How to change custom leather watch straps on your Panerai Radiomir watch
Just received a new handmade watch strap for your Panerai? The first leather strap change can be daunting, especially on a Radiomir. In the following post I'll instruct you on how to change your new custom watch band without scratching or damaging your beautiful Panerai watch.
Radiomir Panerai watches use a wire lug system that's comprised of 5 parts each that hold your custom Panerai strap in place on the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock sides of the watch: 2x screws, 2x lug wires and 1x lug wire collar. Panerai does not provide a screwdriver with the Radiomir watches, but you can get one here and with just a little practice change watch straps very easily on the Radiomirs.
Necessary items for a smooth Radiomir Panerai watch strap change:
- The watch
- A correctly sized custom watch strap, such as any of the Fine Leather watch straps I make
- A high quality 1.4mm screwdriver
- A soft, clean surface to work on
- Optional: Clear scotch tape
If you don't have a Radiomir sized screwdriver for your watch strap change I sell them here.
Steps to successfully changing your Radiomir Panerai watch strap:
1. Lay your Panerai Radiomir face down on a soft surface such as a towel. Using a large towel is a good idea so that if you drop a small screw or collar during your watch band swap it won't bounce away.
2. (Optional) To avoid scratches resulting from a screwdriver slip during your strap change, put a single piece of scotch tape across the back of each side of your Panerai, covering both screws on either side of the watch. This will not prevent all scratches, but will reduce the likelihood.
3. Take your high quality 1.4mm screwdriver and poke it right through the tape over the screws holding the lug wires in place and gently back each screw out of only one side of the case (do not remove all 4 lug screws at once, only do one side of the strap at a time). Note: Do NOT completely remove the screws! The screws only need to be backed out enough to release the lug wires, they do NOT need to be completely backed out. Backing the screws completely out makes them much harder to reinstall. Back them out just enough to free the lug wires, no more, and reinstallation will be much easier.
4. Grab the strap and gently wiggle it and the lug wires out of the Radiomir watch case.
5. Grab each one of the lug wires, which are still seated in the leather strap, and pull them out. Note: There are very small rubber gaskets around the tip of each lug wire, be careful not to accidentally pull them off, they're hard to find once they pop off.
6. There is a small metal collar that provides support to the lug wires where they meet inside the leather strap. Sometimes it will come out still mounted on one of the lug wires, if you don't see it it's stuck inside the strap. Use your screwdriver or a flattened out paperclip to push the collar out of the watch strap.
7. Get your new custom leather Panerai strap and lay it face down near the watch. Mount the collar on the tip of one of the lug wires.
8. Push that lug wire into the strap. Be sure the small notches in the tip of the lug wire that came out of the Radiomir Panerai are facing "up" (towards the back of the watch strap).
9. Push the other lug wire into the opposite side of your handmade leather Panerai strap, try to feel the collar and get the tip of the wire lug into it
10. Check that the collar is seated on both lug wires by grabbing their tips and squeezing in towards the middle of the watch band. There should be very little play, if the two tips tilt into towards each other easily they are not properly seated in the collar
11. Holding the strap/lug wire combo as pictures, gently work the lug wire tips back into your Panerai Radiomir watch. This will take some patience at first as the wires need to be a specific distance apart and inserted at a specific angle. Go slow and take your time.
12. Carefully screw the lug wire screws back in place.
13. Spin your watch around and repeat steps 1 - 12 on the other side. When completed, remove the tape and voila! You've successfully mounted your first of many handmade custom Panerai straps!
With time and practice you'll find that changing watch straps on the Radiomir Panerai watches becomes second nature. You'll be able to improve the looks and style of your Radiomirs with a different custom leather, shark or canvas watch strap in no time.