How Do I Remove the Back of a Watch?

Remove the back of a watch using tools appropriate for the type of watch back found on the watch. Verify that the watch back can be removed with the watch band in place. If not, remove the watch band before proceeding.

  1. Identify how the watch back is secured

    There are three types of watch backs: screw-off back, screw back and pressure fit. A screw-off back is identifiable by square notches that are cut into the back of the watch. Pressure-fit watch backs have no easily noticeable marks and appear completely smooth. A close-up view along the edge reveals a small dent between the watch body and the back of the watch. Screw-back watches are easily identified by their exposed screws at the four corners of the watch back.

  2. Gather the appropriate tools

    Dependent on the type of watch back you are removing, specialized tools are required. A screw back watch is removed using a small screwdriver. Test that the screwdriver fits into the screw heads on the back. Pressure fit watch backs are opened using any narrow metal tool that is able to act as a pry bar, such as a knife blade, tweezers or nail file. The pressure-fit watch back sometimes require a watch case press to replace the watch back following removal as well. Screw-off watch backs require a specialized tool such as a jaxa wrench or case wrench. Some screw-back watch backs can be removed using a tool known as a case opener ball. The ball has a high-friction surface that holds on to the watch back when pressed into it and allows the user to turn the watch back to remove it. You may choose to experiment with items around the home that can work in a similar fashion.

  3. Remove the watch back

    Proceed carefully using the appropriate tools to remove the watch back. Consult a professional if you encounter any difficulty or if there is the potential to damage an expensive or treasured watch.