How to open a watch back?
These days, hiring professionals such as electrician, plumber and auto mechanic can burn a huge hole in the pocket. Thankfully, there are certain areas where the need for a professional dependence is not necessary. For example, you don’t really need a watchmaker to fix broken crystal or change the battery of your analogue watch. This DIY guide will help you accomplish the above tasks without external help. However, to access the hidden components of any watch you will have to remove the back cover.
A watch typically has one of the following types of case backs, and therefore needs different tools to open it.
1. The press fit.
2. The screw fit.
3. The screwed down type.
1. The Press Fit Back – There are two ways of opening & replacing a press fit back.
Case knife –
Locate the lip, which is actually a miniature gap between the case and the back. Slip the knife between this fine slit, and lift the back with a gentle twist of your wrist. In case the lip is not provided, find a vulnerable spot, the one which offers you to insert the knife and simply twist to pry open.
Case opener –
This device has adjustable jaw which can hold short or long blade typically for men and ladies watches. Once the watch is laid flat on the bed ( back side up ), tighten the screw to secure it firmly. Then slide the blade towards the back and tighten the screw further. Press the blade down and voila … the back should pop up. Simple, isn’t it?
2. The Screw Fit – Screw fit watch backs are generally found in square watches. The reason is obvious. A square faced time piece provides four corners, which in turn translates into a uniformly pressed back. However, sometimes even circular watches boast screws. To open the same, select a screw driver that matches with the style and shape of screw head. Selecting the right tool would mean less damage. Remove all the four screws ( or more as the case may be, pun intended ). Finally, open the back with a plastic or metal knife using gentle twists of your wrist.
3. The Screwed Down Type – This type of back requires a watch holder. It is very important otherwise you might end up with a “Scratched” back. Here are some of the common methods / tools used to open it.
Jaxa Wrench –
Unfortunately screw fit type backs sport notches of different sizes, and therefore before using a Jaxa wrench you first need to determine the best tool tip. Once you have found the perfect tip, slip them inside the holders. Align the tip with the bottom notch first. Then gradually build up the rest of the positions ( notches ). Make sure you have all the tips neatly stacked against the notches. Then with gentle twist rotate the back, making sure the tips do not jump over which can result in scratches.
Case Opener Ball –
This is typically exploited after the back is loosened. Simply press the ball against the back and turn it continuously to free the back from the case. However, a fairly new watch can also be opened without much trouble. Remember, you need a watch case holder for the tasks.
Case wrench –
A case wrench is a rectangular tool with couple of jaws on either side. Align the tips to match with the notches using the adjuster wheel. This can be achieved by expanding or reducing the distance between the jaws. Establish a firm contact with the notches. Once a perfect connection is established, twist the case gently. Once it is loosened simply use your fingers to unscrew the back completely.
Closing Watch Back –
While closing, you need to make sure the back is perfectly positioned, and not tilted. This could lead to thread damage ( screw fit type ) or the gasket / seal may rupture. Moreover, if you have opened the watch for some other reason, you might as well as change the gasket too. This will ensure complete protection from sweat and water. Additionally, the back will snap into a perfect position if the seal is changed. Greasing the seal will help screw fit type back to stay flat against the case. Many press fit backs need pressure to slip inside the case and form one cohesive unit. Nonetheless, this increases the chances of breaking the crystal. Therefore, it is advisable to use miniature, mechanical hand press. It comes bundled with different sizes of cups; of varying depth and diameter.