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So You Want To Change Your Watch Strap? Here’s what you’ll need
Words by Windup Watch Shop

One of us, one of us! One of the first forays into watch enthusiasm is changing out the stock strap to something a little bit more your style. Sure, the OEM straps are fine, but there’s a whole world of aftermarket offerings that can totally switch up the look and feel of your watch. The best part? It’s quick and easy to do, and you only need a few key tools to get the job done right. Whether you’re popping your new dive watch off the bracelet and onto a nato, or switching over that field watch from the cheapy faux-leather strap to something more premium, swapping straps is a fun way to get even more out of your current collection of watches. This guide breaks down some of the essentials you’ll need to get started, so let’s jump in. 

The Right Tools for the Job - Windup Strap Changing Multi-Tool

You’re not going to get too far without a spring bar tool. We at Windup recognize this, so we went out and made our own strap changing super tool. Inside a knurled aluminum body is four tools in one. The tool screws apart at the center so you can make use of two at once. Each “bit” flips over, making for even more functionality in a slim, convenient package. You’ll make use of the 0.8mm poker for watches with drilled lugs, the 1.6mm fork for standard spring bar prying, and the 1.4mm and 1.8mm flat head screwdrivers to adjust your bracelet. Two small caps keep the tools (and you) protected, because no one wants to take a spring bar fork to the leg.


Workplace Safety Is Important - Hexagon Watch Tube

Store your watches and work on them too with the Hexagon Watch Tube. Crafted from heavy duty nylon on the outside and super soft microsuede on the inside, this watch roll is more than meets the eye. You have three cushioned pillows for your watches, which is all fine and great, but the fun part is the flap that keeps the case secured. When folded out, the lightly padded suede material makes an ideal platform for strap changes, keeping your case and bracelet free of unnecessary scratches from working on a hard surface. Perfect for smaller collections or travel, the Hexagon Watch Tube is a great option for those who want to carry a few watches and have a nice little place to work on them too.

They’re Called Spring Bars For A Reason - Spring Bar Packs

The story goes something like this. You grab your favorite watch, snag a new strap, get your tool, and sit down for a nice, calm few minutes of tinkering. However, when you try and get that strap off, your spring bar flies across the room as fast as a speeding bullet, never to be found again. You will learn that they’re calling spring bars for a reason, and it’s always great to have a few replacements on hand. The Windup Watch Shop carries all the common sizes, from 18 to 24mm in packs of 10 – giving you more than enough ammo to fire a few spring bars off into the abyss without any real serious consequences.


Slice and Dice Your Strap Into a Single Pass - The James Brand Palmer Utility Blade

So you’re comfortable changing straps, now comes modding them. Nato style straps have two main components – the long strap, and a shorter keeper. The keeper doubles up on the fabric between your wrist and the watch, giving it the look and feel of wearing thicker. There’s not a whole lot of functionality to the keeper, other than looks, so many choose to slice it off for a slimmer wearing strap. Enter The James Brand Palmer – a modern take on the utility knife from one of our favorite brands. With replaceable blades and nifty locking system, the Palmer is ready to slice and dice all of your favorite straps. It’s available in a bunch of fun colors of anodized aluminum right in our shop.


Can’t Change A Strap If You Don’t Have A Spare - Straps from Windup Watch Shop

Lastly, you can’t change a strap if you don’t have a few extras lying around. Eventually you hit the point in watch enthusiasm where you need a whole separate drawer to organize them (raise your hands if you’re already there). We’re right there with you, and that’s why there are tons of styles, materials, and price points of straps in the Windup Watch Shop. Straps were some of the first products we’ve ever offered for sale, and in the past 10 years we think we’ve done a good job of curating some of the best in our shop.


By this point, you should have a pretty solid base of things you need to get your favorite watch onto a new strap. But in case you want a more visual look at it, check out this video below:

Make sure to tag us on Instagram with your new watch and strap combos, we’re thrilled to see them.