How Can I Change a Link in a Cartier Santos?

Founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, the cartier watch company is among the top producers of luxury watches worldwide. In 1904, the founder's grandson, Louis Cartier, pioneered the world's first men's wristwatch for Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Known as the Cartier Santos, this watch would go on to be one of Cartier's most popular and enduring designs. If you have a damaged link in your Cartier Santos band, you can expect to pay up to $2,500 to order a new band from the manufacturer. Save time and money by changing the damaged band link at home.

Repair Watch Band

Before attempting to repair your Cartier Santos watch band, set up a workstation where you can comfortably complete your repairs. Perform the watch band repair in a well-lit room of your home on a desk, table or other clean, flat surface. You should always take precautions to protect your Cartier Santos watch face from being scratched or scuffed while you repair its band.

A simple way to do this is to spread a soft cloth over your workstation and lay your Cartier Santos face-down on it. Instead of the metal pins which are used to join the links in most metal watch bands, Cartier band links are joined by a hollow tube with a small screw in each end. Look between the links on either side of the link you want to change to locate the small screws that hold it in place. These screws can be removed with an optical-sized flathead screwdriver but you should work carefully to avoid stripping the screws. Keep the removed link screws on a small magnet while you're working on your watch band. The screws are minuscule and very difficult to find if dropped.

Once the screws have been removed, take out the desired watch link and put in the replacement link. Fit the replacement watch link between its neighboring links and reinsert the small screws. Carefully tighten the screws to secure the replacement link in your Cartier Santos watch band. Now the band on your Cartier Santos watch should be as good as new.