How to open a watch case? Do It Yourself

So you want to open your watch case but you don’t know if it is safe for you to open it. You have never done that before? Well let us explain! Of course you have to worry because you may break something in your watch without knowing or do the opposite.

There are several reasons why you might want to know how to open a watch. The most common reason that I have found is when a watch’s battery goes down some people try to replace it by themselves. The reason is simple, a watchmaker or jeweller will charge you a service fee. There have been some people who came to our store and told us to close their watches as they’ve been able to open it and replace the battery but could not close it. Some watches need to be closed with a special watch press, especially waterproof watches. We usually charge a small fee to close it for them but we don’t charge when they buy the battery from us.

how to open a watch

How to open a watch?

Let’s see how to open different types of watches and what measures should be taken. There are three main ways that the back of a watch is sealed;

12 Basic Watch Repair Tools

Pressure fit watch back

how to open a watch
A pressure fit watch case is the quickest to open. What you’ll need is simply a pocket knife or a thick blade or a watchmaker knife or opener. However, it should not be too sharp because it may cut the waterproof o-ring while forcing it in between the watch case to open its back. Some watch cases of this type may be tricky and you won’t be able to open it placing your knife at any point of its circumference. You’ll need to know the exact point (see in red) which you can notice at the back of the watch case by a small dent.

Screw down watch case

how to open a watch
The tools you’ll need are a screw down watch opener and sometimes a watch case holder. If you don’t have these tools, you can use your hand to hold the watch and a pair of nose plier to open the case. I usually open small watch case/ladies watch with just a nose plier but you have to hold it firmly and turn the nose plier smoothly so that the case don’t get any scratches. So, you can hold the watch with your hand alone but if the case is fasten tightly then you’ll need a watch holder and an opener else you might scratch the case or never able to open it.

By four or more screws

how to open a watch
Most digital watches have screws, they are easy to open but take the most time. So I guess that almost everyone have once held a screwdriver but holding smaller screwdrivers is a bit different. You have to place the tip of your forefinger on the top of the screwdriver and then make it rotate with your thumb and middle finger. After unscrewing the screws, remove them with a pair of tweezers.

After opening your watch case, if you need to change its battery then read our article on how to change the battery of a watch. Make sure not to touch the coil and if it has an automatic movement then don’t touch the balance wheel. That doesn’t mean you can touch the other parts but these are the parts that are the most sensible.

Categories: repair-tips
  • Rafik El Ahmadi

    Great article . thanks, very helpful. I noticed around articles that a lot of people are very upset about the possibility of scratching the back of a watch, Any way the battery replacement took less than five minutes. Thanks !

    • Thanks Rafik. When you have the tools, all you need is some tips that give you directions.

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