When looking at a watch, most people are drawn to the face. That’s where the intricate details are shown and, most importantly, where the time is. How often have you inspected the back of your watch before there’s a problem?

Watches with screw backs

Screw-off case backs will have a series of edges, grooves, or threads (like the edge of a dime) around the outside edge (see image below). Some come in unusual shapes.

These will require special tools. You pick out the right sizes bezel that fits these threads snug, then snap the handle on, and twist (again, counterclockwise to loosen, clockwise to tighten).

Sometimes you’ll also need to clamp the watch down, for some of them are a bear. Use a watch block to secure the watch and give you more leverage when you twist.

Rolex case back
Omega seamaster

Screw backs with unusual shapes

Some types of screw backs have multiple edges that will take a special wrench to remove. They can be a real challenge to get opened.

Panerai case back

Snap backs

They make so many different types and styles of watches, from cheap to expensive, with snap-on case backs. They all do just about the same thing. The back of the watch snaps off.

Typical snap off back

Typical screw back design

This is the most common type of screw back, a standard case wrench will fit easily.

Case back with screws

This is one of my least favorite to open. The screws come in lots of different sizes and over time they can rust and that makes it difficult to remove the back.

Tools to open various case backs

CHARLEY PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Did someone say “walk”?