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Rolex Bracelet Fitting - Bracelet Reference

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Rolex Bracelet Adjustment Reference

Clasp Holes Old-New Screwdriver Horotec Hollow Ground


Rolex Watch Submariner GMTII After wearing my GMT II for more than a year, I was perplexed on how I can get the watch head to stay centered on the top of my wrist. After looking at the clasp hinge adjusting holes, I realized that adding links and moving the hinge to another set of holes in the clasp allows for more precise fitting. I realized that varying link number and hole combinations create variations that do not seem intuitive at first glance.


Rolex Watch Buckles The clasp hinge on GMT and the Submariner are of the same length, but the main differences are in the clasp cover. The clasp cover is longer, but the increased length is the difference in an extra oyster link.


There are a couple of noticeable differences between the clasps. The clasp length differs shown in the length difference in A on the Submariner clasp (top) marked "A" and the GMT clasp (bottom) marked "B".
Also, the clasp holes pretty much line up on both clasps. Upon closer inspection, you will see that the holes on the GMT clasp are not evenly spaced apart like on the Submariner clasp, and the GMT clasp has an extra hole. The spacing on the GMT hole 1 and 2 are closer together than the holes on the rest of the clasp

Utilizing the clasp and the bracelet on my GMT II and my Sub, I measured the bracelet length using every combination of links and clasp holes. I measured from end of oyster link- to-end of oyster link omitting the Solid End Link (SEL).

Below is a chart showing the bracelet length. Each measurement measures from oyster link-to-oyster link omitting the Solid End Link (SEL), and using the hole 1 - 5 progression shown above.

Bracelet Length in Centimeters - GMT Master II

Number of Removable Links
Hole #
* GMT only






Bracelet Length in Centimeters - Submariner

Number of Removable Links
Hole #
* GMT only






Looking at these numbers reveals two findings as follows:

- The bracelet lengths are very similar between the Submariner and the GMT. Although the clasp on the Submariner is longer, the half-link combined with the other half link length used in the divers extension is what accounts for the difference keeping the overall bracelet length approximately the same.

- The wearer can add links to slightly lengthen the overall bracelet length in increments smaller or larger than using the clasp holes exclusively. For example, if a GMT wearer has two links, using hole 3, the bracelet length is 13.2. To make the bracelet slightly longer, the wearer can add a link and move the hinge to hole 2 to 13.8.


I also discovered where the oyster links sits over the hinge makes a difference. In the top picture, the hinge is on the edge of the oyster link.




In the middle picture, the hinge is moved over one hole in the clasp moving the hinge to the center of the link.



I found that the hinge becomes a fulcrum and the oyster link cantilevers off the side of the hinge thus making the band feel tighter and pulling the watch head/12 o'clock to the side of the wrist.

I found that by adding a link, moving the hinge from the fourth hole to the first, the oyster link now rested better on the hinge as in the top picture.

To add an entirely different twist, there are other combinations available if one flips the direction of the clasp. By removing the link screws on each side of the clasp, flipping the clasp in the other direction, and replacing the link screws moves the hinge to a different place on the wrist. Some small wristed Rolex wearers have indicated that flipping the clasp makes all the difference. On a non-locking clasp, I might have some reservations with the clasp cover inadvertently getting caught on something and flipping open, but on a locking clasp, that fear is not warranted.

It's worth trying different clasp holes and link combinations. After discovering and trying all the combinations, I found a combination that makes my GMT ride much better


Removing a Link

If all else fails, there is the option of removing a link. There is a special tool that some AD's have that will remove a link. By removing a link, this will give you an entirely different set of variations with the bracelet clasp adjustment holes.
Rolex Link Removed Side
Rolex Link Removed Side 2
Rolex Link Removed Top
Rolex Link Removed Clasp

These images show one permanent link removed from the 6:00 o'clock side. The top left images shows only four links. The transition between the permanent link and the removable link is barely noticeable. thetuk on The Rolex Forums shared these images. He has a 6.5" wrist and removing a link from the 6:00 o'clock side centers the clasp on the underside of the wrist in a more comfortable position and the bracelet does not cantilever off the side of the clasp hinge.

An Authorized Dealer with a watchmaker on staff, a Rolex Service Center, or two good sets of locking pliers (vicegrips) can remove a permanent link. A watchmaker offered to do this with my GMTII bracelet, but he indicated that once a link is removed, that it cannot be replaced (unless by an RSC). The watchmaker also indicated that a bracelet with a permanent link removed does not devalue the watch in any way.

