How to Open Hampden Pocket Watches

by Megan Mattingly-Arthur

Founded in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Hampden Watch Company manufactured fine pocket watches from 1877 until the company was sold and relocated to Russia in 1927. Though not particularly valuable, Hampden pocket watches are attractive timepieces that can be easily restored to preserve your own slice of the early 20th century. Opening the case of a Hampden or Dueber-Hampden pocket watch for repair is a simple process that can be completed in one to two minutes.

Items you will need

  • Potholder or neoprene mouse pad
  • PDA case-opening tool
Step 1

Place a potholder or neoprene mouse pad on a clean, flat work surface in a well-lit room.

Step 2

Lay your Hampden pocket watch facedown on the padded surface.

Step 3

Examine the watch to locate the slightly raised lip on the back of the case, near the crown (sometimes called a winding stem). Note the thin seam between the lip and the rest of the watch case.

Step 4

Insert the tip of a PDA case-opening tool into the seam between the lip and the rest of the pocket watch case.

Step 5

Work the tool around the edges of the pocket watch until the back cover comes free. Work gently to avoid scratching the case or damaging the movement.


  • You can use a dull butter knife to open your pocket watch if a PDA case-opening tool is not available.

    Some Hampden pocket watches manufactured between 1900 and 1927 may bear the Dueber-Hampden brand name; this does not affect the opening process.


  • If you are unable to pry open your Hampden pocket watch using moderate pressure, consult a professional jeweler. Avoid forcing the watch open, which may cause permanent damage.

About the Author

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.