probably a very tiny brad or nail) 2. Find a block of wood with a very small hole (about 1mm or so) 3. Find the arrow on the underside of the Wenger Swiss Military Watch 70016 4. Place the watch band on its side on the block of wood 5. Place the point of the punch on the pin in the direction of the ---> arrow 6. Make sure there is a closed hole (a ditch if you will) below the pin 7. That way you won't lose the pin if it suddenly pops out on you 8. Punch two pins per link out 9. Remove the link and replace only one of the pins 10. If we're lucky - the pins won't have been destroyed in the process
Does this sound anywhere near like a usable procedure for the new owners of the Costco 70016 Wenger Swiss Military 200m date watch?
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Vanessa wrote:

the bigger the band size, the more people can potentially wear it.
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It actually says pretty unambiguously that there is a special tool that is used to remove excess links and that the watchmaker should have it. http://www.wengerna.com/faq.jsp?cat_id=1#add_links
Its certainly possible that someone with some decent mechanical aptitude can work out how to do it without the tool, but its unlikely that you'll find anyone who has done that with that particular band.

Basically they have chosen to have the seller of the watch do it.
Thats basically a design choice.

Yeah, sounds plausible. And you dont need a special tool for those.

Nar, it does look like they have designed it to be dont with a special tool.
Corse that doesnt mean that thats the only way it can be done.
Likely it is a friction fit and the tool provides enough force to overcome that.

Have you asked costco what they suggest you do about the band adjustment ? They may have an arrangement with someone to do that.
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Vanessa wrote:

you can buy the tools off ebay, either one of these http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category 363&itemP04066795 or this one http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category 363&itemP04067208
if the band has the push out pin type and is not a screw or a "U" shaped clip like used in the Seiko bands.
but really the best solution for you is to take it to a watchmaker or jeweller and have them do it, I usually charge a couple of dollars, or nothing if they bought watch or band from me.
the watchmaker/jeweller would have the right tools and the knowledge of the right way to remove links without damage to the band.
some bands are easy, some are real bastards to do.
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You don't get pissed off that your customer bought their watch from a big box store? If I were the jeweler I'd probably tell the customer to return to Costco to get the thing adjusted because that's the quality service she paid for. But that's just me perhaps.
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Greg Mossman wrote:

all the time, they buy them duty free, on a bargain somwhere etc etc, but come to me for batteries, servicing, and band adjustments, meanwhile my stock just sit there on the shelf, oh well, glad I am not in a shop anymore.
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Greg Mossman wrote:

mom and pop shops are there to provide service. costco is there to provide low prices on some items.
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True, but the mom and pop can't survive easily on just the service and soon we have no place to go.
I've have found that on major appliances it is just as economical to buy from the local dealer these days. Most belong to buyer's co-ops and can sell as cheap as the big stores but they offer services that the big guys cannot touch. Things like same day delivery and setup, hauling off the old appliance.
More important, they are there fast if it breaks. Woke up one morning and found the freezer died and it was beyond repairs. Called the dealer, he had freezers in stock, but not the one I wanted. So, he brought another working model as a loaner. Helped transfer the food. Came two days later with the one I wanted, helped transfer the food back. Net loss was a half a container of ice cream. Would Home Depot or Best Buy do that?
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/




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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

all depends. if their prices are competitive on stuff costco doesnt carry, they should still do well. a lot of mom and pop places sell used estate jewelry and stuff like that, that major retailers wont touch.
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"Vanessa" wrote

It's not real hard, but may be more than you want to take on. Your son is on the right track, but you don't use a butter knife. More likely, you use a small paperclip of safety pin. Regardless, your best bet, given the fact that this is clearly not your specialty, is to take the watch to a jeweler. At worst, he won't charge much. At best, if you catch him when he's not busy, he'll do it for free, just for the good will.
Lee
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I gotta say;
For a conservative democrat, you sure are a decent human.
<grin>
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"Scott" wrote

You didn't have to say, but I'm glad you did. Thanks.
Lee
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I've adjusted quite a few watch bands over the years and each time was different.
Have a jeweler do it. He want charge much and he has the tools and know how to do it right.
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Don't be too surprised if the watch doesn't work well under water. 200m water resistance sounds like is should be ok (since the sport diving limit is 40m). However, if it has any push buttons and they are not specifically designed for constant pressure, they may depress under water pressure. What happens to the watch if the button(s) are constantly held down may be unpredictable. DAMHIKT.
Mike
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Vanessa wrote:

either return the watch for the $50 casio with the vinyl band, or take the wenger to a local jewelry store and have em resize it for a few bucks.
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Take it to the jewelry counter of a store, and ask their help. Some jewelry folks have done a LOT of these kind of thing, and will have it adjusted for you very soon.
--

Christopher A. Young
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Vanessa wrote:

They are all designed a little differently but generally bands with arrows are friction fit and the pin comes out in the direction the arrow points. There is also (generally) a place on the underside of the band that allows access to push the pin out. Every once in a while I run into one that the only way to remove pins is to push them through from the opposite side. Be careful you dont use a tapered punch that widens out the hole when you punch the pin out. You may also need a hammer to punch it out. They usually do any plating on the band with the pins in, which works like glue alot of times. Take the same number of pins out of each side if possible. If not, take the extra pin from the 6 oclock side. If you find the pin wont stay in after relacing it, use a toothpick to put just a touch of super glue on the end of the pin. There is also (usually) some minor adjustment in the spring bars in the clasp. Dont overuse that or the watch will clasp oddly.

Presumably you will get it done at the jewelry store where you bought it. Thats one of the drawbacks of buying this type item (kind of like dive gear) at a discount outlet or online. They dont need instructions.

Hes probably right.

They are probably friction pins and, no, you wont need new pins unless you take them out regularly.

Take it to someone that knows what they are doing and has the proper tools.
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ne333ro wrote:

I first called a nearby jewelry store I found in the phone book before asking you.
The guy who answered the phone said it would cost "only $40" (which is more than I paid for the Wenger scuba dive watch at CostCo).
I asked what he based that fee upon and he said it would take 20 minutes and he gets $120 an hour to fix watches so his estimate was $40 dollars to adjust the steel band.
After that, I didn't call anyone else as it was clear it would cost more than the watch to have the band adjusted.
VCS
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