My screwback opening technique
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  • 6 Post By kung-fusion
  • 2 Post By xevious

Thread: My screwback opening technique

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  1. #1
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    My screwback opening technique

    I get upset when I see posts like the recent one about Kay Jewelers scratching the back of a Frogman. It seems like it is too much to hope the jewelers will improve, so we need to take it upon ourselves to be independent and avoid their services whenever possible. I have experimented with different techniques opening screwbacks, and I have opened MANY now, some of which were VERY hard to get off, and I have never scratched up a caseback. This is the best method I've found:

    1.) Tools you'll need: Jaxa style 3-prong opener. Can be found for a little as $5 at some hardware stores. I think I paid around $15 for this one on Amazon. Maybe it was $20, I don't remember. Anyway, not expensive at all. I installed the little round bits (the only ones I need for Casio watches). Also needed is the carpet. Seriously. If you don't have a carpet, maybe a rubber bath mat or some other surface that has a lot of friction.





    2.) First put the prongs in the slots and turn the adjusters until they are just a LITTLE snug. If they are too tight the tool will pop out. If they are too loose it will slip out. Make it just a little tight. Squeeze the watch and the tool together as you lower it to the carpet.




    3.) Position the tool on the carpet with the watch facing upward. It is easier to do this if you leave the bezel on. For smaller watches, and watches with no bezel, I like to put a t-shirt on top of the watch to make it bigger and help with the grip.





    4.) Grasp the watch firmly, making sure it is still in the slots and HOLD THE TOOL DOWN WITH ONE HAND while you TURN THE WATCH (NOT THE TOOL) counterclockwise. The tool should remain still. The most important thing to know is that you MUST PUSH DOWN WITH AS MUCH PRESSURE AS YOU ARE USING TO TURN. The harder you need to turn, the more you need to push down. BE SURE TO PUSH STRAIGHT DOWN, NOT AT AN ANGLE.




    5.) When you feel it start to turn, you can let up on the pressure a little bit, but keep pushing down as you turn until it opens completely.





    6.) Reinstallation is the opposite, make sure you have the threads going correctly, it should turn easily until it starts to tighten.


    I don't recommend using watch holders, vise grips, or any other tools or techniques. I have tried many techniques and this has been the best for me. Some of them require a tremendous amount to strength to open, but the vast majority open easily. Only once was I not strong enough to do it with my hands, and I used the jaxa tool on one hand and held the watch with a long handled wrench and I turned both the tool and the watch. I don't recommend this except as a last resort. Like I said, the vast majority (95%) open easily with this method. Only a few very old or rusted screwbacks will give you a hard time.
    xevious, LUW, MDPlatts and 3 others like this.

  2. #2
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    Re: My screwback opening technique

    Very nice write-up, kung-fusion. I used to turn the watch and wrench in my hands, which worked without slippage about 95% of the time. I prefer your method and have found it to be 100% reliable--no slippage yet.

    One thing to note is that after replacing the battery and screwing the case back onto the casing, consider hand tightening it with a piece of rubber material (or glove) instead. I do this for any watch I don't wear swimming, as super tightening is unnecessary. A lighter hand tightened backing makes the next battery change possible to do without the wrench, thus avoiding any risk of markings on the back, and is still more than adequate for basic water resistance.
    In rotation: Citizen Attesa ATV53-2834, Eco Drives | Omega Seamaster | CASIO: TW-7000, MRG-220, RevMan, G-2000D, DW-5700ML, GW-9100 | Seiko SKA-413, SBPG001

  3. #3
    LUW
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    Re: My screwback opening technique

    One question: let's say I am going swimming/diving with my Frog. How much do I need to tighten it ?

  4. #4
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    Thanks to this thread, I've been able to open the case back of my 6139. Cheers!

  5. #5
    Member xevious's Avatar
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    Re: My screwback opening technique

    I have some tips to follow up on this:


    • There is a new watch case back removal wrench available now that has a hard ABS plastic casing. This provides a significant improvement over those cheap all metal wrenches that provide minimal support for your hand, allowing you to get a nice comfortable grip.
    • Pressing up against the carpet is not a reliable method. They make these watch "cage" vices that surround the casing and provide an excellent assist on gripping the watch. I've found using this well worth the extra time to situate the watch into the vice. They're pretty cheap too.
    • Use blue painter's masking tape on the case back. This is just a little added insurance against case back scratches. It has helped me avert scratches on a few occasions.
    • When installing the case back do NOT use the wrench! There is no need to tighten your case back to the point of requiring a wrench. Use a rubber glove or some other grippy material and hand tighten the case back. You really do not need to tighten it more than "finger tight" plus a little more. It should be tight enough that the case back won't come unscrewed with just your fingers, and when using the rubber glove it should open with some decent force applied.
    StephenWatch and MainePorsche like this.
    In rotation: Citizen Attesa ATV53-2834, Eco Drives | Omega Seamaster | CASIO: TW-7000, MRG-220, RevMan, G-2000D, DW-5700ML, GW-9100 | Seiko SKA-413, SBPG001

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