Level Up Your Watchmaking Game: A Beginner’s Guide to Case Back Presses

Written by: Maz P
Updated on:
Case Back Press

For beginners looking to get started in watchmaking, understanding how to properly open and close a watch case back is a fundamental skill. Opening the case back is a necessary part of watch repair and securing it correctly is crucial for protecting the watch parts. A case back press is an essential tool in this process, ensuring that the case back is securely fitted without causing damage to the watch. The case back press is an essential tool to have in your watchmaking toolkit and I’m here to provide you with the knowledge to use this tool with confidence. To help you get started, this guide identifies the differences between case backs, their respective tools, and a step-by-step process for using the press.

Types of Watch Case Backs

There are multiple different watch case backs that impact how to tackle removal and replacement. Each type of case back has its specific uses, advantages, and handling techniques, making the understanding of their differences crucial for watchmakers.

Watch with Snap-on Case Back

Snap-on Case Backs

Snap-on case backs are the most common type found in many watches. As the name suggests, they are designed to simply snap into place, making them relatively easy to open and close without specialized tools. Most watch repair tool kits feature a flat-edged knife that can be used for case back removal. This type is often used in fashion and casual watches.

Screw-down Case Backs

Commonly found in luxury and water-resistant watches, screw-down case backs are secured into place with screws. They provide a secure seal against moisture and dust. The screw-down mechanism makes them more secure but slightly more challenging to handle compared to snap-on backs.

The screw-down case back can be easily identified by its distinctive features including grooves, edges, or threads resembling the edge of a coin, encircling the outer edge of the case back. Renowned brands like Rolex and Tudor often employ screw-down casebacks for their timepieces.

Notched Screw Watch Case Back

Hinged Case Backs

Typically found in vintage and some high-end watches, hinged case backs are attached to the case with small hinges and open like a door. These casebacks provide easy access to the watch’s movement but require careful handling to avoid damaging the delicate hinges. Hinged case backs often feature intricate designs and are secured with a clasp or latch.

Notched Screw Exhibition Case Back

Exhibition Case Backs

Featuring a transparent window, usually made of sapphire or crystal, exhibition case backs offer a view of the watch’s movement. These can be either snap-on or screw-down, depending on the design and simply add aesthetic value to the timepiece by showcasing the intricate workings of the watch. Handling them requires extra care to avoid scratching the transparent section.

Bayonet Case Backs

Bayonet case backs use a twist-and-lock mechanism, similar to that of a bayonet mount in cameras. It provides a secure seal and is relatively easy to open and close with the appropriate tools. It is a less common type of case back but offers a good balance between security and ease of use, often found in mid-range to luxury watches.

How to Replace Watch Case Back

Replacing a watch case back is a delicate task that requires precision and care to ensure the integrity of the watch. Using the proper tools is crucial to avoid damaging the watch or compromising its functionality. A case back press can give you peace of mind that it is properly secured in place and watch parts are not at risk.

Each type of watch case back requires specific tools and techniques for opening and closing. It’s therefore important to determine the type of case back your watch has before you get started. When reattaching, a case back press is essential. This tool ensures even pressure is applied, preventing damage to the watch crystal or case. Using proper tools like a case back press not only makes the process easier but also protects your watch from potential damage, ensuring it remains in optimal condition.

How to Use a Watch Case Press

Using a watch tool crystal press is essential for securely closing case backs without damaging the watch. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use this tool effectively:

  1. Prepare the Watch

    After working on a timepiece, keep the watch face down on a soft, clean cloth or watch cushion to protect it from scratches. Check the watch gasket before you proceed and if there are any signs of wear, replace it.

  2. Select the Dies

    Choose two dies from the case press kit that matches the size and shape of the watch case and case back. The bottom die should fit the watch case, and the top die should match the case back. Using appropriately sized dies ensures even pressure distribution and prevents damage.

  3. Attach the Dies

    Insert the selected dies into the top and bottom holders of the case press. Most presses have a screw or snap mechanism to secure the dies in place.

  4. Position the Watch

    Watch Case Back Press

    Place the watch, face down, onto the bottom die, ensuring it is centered and stable. Then place the case back on top of the watch, aligning it properly with the watch case.

