Repairing Expansion Bands

March 1999

Timepieces:Education & Repair

Repairing Expansion Bands

Many new models require a few extra steps

By David Christianson
Certified Master Watchmaker
President, American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute

As the popularity of expansion bands continues to, well, expand, you've no doubt been asked at some point to custom-fit or repair one. We discussed repairing basic models of Hirsch Speidel bands in the December issue (p. 56). Now let's look at how to repair some newer models that require extra steps.

Wide Caps
As noted in the earlier column, the company makes one model of bands featuring top caps wider than the bottom links. To remove the required number of links from these bands, it's best to remove the top caps entirely.

Turn the band inside out and spread the links apart with one hand. With a thin blade, open the four tabs that hold the top cap in place. Then count the number of links you need to remove and perform the same operation on the very next top cap. Open up the adjoining bottom link end along the same edge as the now-uncapped links. Slide out both links, and those between them will slide away also. You've now removed all the links required to size or repair the bracelet.

To replace the links, straighten the tabs with needlenose pliers. Slip the caps back on the links. Make sure the caps slip into their four tabs and fold the tabs back down.

Angled Flaps
Speidel also makes a band with an end flap on each end of the cap. Instead of folding the end flap open (which may distort the metal), slip the thin blade under the edge of the top end piece, pry the lower end down and pop off the upper cap.

With the cap removed, an adjacent lower link end flap can be opened. Remove the U-clip and the band will be separated. To replace the cap, hook it to one side of the link and snap the other side of the cap down over the other side of the link. Restore the angle by folding the flap inward toward the bottom link.

David A. Christianson is fourth-generation owner of Christianson Jewelry, Kendallville, IN. In addition to serving as president of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, he is a certified master watchmaker and a fellow of the British Horological Society. He discusses watch repair for the sales staff in this column each month. Send questions, suggestions and comments toProfessional Jeweler,1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102;

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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