9 Best Spring Bar Tools for Your Watch
The vast majority of watches feature spring bars. These are small metal bars with springs that are attached to the lugs of the watch whose purpose is to hold the watch strap or bracelet in place. The spring bars are the safety point that keeps your watch secure on your wrist.
For various reasons, you may want to remove the spring bars from your watch. The great thing about removable spring bars is that they allow you to easily change between straps. This allows you to mix and match the straps with your outfit, current mood, or activity. It also allows you to give your watch a new life and give it a completely new look.
But removing the spring bars can be quite a difficult task without the right tools. Spring bars are small and in many cases, it can be difficult to get access to them as they may be covered by the strap which is attached to them. Furthermore, in modern times, it has become more common for manufacturers to remove the lug holes (the holes that pierce the lugs from the side of the lugs). The pierced lugs enabled easy access to the spring bars, but the downside is that they don’t make for a seamless watch case design (although many collectors and enthusiasts actually love the pierced lugs, that is a topic for a different article).
With that said, the biggest challenge when removing the spring bars from your watch is to avoid scratching the lugs. Without the right tools, it can easily happen that you slip with the tool, or not get a good grip and access to the spring bar, which causes you to scratch the back of the lugs. A solution for this is to put tape on the back of the lugs, which can help a bit. But the best solution is actually to use the right, qualitative and high-precision tools.
By having the right tools, you minimize the risk of scratching and damaging the lugs or watch. As a matter of fact, the right tool makes it so much easier to remove them. You’ll be surprised at how big of a difference it has!
How to Choose a watch spring bar tool
The market is full of watch spring bar tools of many different types of designs. The most basic is the pen-like spring bar tool which has a carved-out end that is made to get a good grip on the spring bar. To use a spring bar tool, the goal is to get a grip on the spring bar, press it inwards so that the spring inside contracts, and then pull it out from the lugs and remove the strap or bracelet.
The most qualitative spring bar tools, often used by watchmakers come in the form of tweezers that allow you to grip the spring bar from both ends at the same time. By doing this, you minimize the risk of leaving marks on the lugs as you push in the spring bar from both ends at the same time, enabling you to carefully remove it without any contact with the watch case. This is naturally the best option if you want to preserve your watch, but with that said, they also tend to be more expensive.
You may say that there are three types of spring bar tools on the market. First, we have the most basic pen-style tool that has a fork design at the tip so that you remove the spring bar from one side at a time. The second type of spring bar tool is the more professional tweezer-style which allows you to get a good grip on the spring bar from both sides at the same time. Lastly, we have the most advanced type of spring bar tool which removes the spring bar from both sides but is adjusted via an adjustment that keeps it in a locked position and thus prevents you from sliding.
All of these tools do the job, but there is certainly a big difference in the way that they do the job. If you want the best, you should opt for a spring bar tool that removes the spring bar from both sides at the same time.
We also want to highlight the fact that there is a huge difference in the quality of the spring bar tools on the market. Two tools may look identical, where one is much more affordable than the other. But most often, these are not the same. The more expensive alternatives offer a greater level of precision, but also durability. Low-quality spring bar tools may break, become crooked, or lose their precision. Our best advice is therefore not to compromise with the spring bar tool you choose because you will certainly notice a difference.
Best spring bar tools
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This is the watch spring bar tool for professional watchmakers. Bergeon is a Swiss watch brand tool that most watchmakers today use. They are among the best in the industry and will enable you to remove the spring bars in the best way possible. This tool has fine forked tips to reach narrow openings as small as 1mm. This makes it great even for watches where the strap may cover parts of the spring bar, making it difficult to access.
Watch our video on how to use the Bergeon 7825 tweezers:
This is not the most basic spring bar tool, but it is a pen-shaped spring bar tool which means you have to remove the spring bar by accessing it from one side. The catch with this is that it may cause the spring bar to fly away, or scratch the lugs.
The benefit of this tool is that it comes with several spare tips, as well as tips with different shapes. This makes it easier to find a tip that is the best fit for your watch and its spring bars, allowing for optimal grip and access.
