Beginners Guide to Opening Watch Cases - Everything You Need To Know

Opening a watch case is fairly a difficult task to do, and it is often recommended that you leave this to a professional.

However, if you are determined to do it yourself, there are simple processes that can be learned with a little bit of practice.

There are a few ways that you can open a watch case. In this article, we will discuss the most common methods. We will also provide some tips on how to avoid damaging your watch while opening it.

Types of watch cases

Watch cases are typically made from either stainless steel, gold, or platinum.

Stainless steel is the most common type of watch case material. It is strong and durable, making it ideal for everyday wear.

Gold and platinum are softer metals, so they are more susceptible to scratches and dents. These metals are often used for dressier watches that are not meant to be worn every day.

On the other hand, there are many types of watch cases common in the industry such as:

One Piece Watch Case

The entire case is made from one piece of metal. These cases are very strong and durable, but they are also more difficult to open. Also,  if the case is damaged, it is more difficult to repair.

Case Back With Screws 

The casing is created by joining together two separate pieces of metal using either screws or pressure. One-piece cases are more difficult to open than these cases, although they are not as sturdy as the one-piece cases.

If the casing sustains damage, the two sections may be disassembled and fixed separately.

Screw Down Case back

The case back is held in place with screws. These types of cases are easy to open, but the screws can strip easily if you are not careful.

It is also important to make sure that you have the right size screwdriver for the job. Otherwise, you will strip the screws and damage the case.

Snap-off case back

The case back is held in place with a snap fit. These types of cases are easy to open, but the snaps can break easily if you are not careful.

If the snaps are damaged, the case back will need to be replaced.

How to open watch back by tool

Now that you know the different types of watch cases, we will discuss how to open them.


As we mentioned before, it is best to leave this task to a professional. However, if you insist on doing it yourself, here is how you can do it.

Before opening the case of each model, the strap needs to be removed first.

Spring bar tool

One Piece Watch Case

Crown remover

Case Opener


Open from bezel:

For open from bezel,  you will need a watch case knife. This is a thin, sharp knife that is designed to pry open one-piece watch cases.


The first step is to place the watch case knife into the seam between the bezel and the case. You will then need to twist the knife to open the case. After that,  you can use the knife to pry off the case back.


Open from Crown:

For open from crown, you will need a crown remover, usually these cases comes with split winding stem.

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGSPqtxqye4

Case back with screws

Screwdrivers set


With this type of watch case, you will need a small screwdriver. The most important thing is to make sure that the screwdriver is the right size.


If it is too big, you will strip the screws. If it is too small, you will not be able to turn them.


To open the case, simply unscrew the screws and remove the case back. After that,  you can access the movement of the watch.


Screw Down Case back

Rubber ball

Omega case back opener 

Rolex case back opener

Breitling case back opener

Panerai case back opener:

Horotec case opener


This is one of the most common case backs, because it has better water resistance. Different brands of watches have their own case backs, which require special tools to open.

Snap-off case back

Case Opener


To open a snap-off case back, you will need a watch case opener. This is a special tool that is designed to open snap-off case backs.


To open the watch case using the watch case opener, just place it in the gap between the case back and the case and twist it. This will allow you to remove the case back.

For special case back

There are some special cases back that you cannot open with the method mentioned above.


For those cases, you will need to bring it to a watchmaker or jeweler and have them open it for you.


In conclusion, there are a few ways that you can open your watch case or case back without using any tools.


However, we recommend that you only use these methods as a last resort. Without the proper tools, you risk damaging your watch.


How do I open a screwback watch case?

There are a few different ways to open a screwback watch case, but the most common is to use a watch case opener. These can be found at most hardware stores or online.

Which way to unscrew the watch back?

If you’re trying to unscrew the watch back, you’ll want to turn it to the left. Unscrewing it to the right will just tighten the back and make it more difficult to remove.

How do you tell if the watch back is snapped or screwed?

If the watch back is snapped on, there will be a small seam between the case and the back. If the watch back is screwed on, there will be no seam.

What do you do if the watch back won’t unscrew?

If the watch back won’t unscrew, it’s likely because it’s been screwed on too tightly. Try using a watch case opener or a small screwdriver to loosen the back. If that doesn’t work, you can take it to a jeweler and they can help you open it.


The intricate mechanism of each watch is a work of art. Every luxury watch has its level of craftsmanship and quality. Each is created artistically by expert watchmakers making the timepiece have an elegant design and accurate timekeeping. But, luxury watch collectors prefer mechanical or automatic movements. Let yourself fall into one of the types of a watch movement and share your ideas below if you have different insight!

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