How To Open A Watch

Do you want to learn how to open a watch? It is assumed that you wish to remove the caseback from the watch. There are three main methods to secure a caseback to a case on most watches. These methods are: small screws, screw edged caseback, and press fit. Each method will be discussed.

Tools needed to open a watch:

  •  Watchmakers case knife
  • Screw drivers
  • Adjustable case wrench
  • Soft cloth
  • Case holder
  • Paper cup
  • Painters tape
  1. Determine the method of caseback attachment.  Determine what tools you will need by examining the caseback. If there are small screws, you will need an appropriate sized screw driver. If the caseback has a series of small slots on the caseback, you will need the adjustable case wrench. If you have a slot running along the edge between the caseback and case, you will need the case knife.
  2. Tape the case. Use painters tape to protect the surfaces of the watch case and case back.
  3. Proceed to the appropriate instructions.  If you have screws, proceed to small screws caseback instructions. If you have a screwed into the caseback, proceed to those instructions. If you have a press fit caseback, proceed to those instructions.

Small Screws Caseback Removal: 

  1. Select the appropriate screwdriver. Make sure that you have a screwdriver that fits perfectly so not to damage the screw head.
  2. Turn out screws. Unscrew each screw and put it aside in the paper cup. This will help keep from losing tiny screws
  3. Pop off case back. You may need the case knife to slip under the edge and pop off the back.

Screwed Into the Case Caseback Removal:

  1. Make sure you have room to work before starting. On some watches the band will not allow access to the case back.
  2. Remove watchband if needed. Follow the watches instructions and remove the band if needed.
  3. Fit adjustable case opener to case back.. Fit lugs on the case tool into the slots in the case back. It will take some adjusting to get it in place correctly. Tighten it down until it does not slip free. Take care not to slip and scratch the case back or watch.
  4. Open the watch. Unscrew the caseback in a counter clockwise motion until it comes off. Go slow and be careful.

 Press Fit Caseback Removal:

  1. Insert case knife. Slip the edge of the watch knife into the slot or gap along the edge of the caseback. Make sure that the blade of the knife is away from your hand in case you slip.
  2. Gently twist the blade sideways. Apply pressure and twist the blade to pop open the case, similar to opening an oyster. Once the case starts to open, work your way carefully around the case until the caseback pops off.

That is how you open a watch using one of the three major methods of attachment. Work slow, and take care not to slip during the process and damage your watch. Also, be careful not to damage any case gasket. If you do, you will need to replace it to retain the water resistance of the watch.