Deployment as replacement

Regular followers of my blog will know that I have thing for comfort regarding watches.  So often watches come with less than perfect straps and bracelets that whilst perhaps, and even this is debatable, are made to “look” good and compliment the model in question, but unfortunately simply do not fit  the wrist properly.  Or more accurately – they don’t fit or suit my or perhaps your wrist!

This is especially true of the “utility” watches I own and I quite often replace the supplied fittings.  Perhaps they are very thick or stiff leather, or heavy wavelike rubber more suited for wearing over neoprene wet suits or sometimes a plastic or textile poor quality affair that either becomes brittle or  unravels.  So I tend to replace these with a silicon rubber deployment strap.  These are fairly low cost, easily available and generally made to a similar standard and once fitted are very easy to use and extremely comfortable.  I tend to prefer a twin button release version with a safety overlap clasp as shown here.

Typical silicon/rubber deployment fold-over strap.

Typical silicon/rubber deployment fold-over strap.

The strap basically is made of silicon rubber and slightly tapers down from the lug ends to the deployment clasp.  There are around 14 slot holes across the strap that accept the spring bar and can be cut to fit the length required.  Note on the ends are supplied new spring bars protruding out from the lug fixing ends as you see above.

Deployment and fold-over safety clasp

Deployment and fold-over safety clasp

Now fitting these is by no means “rocket science” and is quite simple.

Note twin button release

Note twin button release

The straps come with two spring bars, obviously the right length, as you will have first checked the distance between the lugs (the strap width) and ordered for example, a 20mm deployment strap.  They are generally available as 18mm, 20mm, 22mm and 24mm, though it may be possible to get others outside this range, this tends to be the usual.

As you can see the strap fits to the deployment mechanism also with small spring bars and there are usually 3 alternative positions on the deployment fitting which allows you to adjust the strap for a more perfect fit once you’ve cut the strap to the approximate size required.

I usually remove the old strap and fit both the free ends of the new deployment to the watch using either the new spring bars or the old ones, whichever fits best – note sometimes the original watch fittings may be either too thin or too thick, so I prefer myself to use the new ones. Once you’ve fitted the strap it will of course, unless you have Neanderthal wrists, be far too big and loose.  Simply wrap your other hand around it and squeeze it to your wrist to see how it should look.  This will give you an idea how much to cut from both sides and to make sure the positioning of the flat metal work is against the centre of the inside of the wrist.  You then use your scissors and cut down the edge of the slotted holes in one side of the strap (take care not to run too close to the edge of the groove – you may cut into the hole itself).

If this is the first time you’ve attempted this, take less off than you think at first, because you can cut more off as you go along, trying it out on your wrist as you go.

Once you’ve cut one side check the other and cut it to size as required.  I’ll repeat that you should try to make sure that the deployment clasp is positioned more or less against the centre part of your wrist and not off to one side – this would not be comfortable at all.

Where to scissor cut the strap.

Where to scissor cut the strap.

Cut points - select a point to suit you on each side of the watch.

Cut points – select a point to suit you on each side of the watch.

It is important however to get the right end of the strap to the correct lugs on the watch.  Looking at the watch from the front with the 12 at the top, the top lugs should be fitted to the end of the strap which has the deployment swivel and button release mechanism – AS IMAGE ABOVE.

This can be seen in all the watches in the next image.

Look for the 12 o’clock position of each model shown here and note how the deployment swivel end fitting is attached to that lug side (note – these are shown for a left wrist watch wearer).

Examples of deployment fitted watches

Examples of deployment fitted watches

So as said, no rocket science here, but care should still be taken.  Always cut the strap, if this is the first time you’ve done this, a bit at a time.  Once youv’e done both ends, try it – if it’s still too big, decide which side is the one to cut a little more from and try again. You can always shorten a little more as you go – too much and you’ll end up buying another strap!  But if you’ve never tried a silicon rubber deployment strap, why not try it.  They’re available on Ebay for example and don’t break the bank.  Also with so many of what I call “utility” black faced, sports, divers style and military watches around, these suit them very well – but importantly once fitted these will also now be really comfortable to wear.  Note they are available in different colors, though black is the most common.  They also come in various textures, though for me I always seem to end up with the same one – with the parallel lines.

A simple post this time and perhaps a little bit simplistic for many, but you would be surprised at how many watch wearers have sold off watches as not suitable, when it was actually the strap and not the watch.

So if you’re lucky enough to get a new watch for Christmas and you discover that the strap or bracelet just isn’t right – don’t despair – maybe a change of strap might just solve the problem.  Anyway good luck. . . .!

Note – Not all watches can take standard replacement straps – some are special fittings or integral to the particular watch.  Check that a standard spring bar lug and strap fitting is possible before trying the above.


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