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Hi again - no problem removing the crystal with a thin blade and the crown split from the stem easily so I was able take movement out of the case.

It is an ETA 2542 movement and is in very tidy condition and runs well.  My next step is just a minor outside clean and put it back in my collection.

Once again thanks for the good advice and I look forward to sharing my next project - a recently acquired TAG Formula 1.

Bilo

20231125_120530[1].jpg

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On 11/22/2023 at 4:16 PM, 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.

As promised, I'm following up with a report on the tool sold by FDJ Tool. It's a mixed bag. The "Super Quality Back Opener" for quartz watches works great when there's a bezel, but it's not working for tight back covers like the Chenxi. The blade is too thick. I suppose grinding it to a finer point would introduce the chance for blade breakage. For bezeled watch backs, all I do is tighten the wheel and the blade easily pops the back. The photo shows my tools of choice. The utility knife is the only tool that can remove tight backs for me. If the back has a gasket, it could be damaged, but that's the cost of removal. The other silver knife works OK for some watches. The black pry bar is a bit too thick for hard-to-remove backs, but good for most bezels. I'm not sure a more expensive tool like the FDJ item would be any better, and I won't pay to find out.

watch back removers.jpg

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On 11/24/2023 at 3:58 AM, Bilo said:

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.

I have an 'Empire' watch with a case like this. Mine is a split stem, so I first removed the crown, then the 4 small screws, then push on the crystal and the case back and movement will come out.

There was a seller on ebay about a year ago that was selling a bunch of watches with this same case but a number of different manufacturers. EDIT: he is still selling them. Here is a link with the movement out of the case.

 

 

20231128_163150-copy.thumb.jpg.e3b2517ccc0aded7f53e9ea558c049ab.jpg

 

 

Edited by GuyMontag
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Thanks for the info.

Yes, your watch is similar to mine with the 4 grub screws holding it all together.  Going by the movement, mine is probably from the 1960s. Yours looks a bit older.

I don't normally collect these types of watches, but I couldn't resist it as it was unusual and in great condition and only a few dollars at church thrft shop.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/28/2023 at 2:56 PM, rph952 said:

As promised, I'm following up with a report on the tool sold by FDJ Tool. It's a mixed bag. The "Super Quality Back Opener" for quartz watches works great when there's a bezel, but it's not working for tight back covers like the Chenxi. The blade is too thick. I suppose grinding it to a finer point would introduce the chance for blade breakage. For bezeled watch backs, all I do is tighten the wheel and the blade easily pops the back. The photo shows my tools of choice. The utility knife is the only tool that can remove tight backs for me. If the back has a gasket, it could be damaged, but that's the cost of removal. The other silver knife works OK for some watches. The black pry bar is a bit too thick for hard-to-remove backs, but good for most bezels. I'm not sure a more expensive tool like the FDJ item would be any better, and I won't pay to find out.

watch back removers.jpg

After using the FDJ tool some more, it's pretty good with the right technique. Slowly increase pressure on the blade against the case. The force will lift up the back. Prying up the blade is less important than just straight force.

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