This is a request we hear often. "Can one of the permanent links be removed from the 6 o'clock side of an Oyster bracelet." The answer is Yes. This is how.
Shown here is a bracelet from a 16600 Sea Dweller but you will find it to be very similar for nearly all 5 digit and some 4 digit sport models. With all the extension links removed from the 6 o'clock side that still leaves 5 none adjustable links. Sure the micro adjustments at the clasp will allow one to size the bracelet down but it leaves the claso sitting off center on the wrist and is uncomfortable for many.
We've heard many different ideas of how to remedy this, this is what we've found to be the most practical.
First the rivet securing the flip lock is cut. (photo not shown).
Once cut, the flip lock is free and we will unscrew the 5th link (attachment link) that was once riveted to the clasp and flip lock. We have our staking tool pointing right at the piece we are referring to.
Once removed we will need to re-attach the the flip lock and clasp to the 4th link. It's the last link at the end now that we removed the attachment link. We like to insert a sleeve inside the 4th link. This creates a pivot point that will allow the new rivet (we will be making) to spin inside the sleeve rather than grinding on the inside of the 4th link.
This is something Rolex failed to consider when designing the Oyster bracelet. Here is a photo of the damage a rivet can do to a link (seen here on their later release Oyster 93250). It's amazing how much damage a rivet can do to a solid steel link without some type of relief. We want to slow this process down and a sleeve will do exactly that.
With sleeve inserted it's time to make a rivet! This is done the old fashion way. One solid 316L steel rod, anvil, and a ball peen hammer. It's a simple process of hammering away at the very edge of the steel rod until we create a mushroom head. The steel holder prevents the rod from bending or buckling in the middle.
Once we have the head where we like it, we test fit the pieces together. This is the opposite side of the steel rod. We will need to make the mushroom head on this side as well.
Now we need to grind the rivet down to the desired length. You can see our handy holder we made with our laser welding to help hold the bracelet upright during this process.
After much hammering we have mushroom head #2. We will clean the area up with a Cratex wheel and satin wheel to disguise the tool marks.
And there you have it. 4 links on the 6 o'clock side. With our tooling we could even go as far as 3 links on this side if so desired. Nothing was damaged and this is totally reversible in the future. Making rivets is a standard watchmaker skillset so there's someone in every city that can make one should this need to be reversed.