Timepieces:Education & Repair
Sizing the Bracelet, Part II
Mesh with Me
Mesh has returned; repairing and sizing it requires careful trimming
By David Christianson,
Certified Master Watchmaker
This month we focus on what may be the least forgiving bracelet in watch
repair: mesh. But it's important to know how to repair mesh because its
popularity is growing. It started with women's watches and continued to
men's models offered by fashion-forward brands as an option to the
traditional metal bracelet, bangle or leather strap.
Unless the band is of the expansion mesh type, which is limited to a few
manufacturers, chances are you'll need to trim the length of a mesh bracelet.
Without links to remove, the unwanted length must be cut off. Once removed,
it can't be replaced. To shorten mesh bands, remove one end of the band
from the watch case. Wrap the watch and band around the customer's wrist,
overlapping the clasp and the end of the band. Mark the band at the point
where the inside of the clamp rests. Take care not to mark where the outside
of the clasp rests on the band, which would result in a band too long for
The length from the mark to the end of the band needs to be removed
but not all from one end. Remove a little more than half this amount from
the end of the band that attaches to the 12 o'clock side. Then remove a
little less than half this length from the end that attaches to the 6 o'clock
The reason for the difference here is the shape of a wrist it's
not a perfect oval. The inner side of the wrist is shorter than the outer
side. To best center the watch on the top of the wrist, the 6 o'clock side
must be a bit shorter than the 12 o'clock side.
Cutting the Mesh
Two methods are commonly used to cut mesh bands. First, using your flexible
shaft machine with a separating disc, grind through the band where needed.
This offers the cleanest cut.
Use nippers if the machine isn't available. It cuts quickly but can crush
the ends of the band. These ends will need to be trimmed square with a file
or a separating disc. Ask materials suppliers about the type of nippers
best suited to your strength (some are easier to use than others) and typical
Try cutting a small bit at a time until you reach the most comfortable
length for the owner.
After the ends are cut to the correct length and then trimmed square,
reinsert them into the clasp. Position it so the serrated clamp bites the
grooves on the underside of the band. Remember to replace the clasp so the
safety chain ends up on the same side of the watch as the crown.
David Christianson is fourth-generation owner of Christianson Jewelry,
Kendallville, IN. He is director and first vice president of the American
Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, where he chairs the Education, Library
and Museum Charitable Trust. He is a certified master watchmaker and a fellow
of the British Horological Society. Christianson discusses watch repair
in this column each month. Questions, suggestions and comments can be sent
toProfessional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia,
PA 19102, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Questions ANSWERED
Q: Will daily winding of the automatic and
manual timepieces harm the watches on display in my store? (received via
A: Your concern is quite justified. Winding
your display watches on a daily basis will definitely cause undue wear and
tear, cheating your client of a part of the watch's lifetime. It's a good
idea to partially wind them occasionally, once a week will do, to keep the
oils in their place.
If the watch has been in the case for three years, it's a good idea to
have it serviced before selling it. Regular servicing of your watches on
a three- or four- year basis will extend their lifetime indefinitely.
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.