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I have a dress watch, Armani AR0272, with a clip on back that simply won't budge and all I'm achieving with various back removal tools, levers and even small screwdrivers are more and more scratches. I'm also scared that pressing on the lever (to stop it slipping out of the slot) will result in the tool ploughing through the mechanism if the back suddenly gives so what are my options please?

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Btw the big scratch on the right wasn't me(!) but the marks centre top were. I have a pry bar and two different "tab" style openers but none of them will stay in the slot and as I said I don't want to be leaning on any of them too hard in case the back does suddenly give out and I gouge the mech inside.

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6 hours ago, mikepilk said:

But with my cheapo tool wasn't a problem

I have the same one and it's my go-to if the case knife doesn't do the trick. There is a technique with the case knife as @Michael1962 says, more of a twisting action than a pushing/levering one. I also have one of those spring loaded things, like a spring loaded center punch, but I find them difficult to use and have a small scar in the palm of my hand where it slipped, however it does seem to work well on the thinner quartz type case backs.

Probably need to think about replacing the case back too. If its this hard to get off, you can be reasonably sure it will be difficult to put back so need to think about how you will do this, a case press is probably the best option and can be relatively inexpensive:

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Let us know how you get on 🙂

 

Edited by Waggy
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Yes I've tried pushing, twisting swearing! I saw someone using a small jewellers screwdriver and a small hammer- yeek!!!

"mikepilk" that looks like the kind of tool I was imagining, a pry bar but with a clamp to keep it in the slot 😄 Where did you get it please?

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12 minutes ago, PeteG said:

Yes I've tried pushing, twisting swearing! I saw someone using a small jewellers screwdriver and a small hammer- yeek!!!

"mikepilk" that looks like the kind of tool I was imagining, a pry bar but with a clamp to keep it in the slot 😄 Where did you get it please?

I bought it on ebay. Cousins do one for about £15, (or £70 for the same but labelled Swiss!)   https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/bench-top-case-openers

I have the same cheap case press tool as shown by @Waggy. It works well. 

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4 minutes ago, PeteG said:

Thanks very much for the advice 🙂 I have a press already but I'm ordering one of these openers asap, if not sooner!!

The best way I have found to use this tool is to move the blade so it is aligned horizontally at the same height as the gap between the case and case back. Next wind in until you make contact with the gap between the case and case back, then give the wheel a 1/4 turn (may be less on your model depending on the thread pitch) then try 4 or 5 levering actions as up and down, note that you may not get it on the first levering action, but maybe on number 4 or 5? Next, tighten the wheel a fraction and repeat the 4 or 5 levering actions, and so on. If you go too hard too fast there is a real risk you can deform the case and/or case back. If it isn't working, back off completely and grab a coffee and then come back and start again and but move the case a mm or two to the right or left of where it was (if possible). If you don't re-start and just keep going you can deform the case back and crimp it in place, then it's really is stuck there, or if it releases the blade will carry on and damage the case and/or sealing surface.

When the case back pops it goes with a bang.

Another warning, and I learned this the hard way, make sure that the crown is in the little cut out (green insert thing in the picture above) this will reduce the chance of it seeing any bending force and snapping the stem 😭. Also watch how much you lever up of down as this too could cause the crown to contact the bottom of the tool and snap the stem, or catapult the watch out of the tool completely and fire it across the room (been there too!).

@mikepilk et al., chime in if you have any other recommendations on using the tool.

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That's how I do it @Waggy. I bought this tool after scratching a dial while removing a bezel using a case knife. I never liked using the case knife - there's always the possibility of it slipping and scratching something, or cutting yourself. There's no chance of that happening with this tool.

 

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Thanks all. I don't have to worry about the crown or the stem getting bent on mine as the slot and crown are at 90 degrees to each other, hence why I removed the strap and pin for access.

Well, fingers crossed, I'll report back how I get on 🙂

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I use the one Cousins list as the Chinese model but got mine from China so paid a he'll of a lot less than the £70 Cousins are asking, I think I paid around £20 if not a bit less when I got mine, not encountered a tight snap back it was unable to open yet 😉

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2 hours ago, Paul80 said:

I use the one Cousins list as the Chinese model but got mine from China so paid a he'll of a lot less than the £70 Cousins are asking, I think I paid around £20 if not a bit less when I got mine, not encountered a tight snap back it was unable to open yet 😉

Only the one listed as Swiss is £70. The one listed as Indian is only £14

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I have the same problem with a Chinese Chenxi brand watch. There's hardly any case back showing and it's super tight. I gave up using the standard pry tools and ordered the type mikepilk shows. I got mine from FDJ Tool in Florida, $40 with shipping. Amazon has a similar model for a bit less, but it's direct from China. I've never bought from FDJ. I'll report on how it goes. They also sell spare pry bars.

Edited by rph952
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7 hours ago, rph952 said:

I have the same problem with a Chinese Chenxi brand watch. There's hardly any case back showing and it's super tight. I gave up using the standard pry tools and ordered the type mikepilk shows. I got mine from FDJ Tool in Florida, $40 with shipping. Amazon has a similar model for a bit less, but it's direct from China. I've never bought from FDJ. I'll report on how it goes. They also sell spare pry bars.

I also have this type of remover, super tight casebacks on modern quartz fashion watches still cause it a problem. The blade that comes with the cheap version is too thick and soft and when reduced in thickness damages really easy. A one sided razor blade can work in better.

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I've got a slightly different problem, but along the same lines.  I have an unusual Swiss automatic watch that I can't figure out how to open up. The watch is branded Meridian - Superautomatic 25 jewels and as hopefully, the photos show, has a solid one piece case with crystal held into a frame with 4 grub screws. Has anyone got any suggestions how to go about openning it up. Also, does anyone have any information about this make of watch - I can't find anything .   Thanks

 

 

 

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Hi without a close up of the edge to determine whether it is one piece or two , by the look of picture two it seems the back is removeable. The screws may hold the bezel on .  First remove the screws and see what you get but access to the stem is limited other than it being a split stem.  You could try a one sided razor blade on the seam on the back carefully inserting the blade round the perimeter in order to crack the seal. At this point just press it into the seam . Once you have an opening then use a case knife. Be very careful and wear a glove when using the blade.

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HI  thanks for your reply.  Sorry about the photos, but the case is defineitly one piece. Looking at it from the side the are 3 layers: the glass that has a stepped recess around all sides that accommodates the stainless steel frame, a thin layer of white plastic material that appears to be the edge of the face and the case.  I did think of trying to prise up the white layer but there is the problem of the stem, unless,  as you point out , it's a 2 piece job.  Needless to say, I'm a bit reluctant to give it a pull without knowing for sure that it will come apart. So back to square one?

 

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Looks to me like the crystal has a lip which just sits on a gasket, which in turn just sits on the one piece case to form a capsule. The whole lot is then clamped tight into the bezel to seal it by the four grub screws. You've got the capsule out of the bezel ok and I reckon that he crystal, gasket, and case have simply glued themselves together over time. A razor blade gently inserted between the gasket and the case may be all that is needed to get them to separate, but be careful not to damage the gasket.

It looks like a two piece stem too so once the crystal is off you will need to either pull the stem apart or try turning the whole thing upside down and slowly rotating the crown until the movement drops out.

 

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Edited by Marc
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Thanks guys for the advice - I've since had a look at the gasket edge under my microscope and there is a chamfer that could be an insertion point for a thin blade.

I'll try first using a  razor blade and hopefully get it apart.

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