Edward in Houston Texas showed on The Rolex Forums a DIY for removing an Oyster link. The traditional bracelets does not allow for removing the link that is riveted.


Because of the length of the clasp and one cannot removed a permanent riveted link, the clasp cantilevers off center.

Off Center


As the watch bracelet hangs, it is obvious one side is longer than the other with all the removable links removed.

Riveted Link


Using the tried and true vicegrips.

Required Tools


Clamp the vicegrips on each side of the link and pull it apart. The link is non-usable, but they rarely are once removed.

Pull Apart


Reattach the bracelet, and note it hangs evenly.

Now Even


The side profile shot does not show transition between the removed link and the rest of the links.

Can't Tell


With a permanent link removed, the clasp now rests in the center.

Now Centered
The watch head now lies flat, and is not pulled over to the 12 o'clock side like before. Centered on Wrist


Anders on The Rolex Forums posted another method for removing a permanent link by using two diagonal cutting pliers.

These images show the concept only as the bracelet is still on the watch, but for this procedure, first remove the bracelet and the clasp, and tape the remaining links to prevent scratches.


Cutting Rolex Oyster Link


Use two diagonal cutting pliers to separate the link from the interior bars that are pressed into the outside link.

Cutting Rolex Oyster Link


Once the link separates from the interior bars, you can pull it apart.


Cutting Rolex Oyster Link

Difference between the traditional and new Rolex bracelet clasps

Rolex bracelet length

One significant difference between the traditional "tuna-can" style clasps and the milled clasps found on the new GMTs, Milgauss, TOGs, and the redesigned Submariner and DeepSea is that rather than the clasp being riveted to an oyster link, it is held by a screw.

The advantage with a screwed clasp is that for smaller wrists, it is easy to have four links on the 6:00 o'clock side rather than minimum five links on the traditional bracelet.

The GMT-C band on the left has four links, whereas the traditional GMT band on the right has five links.


Clasp Differences


The top photo (on left) shows a GMTII clasp and the screw that secures it to a solid oyster link.


The bottom photo (on left) shows how the traditional clasp is held to the oyster link by a rivet.

The traditional link on the right is riveted directly on the clasp, not allowing the removal of the link.

Lies Flat For smaller wristed wearers, rather than having a link permanently removed as in the photo set above, it is easy to move a removable link from the 6:00 o'clock side and put on the 12:00 o'clock side such that there are 4 links on one side, and five links on the other side. By having 4 links on the 6:00 o'clock side, the band does not cantilever against the folding component of the bracelet clasp causing the clasp to stick up. The clasp cover is not quite centered on the wrist, but the clasp hinge is (underside of the band) allowing the entire clasp to lie flat.
Lies Flat Centered


Oyster Link Screwdriver - SeaDweller Tool Kit

Sea Dweller Screwdriver

My favorite tool for removing oyster bracelet screws is the screw driver provided in the SeaDweller tool kits. These tool kits can be found on eBay.

Inside the screwdriver is a spare oyster link screw.

Fits Screw Heads Perfectly The screwdriver is the only tool that I have found that fits the oyster screws exactly.
SD Tool in Bracelet The SD screwdriver has a tip that works well inside the new clasps to make microadjustments.


Horotec Hollow Ground Blade Screwdriver

Horotec Hollow Tip

The Horotec 1.6mm screwdriver with hollow ground blade is also a great tool available at Otto Frei as well as other tool suppliers.
Hollow Tip
The screwdrivers all have scalloped, hollow ground blades that fit the Rolex bracelet screw precisely. A blade that has a chisel point will not work well and result is gummed-up screw heads.
The 1.6mm screwdrivers are available at Otto Frei here. The screwdriver is part number MSA 01.201-160, and be sure to order the correct hollow ground blade with is part number MSA 01.202-T160

Other Methods

Rubber Dot  




There is also the option of using a rubber dot in the clasp. I discovered this trick with a Rolex SeaDweller.


More information on the clasp dot is here.

Caseback Pad  
Caseback Pad Done

Another method for adjusting the fit and lenght of your bracelet is by using a Hirsch cseback pad.

Click here for the DIY page on Caseback Pads.



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