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I have a cheap novelty watch that has sentimental value.  I am guessing the battery is dead but I cannot get the back of the case open. The watch case is gold in color about 33mm with what appears to be a silver back which is 23mm and has "Image Watch Inc California" written on it. I cannot find any notches on it and have tried to pry the silver portion up. I cannot get it to move. I would post an image but do not see a way to do that. I found one on eBay that is similar. If you search for "Image Watches Inc California Unisex Project Wild." I am not promoting this just wanted to give you an idea of what I had.

Just frustrated.

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10 minutes ago, riglertke said:

I have a cheap novelty watch that has sentimental value.  I am guessing the battery is dead but I cannot get the back of the case open. The watch case is gold in color about 33mm with what appears to be a silver back which is 23mm and has "Image Watch Inc California" written on it. I cannot find any notches on it and have tried to pry the silver portion up. I cannot get it to move. I would post an image but do not see a way to do that. I found one on eBay that is similar. If you search for "Image Watches Inc California Unisex Project Wild." I am not promoting this just wanted to give you an idea of what I had.

Just frustrated.

Hello and welcome.  Click on add files and upload your photos. 

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1141114852-333825102.thumb.jpg.b3440f52ed4f36c434cacdca0563e60d.jpg

I find that a caseback knife of the above design is best. The conventional caseback knife is prone to slippage and scratching up the cover, as you have discovered.

This Seiko style knife is used with a palm grip, with the handle sitting in the middle of your palm. The blade is wedged into the crack between the case and the caseback. You may have to experiment whether to use the blade with the bevel facing up or down. I find that facing up works 90% of the time. The blade is pushed into the crack without any levering action. This is not a tin can, do not lever the cover off. You are basically using the bevel to wedge the cover off. This method prevents slippages and damage to the caseback. If you are worried of hurting yourself, use a glove on your left hand.

The only time I use a levering action is on watches with the tiny lip on the caseback that is specifically designed to be levered off.

Sometimes cheap watches have incredibly tight casebacks that can only be taken off with more advanced opening tools. Hope yours isn't one if them.

 

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1 hour ago, HectorLooi said:

1141114852-333825102.thumb.jpg.b3440f52ed4f36c434cacdca0563e60d.jpg

I find that a caseback knife of the above design is best. The conventional caseback knife is prone to slippage and scratching up the cover, as you have discovered.

This Seiko style knife is used with a palm grip, with the handle sitting in the middle of your palm. The blade is wedged into the crack between the case and the caseback. You may have to experiment whether to use the blade with the bevel facing up or down. I find that facing up works 90% of the time. The blade is pushed into the crack without any levering action. This is not a tin can, do not lever the cover off. You are basically using the bevel to wedge the cover off. This method prevents slippages and damage to the caseback. If you are worried of hurting yourself, use a glove on your left hand.

The only time I use a levering action is on watches with the tiny lip on the caseback that is specifically designed to be levered off.

Sometimes cheap watches have incredibly tight casebacks that can only be taken off with more advanced opening tools. Hope yours isn't one if them.

 

I use this type most if the time, if not this then a single rdged razor blade to make a gap and then this tool.

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17 minutes ago, Knebo said:

could it be a front-loader with a split stem?

That was my thinking, no way that dial is fitting through that 'case back' - unless the pictures are some kind of visual illusion or camera trickery, maybe not a split stem so check before you start pulling on it, it may just lift out like a cushion type movement?

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Definitely have a good look if you can just remove the bezel/crystal.

I have a watch where I was trying to remove a very similar-looking "caseback", causing scratches etc. In the end, it was a front loader and it was easy to remove the bezel/crystal. Mine had a split stem. But yea, as @Waggy said, be careful before you pull hard and break something if it isn't...

 

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Thank you for your help. I had to pop the bezel off. It was easy... then I tried to loosen the stem. I pulled on, apparently to hard, and I think it broke.  had the tilt the guts out and slide out the stem. I think I am going to find a similar watch and swap the dial. I put a hurtin' on that case and the crystal had a crack. Live and learn. I appreciate all of the help you provided.

17181406443167436224609128666983.jpg

17181406698746383045431180540873.jpg

17181407531085853712420667919671.jpg

17181407689064908356809684013748.jpg

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That is not a split stem. Cheap watches do not use split stems as that costs money.

The correct way is to pop the back off and release the stem. The battery is also accessed via the back.

When you get your caseback knife, practice on the old watch first. And another advice I almost forgot to give is... if it's that difficult to open, it'll be difficult to close. You'll need a caseback/crystal press.

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2 hours ago, riglertke said:

Thank you for your help. I had to pop the bezel off. It was easy... then I tried to loosen the stem. I pulled on, apparently to hard, and I think it broke.  had the tilt the guts out and slide out the stem. I think I am going to find a similar watch and swap the dial. I put a hurtin' on that case and the crystal had a crack. Live and learn. I appreciate all of the help you provided.

17181406443167436224609128666983.jpg

17181406698746383045431180540873.jpg

17181407531085853712420667919671.jpg

17181407689064908356809684013748.jpg

I seem to remember a little depress divot right around here somewhere.  Anyhow you now need to order another stem so lets start by finding the movement code on there

Screenshot_20240612-003934_Samsung Internet.jpg

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1 hour ago, Kalanag said:

Buy a new movement with stem included. It‘s cheap!

IMG_6406.thumb.jpeg.1750dd0f9aab7fb0a0ad7be2cd042411.jpeg

I knew they would be cheap buts thats ridiculously cheap..

10 minutes ago, VWatchie said:

Thanks for explaining how to use these. Would you also use them to remove bezels?

I have H . I find i can control them better and exert more pressure safely with them, only on vintage though which are not as difficult to remove as modern watch bezelsI, I don't work on anything modern.

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25 minutes ago, AndyGSi said:

These aren't generally used for removing bezels.

If you're careful you can sometimes get away with a stanley knife blade or these are designed for the job.

image.png.8184d09afdbf346d9ee2fd47f8634208.png

 

I would say it all depends on the watch you are working on. With vintage watches which to my mind is anything pre 70's then my first go to tool is my thumb nail this can often work with something pre 60's. Then i try the tool suggested by Hector with the yellow handle, i have two one has a more sharpened edge than the other. Finally a razor blade, if a sharpened 0.2mm hardened blade isn't going in then probably nothing will. 

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