Case Opening

(I preface all practical posts with the disclaimer that I am not a watchmaker, just an enthusiastic amateur living in a remote part of the world where it is better to learn to do things myself than trust what passes for a watchmaker here in Bangkok)

I live far away from any competent watchmakers. So I have to make do, or wait. I have learned that if I am very patient, and cautious with the correct tools, I can dismantle a watch this far:

A Speedmaster disassembled for a thorough clean.
A Speedmaster disassembled for a thorough clean. I was choosing a bezel to go on, obviously I cannot put three bezels on a watch.

So to get the back off I need a tool. Here is my choice:

A Horotec case back opener with a custom holder on the platform, and holding a watch is the adjustable holder. A two pronged casual opener for winding off loose backs, and a three pronged opener. The brass tool is a custom CNC machined speedmaster specific tool kindly given to me by a member of Thank you Pahawi!

My default tool up to now has been the Chinese made three pronged unit I bought off ebay for $8. It will remove most casebacks, but I was always wary of coming up against a stiff one, so I acquired the red Horotec unit with various fittings on a visit to downtown LA.

The Horotec unit has interchangeable heads and I use this two pronged fitting that I am not totally at ease with, I would prefer a custom one – but strangely none seems available.

Then along came this:

Brass Tool
Brass Tool. Teeth matched perfectly to the back of a speedmaster.

CNC machined, this tool fits the back perfectly and with flat edged teeth, in a soft metal, that aligns perfectly. This is a prototype but I think it is going to be my go-to opener. I still like to hold the watch in a clamp.

I made a video sometime ago showing how I open a watch, and where to check for the serial and calibre. I could be updated but it is a simple exercise and worth showing for those who, like me before I got into it all, know nothing. We all start from a place of not knowing.