Watch case tools are used to open the back of watches and remove crystals from the face of watches. This is delicate work and requires quality, precision tools to keep from marring the surface of the watch. In the hands of a skilled jeweler, these tools can repair a damaged watch back to its original working condition. There are three main types of watch opening tools: watch back openers, crystal presses and watchmaker knives.
Watch Back Openers
A watch back opener tool is used to remove the back of a watch and gain access to the inside components of the watch where the battery is stored. If the watch has gears, they may also be accessible through the back of the watch. A back opener tool may be a simple prying tool with a screwdriver-like handle, or it may consist of a suction cup. A prying watch back tool is simply wedged between the case and the watch back until the seal is broken and the back comes off. A suction cup watch back remover is pressed down onto the watch back and then pulled away from the watch. With gentle wiggling and consistent pressure, the back is removed.
Crystal presses are used when a crystal, the clear lens over the face of the watch, has become damaged and needs to be replaced. The watch is placed down on the crystal press on top of a suction fixture and the damaged crystal is pressed into it. This fixture holds the crystal securely while it is loosened and removed. The fixture on the press is then changed and the new crystal is placed face-down in the press and the watch is positioned over the top of it. The press is designed to hold all of the pieces in a precise position and then the pressure is applied to snap all of the pieces back together.
Watchmaker knives are an all-purpose tool for a jeweler who works with and repairs watches. They can be used to remove snap on watch backs, or they can be used to pry batteries out of the back of a watch. Watchmaker knives can also be used to gently nudge the gears of a higher end watches into place and remove debris from the inside of the watch. Many watchmaker knives have been designed to mimic the look and feel of a pocket knife. The blades of the knife fold into the handle of the knife, making it easily portable and safe.