How to Use a Watch Case Opener

by Thomas West ; Updated September 28, 2017

Opening a watch case is the first step in replacing your watch battery or to perform maintenance on your watch, but it is not always the simplest undertaking. By not using the right tools, you can damage your watch case, making it an eyesore. Opening your watch case can be easy if you use the correct tools. A watch case opener and a pad or holder to set your watch in is necessary to do the job correctly and without damaging your watch case.

Turn the watch over in your hands so the underside is facing up. Find the slots or opening grooves around the edge of case back for placement of the case opener. Run the edge of a fingernail around the full circumference of the case back to feel for the grooves if they are small and cannot be seen easily.

Place the watch face down on a watch pad or case holder (either are available at a jeweler) to keep from damaging the crystal when applying force to remove the case back. Use a soft cloth to lay the watch on if you do not have a pad or case holder.

Fold a 3-by-3-inch piece of paper into quarters.

Place the blade of the case opener into the slot or groove that you have located on the watch back. Place the folded paper under the blade leverage point against the watch case to keep the blade from marring or scratching the watch case.

Pry up on the case back with the blade of the case opener until the back pops off.


  • Opening slots or grooves on that back of the watch can sometimes be found at the 5 o’clock position on some watches. Other watches may have opening grooves at either the 6 o’clock or 12 o’clock positions.

    Do not use excessive force when pressing the case back of a water-resistant watch into position as you can damage the watch. Make sure the O-ring or seal is in good condition before you replace the case back, as this will better protect your watch against water intrusion than trying to press the back on as tightly as you can get it.

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