Home Forums Hints, Tips and Tricks Opening a Watch Case

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #49158
    david pierce

      Opening a screw-on watch back is obvious, you simply unscrew it. The trick to opening this type of case without scratching the watch is to use the proper tool which is a spanner wrench. The snap on case is a whole other matter. When I would open one that was a little too tight I usualy ended up scratching the watch with the pry knife. I solved the problem by putting the watch on a rubber pad holding it in a vertical position. Then I place the opening knife on the crack between the watch back and the case. Next I take a small watchmaker hammer and gently tap the knife straight into the crack and work my way around the watch. Once a space is opened up I can gently pry the back away from the case without scratching it.


        My aunty does voluntary work for a charity shop. She sends me all of the watches that come in and I put batteries in them and check them over for free. I quite often have this problem getting the backs open on these snap backs and I do pretty much the same as you. My case opening tool was way too thick on the opening edge when I bought it so I had to do some work with a stone to get it down to a useable thickness but now it is a good useable tool. if I still have trouble I then revert to a small screwdriver and tap that in gently until the back pops.

        bernie weishapl

          Thanks David.


            great tip David….I heard that somewhere and have found that it works great. William


              Although this thread might be old I’d like to add my .02!

              For snap back cases there is nothing better than this tool. It actually won’t let you scratch them. The trick with a screw back is to place a nylon bag or piece of fabric between the back and the spanner tool.


                Just wanted to say hi and welcome to this forum to bobm. I have read and responded to some of his posts over at watch repair talk forum which has some great videos if some of you haven’t seen them yet.


                  On many screw back cases I use the old sticky ball. It gets about 50% of them off and it’s much easier to get them back on using the ball also. Just make sure it’s tight enough on the water-proof watches to create a good seal. On the snap on backs one piece of advise is to always look around the edge for the little tab that most of them have. the little tab will help you get leverage to pry it off. I have scratched up many trying to get them open only to look closer and seeing the hidden tab (sometimes a small slot) and then it coming right off! My biggest problem has been getting them back on sometimes even with the proper tools.

                  P.S. the sticky ball also works great on pocket watch cases that have screw on fronts and backs. For those really hard cases go to your pharmacy and ask for the little round rubber pads they give to people with arthritis to open bottles with. I got one after hand surgery and use it all the time to get backs off pocket watches.They are usually around 6 to 7 inches round and also work great to open stubborn jar lids. Best of all many pharmacies put their advertisements on them and give them out for free!



                    For a long time I had the same troubles untill I got a watch case vice to put into the bench vice. This is a 4 posted circular vice you twist left or right depending on opening or closing the watch. The 4 little posts colse in on the watch holding it firmly then it is just a matter of putting some downward weight on the case opener and no more slipping. I also find a bezel remover dose a good job at opening press back watches.

                  Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
                  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.