So I got my first Swatch watch and I did say in my last but one Post review that the rubber strap was pretty comfortable – and so it is. However that said, one of the issues with thickish rubber straps and large buckles (as the Irony Swatch watch here has) is the strap is a little bulky and the result is the watch doesn’t always lie as flat as one might like.
But what to do? Especially as Swatch watches tend to have those non-standard case/strap fittings, which is all very fine but replacement straps have to be Swatch and in fact a nice after market earner for Swatch with third party ones short on the ground. That said, Swatch are one of the few around that don’t charge silly prices for their replacement straps, but you might like I do here, want an alternative for your own reasons. And with the Irony series the “dovetail” fittings are often tricky to replace if you go do off OEM.
However as I’ve just found out, it’s not impossible. If you have reasonable do-it-yourself craft knife skills, you can make a standard, easily sourced strap fit OK. And it’s not rocket science, believe me.
One measurement is required initially to determine the basic strap size and that’s to measure the overall width of the strap where it meets the Swatch case – or more accurately the outer edge of the lug to lug distance measurement is required initially to determine the basic strap size and that’s to measure the overall width of the strap where it meets the Swatch case – or more accurately the outer edge of the lug to lug distance.
Once you have checked it and in the case of this Irony model would you believe it – it’s just about 23 mm wide and not your average size. So basically we’re either using 22mm or 24mm strap and in this case the 22 mm fits OK. The larger size is too wide for the case/strap fitting and looks wrong.
To remove the original strap – simply push the pin inwards until it sticks out the other end. Then grip the protruding end with pliers and pull the pin straight out. The strap is now clear of the watch case as shown above.
Note that the Swatch strap end is quite thick with a rounded profile compared to normal straps, but fortunately the 22 mm Silicon deployment strap is thick enough to manage. Taking note of the cut dovetails in the end of the Swatch strap and using a craft knife or similar with the original strap as a template, cut through the gaps to make a copy of the dovetail shape on the new strap.
This is THE most important and delicate part of the operation, so take care! Be careful not to make the slots too long – otherwise when offered to the case there will be unsightly gaps. Too short however and you won’t be able to push the new strap in far enough to locate the pin. But err on the small side anyway – you can always cut more if required.
Once done, it should look pretty much like the original dovetail strap from Swatch, as shown.
Do the same for the other end of the strap and you are good to go.
Offer the new strap up to the case, hold it tight in against the case and once aligned, slip the pin in as far as it will go. Then simply hold the watch towards a hard surface and push down gently, keeping the strap end well into the dovetail slots on the case – the pin slides in and you’re done.
IMPORTANT – although with rubber straps it’s easy as they are almost self-lubricating, other materials may be stiffer. So when pushing the pin in and be gentle at first, then steadily push the pin STRAIGHT in till it’s just within the case hole. If your watch case is steel or aluminum it’s easy, but take extra care if your case is plastic – they could split if forced.
However with some silicon deployment straps the hole is slightly larger than Swatch pin holes so it’ll easily slide in. Also don’t worry about the pin falling out – you have a total of 7 aligned holes to slide the pin through, 4 rigid metal ones and 3 flexible silicon ones – the pin has to go though them all – friction alone holds it secure.
However the maxim in this operation is “take care” and if you do then it should really not be a problem.
So there you are – a little bit of do it yourself, with only a pair of pliers (to pull out the pin) a sharp craft knife (mine is an old Stanley) a standard 22 mm silicon deployment strap from Ebay and a Swatch replacement strap is certainly doable.
Note – My first effort with the spare 24 mm green strap though pleased with my copy template idea, which worked, the strap was too wide for the watch. My next attempt with the 22 mm black one is just about perfect and took me just 10 minutes from start to finish.
A business opportunity? Well maybe for somebody – but me – I’m retired!
OK here’s the update –
Got myself a new 22 mm silicon deployment strap on Ebay, removed my temporary Black deployment as I wanted to replicate the original color idea of this Swatch model, hence the “green” as it’s the nearest tone I could get.
Cut ii as before and slid the pins in and all went OK. Have to admit the new green strap looks just great and compliments the dial color scheme as it should.