Watch Case Opening Procedure

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  • #49401
    tukat44
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 8
    • Total Posts: 76

    Gentlemen, Thank you in advance for your help on this. I have not had good luck opening watch cases with the screw on backs. Bought the tool that adjusts with different shaped tips but am having issues because the tool is badly made and I did not want to buy another hoping it would be less sloppy- virtually every case I open or try to open gets scratched or damaged in some other way. I am thinking I need a bench mounted screw down type with lots of accessories, but am hesitant to buy one fearing I am still going to have the same problem of being unable to hold the watch case steady and being able to open the case without damage. Any advice would be appreciated. Regards,

    Tukat

    #61290
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    I hear ya joe, they are a pain and when, usually, the backs are tight, it’s a struggle.

    Cousins have a great selection. The best ones are the type that have a holder and a threaded unscrewing device, with a selection of attachments. Unfortunately, they aren’t cheap, but I did see one in action and it worked great on a watch that I couldn’t move the cover on.

    https://www.cousinsuk.com/category/screw-on-case-openers

    #61291
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    @tukat44 wrote:

    Gentlemen, Thank you in advance for your help on this. I have not had good luck opening watch cases with the screw on backs. Bought the tool that adjusts with different shaped tips but am having issues because the tool is badly made and I did not want to buy another hoping it would be less sloppy- virtually every case I open or try to open gets scratched or damaged in some other way. I am thinking I need a bench mounted screw down type with lots of accessories, but am hesitant to buy one fearing I am still going to have the same problem of being unable to hold the watch case steady and being able to open the case without damage. Any advice would be appreciated. Regards,

    Tukat

    Tukat:

    Before I spent a lot of money I would give this simple tool a try. When I first joined this forum I had a tough screw on pocket watch case back that just wouldn’t come off and someone recommended this tool. First, I used a needle and put some P Blaster on the seam and let it sit overnight. When I applied a little pressure with this tool, the thing came right off. I’ve used it many MANY times and it always worked for me.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vacuum-Pocket-Watch-Case-Opener-Watchmaker-Repair-Vacuumsuction-Tool-/231191811526?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35d41b15c6

    Later,
    Tom

    #61292
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    @tmac1956 wrote:

    @tukat44 wrote:

    Gentlemen, Thank you in advance for your help on this. I have not had good luck opening watch cases with the screw on backs. Bought the tool that adjusts with different shaped tips but am having issues because the tool is badly made and I did not want to buy another hoping it would be less sloppy- virtually every case I open or try to open gets scratched or damaged in some other way. I am thinking I need a bench mounted screw down type with lots of accessories, but am hesitant to buy one fearing I am still going to have the same problem of being unable to hold the watch case steady and being able to open the case without damage. Any advice would be appreciated. Regards,

    Tukat

    Tukat:

    Before I spent a lot of money I would give this simple tool a try. When I first joined this forum I had a tough screw on pocket watch case back that just wouldn’t come off and someone recommended this tool. First, I used a needle and put some PB Blaster on the seam and let it sit overnight. When I applied a little pressure with this tool, the thing came right off. I’ve used it many MANY times and it always worked for me.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vacuum-Pocket-Watch-Case-Opener-Watchmaker-Repair-Vacuumsuction-Tool-/231191811526?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35d41b15c6

    Later,
    Tom

    #61293
    tukat44
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 8
    • Total Posts: 76

    Chris, Thanks- Looks like I will be looking for one like you linked to, I will probably eventually pick something up like this because the cases I need to open are the waterproof type usually having a quartz movement and have notches on the back.

    Tom, Thanks for the little bit of insight- I probably am also going to get something like this a little sooner as I have a couple of vintage wristwatches that I think may be automatic wind types that have gold cases and smooth backs that I think this type will work well on.

    Has anyone had experience with the “Sticky Ball” type I see advertised as ***the best thing since sliced bread!!!*** and The Miracle Cure!!!

    Tukat

    #61294
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    Bro,

    Try a lighter pressure. If you’re talking pocket watches, it can be that you’re putting too much downward pressure on the rear screw back cover. I’ve also used PB Blaster (not on watches, but on cars,) which uses “capillary drilling action” to eat through grime and rust. For wristwatches? Sorry Joe, can’t help you there. I’m strictly a pocket watch guy :)

    T

    #61295
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
    • Total Posts: 1218

    When I have a watch back that won’t come I use a piece computer mouse pad. I cut them up into 2″ X 2″ squares. Haven’t had one I couldn’t get off. Works on the same principle as the one Tom provided a link for.

    #61296
    tukat44
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 8
    • Total Posts: 76

    Oh Bernie- That’s a good one- I am going to see if that is going to work on the tough one I have and I will let you know if I am successful- Thanks so much

    #61297
    namonllor1953
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 21
    • Total Posts: 152

    Hi Tom,
    For whatever it’s worth, I’ve purchased and used the rubber thingies Tom posted the link to and I must say, PB Blast and the rubber do-dads did the trick for me on two occasions already.
    Best ‘o’ luck,

    #61298
    randy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 39
    • Total Posts: 594

    Tukat,
    I use an LG Master wrench to perform the initial loosening,.along with a movement holder, which I feel is an absolute necessity for keeping the watch from moving.
    The wrench I bought second hand, and then I replaced the pins as you can buy them separately. They are usually well worn when you buy them used, and won’t stay put in the slots well.

    I also use the rubber ball once they’ve loosened, and I have one of the vacuum openers as well. I like them for PW’s.

    Take care
    Randy

    #61299
    bobm12
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
    • Total Posts: 5

    Hi to all,
    I’m new to this forum and work on watches mostly. Although I don’t have a lot of experience either way, I would say — just as Randy — a case holder is essential to open those watches. The other part nobody have mentioned is to place a piece of fabric or an empty nylon bag between the tool you are using — LG is good — and the back so if it slips it won’t damage the case.

    I normally use a two-prong wrench made by A*F which grabs the backs pretty good and haven’t had any use for the suction stuff so far. I might have to venture into testing those but so far I haven’t really needed them. The holder and back tool I have are all I’ve needed for regular screw on backs. One tip is to – once the case is firmly in the holder — to stabilize the tool with your thumb while adjusting it. The purpose is to get a good grip on the back.

    Hope this helps,

    Bob

    #61300
    mclark3617
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 28
    • Total Posts: 181

    For what its worth, I just use one of the jar lid helpers I liberated from the kitchen, just a thin flat sticky mat that fits between your hand and jar lid to give more grip, works the same on pocket watches. Of course the real frozen ones are still a bear.

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tukat44Watch Case Opening Procedure