  5. Press the Case Back

    Watch Case Back Press

    Slowly lower the top die until it makes contact with the case back. Apply gentle, steady pressure by pulling the lever or turning the handle of the case press. Make sure the pressure is even and controlled to avoid cracking the crystal or deforming the case. Continue applying pressure until the case back snaps into place. You should hear or feel a slight click when it is securely closed.

  6. Final Check

    Check the alignment and ensure the case back is flush with the watch case. Make sure that the watch functions correctly and that the crystal or case has not been damaged during the process.


  • Watch Hand Press

Tips for Using a Watch Case Press

  • Be gentle – Excessive force can damage the watch. Always use controlled, gentle pressure.
  • Practice on old watches – If you’re new to using a case press, practice on an old or inexpensive watch first to get a feel for the tool.

Best Case Back Presses

Watch Press Tool Set Watch Press Tool Set
Number of Dies: 12
Pieces in Set: 17
06/01/2024 07:06 pm GMT

Watch Press Tool Set

The Lyecun Watch Press Tool Set is a comprehensive kit designed for both amateur and professional watchmakers. This kit includes a variety of dies and a sturdy case press tool, making it ideal for securely closing watch case backs. The press tool is designed to provide even pressure, ensuring that the watch case back is closed securely without damaging the watch. The variety of dies included ensures compatibility with a wide range of watch sizes and styles. Priced affordably, it offers great value for money and is a great starter case back press.

Watch Back Press Set

This set is an excellent choice for anyone looking to perform watch repairs at home. It includes a press with nylon dies necessary for closing watch case backs. Compatible with different watch types, it is particularly useful for those with a diverse watch collection. It’s also extremely user-friendly, has an affordable price tag, and is compact enough to fit comfortably on even the smallest watchmaking space.

Watch Back Case Closer Press Set Watch Back Case Closer Press Set
$17.99 $16.99
Number of Dies: 12
Pieces in Set: 14
06/01/2024 07:08 pm GMT
Watch Case Back Press Watch Case Back Press
Number of Dies: 20
06/01/2024 07:09 pm GMT

Case Pressing Tool

With 20 dies, this closing press is an invaluable asset for any watchmaker. It’s a versatile addition to your watchmaking toolkit and accommodates diverse watch types. Made from durable materials, it has a reliable performance even with frequent use. The screw-type mechanism allows for controlled pressure application, ensuring that delicate watch components are not damaged during the process. This is particularly important for maintaining the integrity and functionality of the watch. In addition, the ergonomic design of the tool ensures comfortable use, even during extended periods of work. This makes it ideal for both professional watchmakers and hobbyists. It is a must-have for anyone serious about watch repair.

Horotec Watch Press

The original Horotec press is a top-tier tool designed for professional and serious amateur watchmakers. Crafted by Horotec, renowned for its Swiss precision, this case back press with nylon dies is specifically created for closing snap-on case backs with utmost accuracy and care. Its build quality is the highlight of this tool and ensures long-lasting performance. The precision engineering typical of Swiss-made tools is evident in their smooth operation and reliable performance, applying even pressure, and preventing damage to delicate watch components. While this watch back closer comes with a premium price tag, the quality it offers is unrivaled.

06/01/2024 07:11 pm GMT

Case Back Press Tools FAQs

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Discover the Art of Watchmaking by following my journey through the intricate world of watchmaking with WatchmakingTools.com. I've encompassed my passion and expertise into crafting this hub for enthusiasts and professionals alike, where the secrets of timepiece creation are unveiled. Explore this rich repository of knowledge, from the luxurious allure of Omega’s precious metals to Swatch’s revolution in affordable Swiss watches. Delve into Seiko’s innovative spirit, Rolex’s iconic designs, and the ethical considerations behind mechanical watches. Whether you’re choosing the perfect strap material for style and comfort or seeking the most durable watch case, my comprehensive guides are tailored to enhance your horological experience. Navigate the vintage watch market with confidence, and ensure your timepieces retain their water resistance and precision. At WatchmakingTools.com, we empower you with the tools and insights needed to master the craft. From selecting the best oiler tools to understanding the environmental impact of watchmaking, we cover every facet to elevate your skills and knowledge.

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