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How to Remove Watch Caseback: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Remove Watch Caseback: A Comprehensive Guide

Different types of caseback require different treatments. Find out how to remove the watch caseback safely in this article!
May 14, 2024

The intricate mechanism of a wristwatch is encased in a protective shell, commonly referred to as the caseback. At times, you may need to access the inner workings of your watch for various reasons, such as changing the battery or performing maintenance. So, how to remove the watch caseback?

Before preceding further discussion, it’s important to note that removing the watch caseback is quite crucial. It keeps the intricate core mechanism of the watch inside and the wrong treatment may lead to damage. Therefore, it is highly suggested to bring your watch to professional service.

Yet, it’s not useless to know how to remove the watch caseback, especially if you want to learn more or are interested to start a career in the watchmaking industry

Removing a watch caseback can be a delicate task that requires precision and the right tools. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to safely remove a watch caseback.

Different Types of Watch Caseback

There are different types of watch caseback which means they need different treatments to be removed. Commonly there are two types of watch caseback includes snap-off and screw-down caseback.

Screw-Down Caseback

Screw-down casebacks are widely utilized in professional and sports watches due to their enhanced water resistance capabilities. 

Screw-down caseback of Seiko Prospex 200M Sumo Solar Blue/Red GMT Ref. SBPK005
Screw-down caseback of Seiko Prospex 200M Sumo Solar Blue/Red GMT Ref. SBPK005

These casebacks feature grooves or notches around their circumference that align with corresponding threads on the case, creating a secure and watertight seal.

Snap-Off Caseback

The next type of caseback is designed for easy removal without the need for specialized tools. The snap-off caseback, also known as press-on casebacks, does not have visible screws or notches, making them convenient for quick battery changes or basic maintenance.

The snap-off caseback of Marathon GPQ NGM Sage Green Quartz Ref. WW194004-SG-NGM
The snap-off caseback of Marathon GPQ NGM Sage Green Quartz Ref. WW194004-SG-NGM

Snap-off casebacks are often found in entry-level and mid-range watches, allowing for cost-effective servicing and battery replacements. 

However, it’s important to note that snap-off casebacks may compromise water resistance compared to screw-down alternatives.

Read also: How to Change a Watch Battery: A Guide for the Watch Owner

How to Remove Watch Caseback

Removing a watch case back takes several steps that need a keen eye and careful treatment. So, make sure you follow every step appropriately as mentioned in the tutorial below.

Get the Tools to Remove Watch Caseback

Before attempting to remove the watch caseback, it’s crucial to have the right tools at hand. The following tools will help you accomplish the task efficiently:

  • Caseback removal tool (case knife or caseback wrench)
  • Non-slip work surface
  • A soft cloth or watchmaker’s pad
  • Rubber gloves (optional)
  • Plastic container for storing screws or other small parts

Prepare Your Workshop

Choose a clean, well-lit workspace with ample room to maneuver. Lay down a non-slip work surface, such as a soft cloth or a watchmaker’s pad, to prevent your watch from sliding or getting scratched. 

Additionally, consider wearing rubber gloves to ensure a firm grip and protect the watch from fingerprints or oils from your hands.

Determine the Type of Caseback

As mentioned above, there are two common types of watch casebacks: screw-down and snap-off. Screw-down casebacks feature small grooves around the circumference and require a specific tool for removal. 

Snap-off casebacks, on the other hand, have no visible screws and can be popped off using a case knife. Identify the type of caseback your watch has before proceeding.

Removing a Screw-Down Caseback

For a screw-down caseback, follow these steps:

  • Place your watch face down on the non-slip work surface.
  • Select the appropriate size of the caseback wrench that matches the grooves on the caseback.
  • Fit the wrench into the grooves and apply gentle, steady pressure counterclockwise to unscrew the caseback.
  • Once the caseback becomes loose, carefully turn it the rest of the way with your fingers.
  • Set the caseback aside in a safe place.

Read also: A Nifty Guide: How to Remove Scratches From Watch Crystal

Removing a Snap-Off Caseback

To remove a snap-off caseback, adhere to the following steps:

  • Insert the blade into the small gap between the case and the caseback.
  • Apply gentle, even pressure and rotate the blade to pop open the caseback. Be cautious not to apply excessive force to avoid damaging the watch or injuring yourself.
  • Once the caseback pops off, use your fingers to remove it entirely.
  • Place the caseback in a secure location.

Precautions and Best Practices

When removing a watch caseback, it is essential to keep the following precautions and best practices in mind:

  • Handle your watch with care to avoid scratches or accidental drops.
  • Ensure you are using the correct tools to remove the watch caseback and apply appropriate force during the removal process.
  • Keep track of any small screws or components by placing them in a plastic container or using a watch parts tray with labeled compartments.
  • Avoid touching the watch’s movement or any delicate components.
  • If you encounter any difficulty or feel unsure about the process, it is advisable to seek professional assistance.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve learned about how to remove the watch caseback, you might now do it on your own. However, as mentioned above, it’s still more advisable to bring your watch to an authorized service center to get it repaired.

Regardless, by taking precautions and practicing patience, you can safely access the inner workings of your watch and keep it in optimal condition for years to come.

Read also: How Often Should You Service A Mechanical Watch?

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