Did you ever get yourself an awesome new watch strap only to discover it needs another hole to fit you properly? This is particularly an issue for us slim-wristed individuals. Take it from me: there are better solutions to this problem than ruining your strap with the likes of a knife or corkscrew. The minor downside is that it probably requires you buying some specific equipment; the upside is that it's relatively cheap, quick and easy to do.
Why Do You Need a Special Tool?
You want a special tool for putting holes in your watch band — rather than just using, say, a hammer and nail — because it's important that the holes are actually cut rather than simply punctured. This keeps the edges of the hole clean instead of ripped, frayed and ugly.
Types of Tools for Punching Holes in Watch Straps
Hole-punching tools come in a few varieties: the first look like an awl, with a handle and different-sized bits to attach to the end. This type of tool feels a bit more primitive, as you need to apply pressure to the material (keeping a cloth on the surface beneath the strap) with your own strength or weight — not that this takes an inordinate amount of elbow grease.
Another kind of tool will feel familiar to anyone who had a hole puncher in school for putting handouts into binders. Some basic examples punch only a single size of hole while others have a rotating wheel with a range of different sizes to select from.
What to Look For
Make sure that the tool you get can punch an appropriately sized hole, which is usually one that's about 2mm in diameter or smaller. You can find tools especially made for watch straps, but ones that also have lager bits for things like belt holes will often suffice.
Which Straps Can You Punch Holes In?
The tools made for punching holes in the likes of watch straps are generally intended for leather, but we all know that watch straps come in a range of materials. Rubber straps shouldn't present much of a problem, but nylon NATO straps and such will greet you with frayed fibers. Some people have used the fine tip of a soldering iron to seal these edges — but try this at your own risk.
You're all ready to start perforating your strap and strapping it on — but not so fast. Unless you've got experience already, it's advisable to practice punching a few holes on some scrap material (should you have some laying around) that's similar to that of your watch strap.
Use something like a ruler and pencil to mark the exact spot you want to punch, measuring the distances of existing holes and lining up your hole with them. Then get a feel for actually punching the holes in your scrap material until the action feels familiar. This way you'll be ready to repeat it on the strap itself and punch a hole that's nicely spaced, centered and sharp-looking.