This is the most basic spring bar tool which is very straightforward. It is cheap and small. This may be the best option if you have a watch where you don’t worry too much if the lugs get a few scratches. However, that is not to say that this tool must lead to scratches. It just means that it can be more difficult to avoid scratches when using this tool. A buyer wrote, “This tool is a little smaller than I expected but it does what it’s built for.”. And that is exactly what it does. It gets the job done.
This is a more basic watch spring bar tool from Bergeon. As Bergeon is known for, it is of course high quality and offers great precision. The tool features a round stainless steel handle with knurled grip areas machined into the handle for easy grip. The tool is 148 mm long with the tool ends inserted. The tool has replaceable ends.
This is one of the best tools for removing spring bars from your watch. The benefit that this tool has over the basic ones, as well as the tweezers, is that it locks by turning a screw. What this function enables is that you can adjust it to the specific size you need. It also minimizes the risk of slipping and losing grip on the spring bar. Included in the set are 8 needles that you can easily replace in case they lose their shape and thus grip. There are many other different versions of this plier tool from a number of different brands and makers – but their purpose is the same.
W&S Spring Bar Plier Tool
The W&S spring bar plier tool offers the design and function that we recommend the most, meaning you remove the spring bars from both sides simultaneously, but also can adjust the width of the opening of the tool in order to prevent slipping. It features adjustable tips which allow you to change the tips based on the watch and its spring bars. It comes with 3 different reversible pin-end fork sizes. Furthermore, it can be adjusted to any spring bar width up to 30mm (5mm to 30mm). With that said, it is a high-quality spring bar tool that works for most watches.
W&S Spring Bar Tool
This W&S spring bar tool stands out from all the other spring bar tools with a similar design thanks to its quality. The tool has a qualitative and robust feel to it with a grained gripping surface for improved grip to prevent slipping. It also comes with two protective end-tip covers to make it more practical to store and travel with.
For use on all kinds of different watches, it can be used with 3 different style tips and also has 2 extra pins.
Bergeon 7767-S Watch Spring Bar Tool
This is a small and compact spring bar tool, but one that offers the quality and durability that we have come to expect from all of Bergeon’s products. It has a robust and hefty feel to it and offers great precision. This tool is easy and quick to use and is suitable for when you quickly want to remove the spring bars from a watch.
Bergeon 55-152 Spring Bar Tool
Last but not least, we have the Bergeon 55-152 spring bar tool which is a small and convenient tool for quickly removing the spring bars on your watch. It is constructed in solid steel for a qualitative and robust feel to it that ensures long-lasting quality. The spring bar tool has a fine point & fork where the standard point is 0.8mm Diameter and the standard fork 1mm Wide.
Consider the nibs
Most watch spring bar tools come with a set of different nibs which allows you to adjust the tip of the tool depending on your watch. This is because different watches are designed in a way that the tip works differently well. If you have a watch with pierced lug, you need a tool with a straight nib with which you can push in the spring bar from the outside of the lug. This is the easiest and most effortless design, but far from all watches have it.
Then you have different types of fork designs that work differently well. My personal favorite is the tips that have a flat fork design, for example, the one you can see on the Selizo Spring Bar Tool. This often makes it easier to slide the fork between the spring bar and get a better grip.
Not all tools are created equal
As discussed earlier, not all tools are created equal. This is why it’s generally worth investing slightly more to get a tool with higher precision and greater quality. The most affordable tools tend to wear out rather quickly, thus affecting precision. In the worst case, they may even break or get damaged whilst using them. It may seem like a good idea to opt for a really cheap one, but unless you have a really cheap watch that you don’t care much about, choosing a better spring bar tool is usually a better idea as it will reduce the risk of scratching and damaging the watch.
Do all watches use spring bars?
Not all watches use spring bars, but the vast majority of them do. The ones that do not have spring bars generally offer limited strap options, and the strap options are often limited to straps made specifically by that brand. With this said, most people who have watches that do not use spring bars don’t tend to change them too often. You can easily see if your watch uses spring bars by turning the watch around and seeing if the strap or bracelet is attached using spring bars or some kind of different solution such as screws.
How do you remove a spring bar without a tool?
If your watch has pierced lugs, you can manage to remove the spring bars without any tools, for example by using a toothpick since all you need to do is push the spring bar from the hole. But if you have a regular spring bar construction, it is not advised to avoid using a tool since doing this will be both difficult and can substantially increase the risk of scratching and damaging your watch.