The Best Tools for Removing Watch Backs

For watch enthusiasts, gaining access to the inner workings of a timepiece is an integral part of maintenance and modification. However, removing a watch back can be a challenging task, requiring the right tools and a certain level of skill. With the variety of watch caseback designs out there, from snap-off backs to screw-down models, having the right equipment makes all the difference. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the top watch caseback removal tools available to hobbyists and professionals alike. We’ll cover how these specialty tools are designed to properly grip case backs of all shapes and sizes without causing damage. You’ll learn the advantages of tools like Jaxa wrenches, case knives, and ball bearing-style removers. Whether you’re servicing a vintage Rolex or a modern Seiko, our roundup will help you select the best watch back removal tools for the job. Equipped with the right gear, you can confidently access and service the movement on any watch in your collection.

1. Watch Caseback Opening Knife

A watch caseback knife is a specialized tool that is designed to remove snap-off case backs. It has a curved blade that is inserted into the gap between the case and the caseback and then turned to unlock the caseback. The key is to insert something thin and curved into the gap between the case and caseback, whether it’s a watch case knife or something similar. Below, there are three different caseback openers, including a knife, that you can purchase to remove your snap-off case back. 


2. Simple Watch Caseback Opening Wrenches

Watch caseback wrenches are specially designed to securely grip the notches of a screw-down caseback and turn it with ease. There are generally two types of watch caseback wrenches available on the market. One comes with a handle and the other type is a more compact and simple design, as shown in the image below.


The use of a watch caseback opener wrench provides a convenient and effortless way to remove a screw-down caseback, without requiring any special skills or training. However, it’s important to note that in some instances, the opener may not grip the notches of the caseback properly, causing scratches on the surface. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to use a more precise three-prong case opener instead.

3. Three-Prong Watch Back Opener (Jaxa Wrench)

The Three-Prong Watch Back Opener is a highly effective tool for removing screw-down casebacks. It is designed with three prongs that securely grip the notches of the caseback, and can be used with any watch caseback size. Although it may have a slightly higher price compared to other watch caseback openers, it is well worth the investment, especially if you are working with precious watches and don’t want to risk scratching them.


To use this tool, simply insert it into the notches of the caseback and, once it is securely in place, turn it smoothly until the caseback pops off. Below is a video demonstrating the practical use of this amazing tool. 


4. Oyster Style Watch Back Opener

The Oyster-style watch case back opener is a highly specialized tool that is specifically designed for removing screw-down grooved casebacks, particularly those found on Rolex oyster models. It features a wrench and six grooved dies of various sizes, making it suitable for a range of watches. Constructed from premium materials, this tool has a robust and long-lasting design that makes it a must-have for watchmakers, collectors, and anyone in need of removing a grooved caseback.


How to Open Rolex Oyster CaseBack?

Place the appropriate die onto the wrench and align it with the notches on the caseback. Firmly grip the caseback with the wrench and turn it counterclockwise until the caseback pops off.

5. Watch Back Opening Ball

Using a watch-back opening ball is a simple and effective way to remove a screw-down watch caseback without the need for a wrench. The ball is made of a soft, flexible material such as rubber. The advantage of using a watch back opening ball is its cost-effectiveness and the reduced risk of scratching or damaging the watch caseback. It is suitable for use with casebacks that are not too tightly fitted. However, if the caseback is tightly secured, it is recommended to use a different type of watch caseback removal tool that I discussed above.

To use a watch back opening ball, first, ensure that the ball is securely placed onto the caseback. Then, gently apply pressure and rotate the ball in a counterclockwise direction. Continue to turn the ball until the caseback is fully unscrewed and can be removed without any hassle.


6. Screwdrivers:

Screwdrivers are an essential tool for removing watch casebacks that are secured with screws. The size and type of screws used in a watch caseback will determine the type of screwdriver needed. For collectors or professionals in the watch maintenance industry, it is recommended to invest in a set of screwdrivers to ensure you have the right tool for the job.

The Euro Tool Set of Screwdrivers is one such set that offers a comprehensive solution for removing watch casebacks. With 9 screwdrivers of different sizes, this set comes in a beautiful wooden box. The tools are made of durable stainless steel and feature interchangeable tips that are anti-magnetic and sharp, making it easier to remove screws. Whether you are a watch collector or a professional in the watch repair industry, the Euro Tool Set of Screwdrivers is an excellent investment for your toolkit.


In conclusion, removing a watch caseback can be a challenging task, but with the right tools, it can be a breeze. The tools discussed in this blog post provide a variety of options for removing casebacks, from the budget-friendly watch-back opening ball to the specialized Oyster-style opener. Whether you are a watch collector, a professional watchmaker, or simply need to change a battery, having the right tools for the job is essential. When choosing a tool, consider the type of watch you have and the level of precision you require. By investing in a high-quality watch caseback opener, you can ensure that you can remove casebacks quickly and safely, without the risk of damage to your timepiece.

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