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Old 6 September 2019, 08:41 PM   #1
peterSS
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[Q] How to open a rusty tight backcase

Hello.

I am trying to open my old 1601 with my hand rolex opener.
But however I try to open it carefully it just slips and slips on my hand...

How can I open the backcase safely ?

Thanks.
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Old 6 September 2019, 09:30 PM   #2
MorningTundra
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Look for the post that describes supergluing a nut onto the caseback. Then using a spanner to apply some proper torque. Then removed by soaking in acetone. works like a charm.


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Old 6 September 2019, 10:13 PM   #3
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Look for the post that describes supergluing a nut onto the caseback. Then using a spanner to apply some proper torque. Then removed by soaking in acetone. works like a charm.


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^^^^ This
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Old 8 September 2019, 01:52 AM   #4
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If all else fails, I've had some luck using a torch with a wide brush flame on the threads: the caseback and mid-case heat at different rates and that can sometimes break loose the dirt or gasket. Don't try this if you're not ready to sacrifice the dial or acrylic crystal, that hasn't happened to me yet, but I'm aware that it could be a consequence if I overheat the watch.
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Old 8 September 2019, 03:32 AM   #5
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Hand openers do slip, frequently. A proper stand opener, such as the LG Openall would be a good choice.
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Old 8 September 2019, 12:00 PM   #6
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Super glue and oxy torches 😬
Why not try taking it to a watchmaker who has proper equipment. Just an idea...
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Old 8 September 2019, 12:21 PM   #7
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Not always ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashton_Horologist View Post
Super glue and oxy torches 😬
Why not try taking it to a watchmaker who has proper equipment. Just an idea...
I have a nice old Clebar 3 register chronograph well overdue for a service - very poor time keeping. 3 different watchmakers have each had a go at removing the case-back ... and all three have handed it back to me with the case back still locked on.

One fella was 82 years old and very proud to state that he'd never been beaten by a stuborn case back .... he can no longer make that claim. Between them they tried heating the case, freezing the case, oiling where the case-back faces up to the case, and the hex nut and glue trick. They tried every tool available to them even culminating with a case in a vice and a cold chisel hammering the tool slots. The case back now has gruesome scratches and gouges on it ... and it hasn't budged.

If the case-back has a galled thread (cold welded) it can be a b*stard to get off. I recall a fella showing an old Rolex on VRF a few years ago that had a hole drilled on opposite sides of the case back as an old school l last ditch effort that had been successful
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Old 8 September 2019, 11:01 PM   #8
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Maybe itís a snap on? 😂
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Old 9 September 2019, 04:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul View Post
I have a nice old Clebar 3 register chronograph well overdue for a service - very poor time keeping. 3 different watchmakers have each had a go at removing the case-back ... and all three have handed it back to me with the case back still locked on.

Last edited by Tools; 9 September 2019 at 07:57 AM..
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Old 9 September 2019, 07:01 AM   #10
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Weld a nut to the back


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Old 9 September 2019, 07:13 AM   #11
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Soak it in Coca Cola syrup?
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Old 9 September 2019, 12:45 PM   #12
Styles Bitchley
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Quote:
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Weld a nut to the back


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That would have to work.
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Old 9 September 2019, 01:55 PM   #13
Dan S
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Quote:
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Weld a nut to the back


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That would make wearing the watch a bit uncomfortable.
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Old 12 October 2019, 05:18 AM   #14
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I had the same experience Paul had: three very gifted watchmakers attempted to remove that caseback. One went as far as to rent a piece of equipment that "never fails" from his colleague on 47th Street. I didn't reach for the torch idly or prematurely. Using the hot-melt glue-gun to attach a nut or transverse bar to the caseback is something that others have recommended: that is completely reversible, once the caseback is off, the glue can be removed without trace or damage. I NEVER work on my own watches, that's not where my talents lie, but in this case, all my watchmakers had failed, and they've succeeded on some very tough projects over the years.
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Old 12 October 2019, 05:36 AM   #15
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I had to put a watch in a small vise padded with towels. This allowed me to use both hands using the tool to open the case back. Push down hard as not to slip or strip the case back when turning. Never thought of hot gluing a nut to the back, try this first. Not sure if applying heat will help or damage things further. Best of luck.

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Old 12 October 2019, 06:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tools View Post
Hand openers do slip, frequently. A proper stand opener, such as the LG Openall would be a good choice.
This
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Old 12 October 2019, 09:23 PM   #17
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I use a stand opener made by Bergeon. On super tough ones you might need to tighten it before loosening it to try and crack whatever it is that is locking the threads. Could be rust, corrosion or even steel on steel fusion, but no case back has ever not opened for me using this tool. Some have been a bit*h to open, but they eventually do.
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Old 14 October 2019, 08:11 AM   #18
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Am I the only one who wonders why the OP wants to open the watch?

Me thinks bad idea
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Old 14 October 2019, 10:11 PM   #19
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Am I the only one who wonders why the OP wants to open the watch?

Me thinks bad idea
I did wonder about that but presumably OP has to check something out.
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Old 14 October 2019, 11:30 PM   #20
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Sofar never failed, but surely watchmakers have similar.
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Old 15 October 2019, 03:34 AM   #21
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People who recommend gluing a nut to the caseback have likely never tried it. Epoxy or superglue on a smooth caseback has approximately zero resistance to shear forces. I've tried it. The Bergeon/LG tools mentioned above are the only workable solution.
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Old 15 October 2019, 05:23 AM   #22
loupe
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A retired Rolex watchmaker gave me these propeller opening tools which came in very handy when the caseback on my 1680 red wouldnít budge.
I soaked the case back in oil for a few days, screwed the case vice to the workbench and very carefully applied pressure so as not to slip.
Worked a treat!



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Old 15 October 2019, 05:27 AM   #23
Nickn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loupe View Post
A retired Rolex watchmaker gave me these propeller opening tools which came in very handy when the caseback on my 1680 red wouldnít budge.
I soaked the case back in oil for a few days, screwed the case vice to the workbench and very carefully applied pressure so as not to slip.
Worked a treat!



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These are what I use never had a problem removing a tight back
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Old 16 October 2019, 11:20 AM   #24
motoikkyu
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Sometimes it's frustrating when folks won't believe you, but that is the nature of the internet. I'm telling you, 47th Street Manhattan! These guys used all the "legitimate" opening tools available, including two of the "big ratchet wheel" appliances, either the Bargeon or the LG. Did NOT budge my case-back! No idea why: melted gasket, corrosion, mixture of both, etc. That's why I used the torch: I put it in a vise in a case-holder, played the brush flame on it to heat the case-back and make its dimensions change vs. the mid-case. I know it's impossible for you to believe that the LG or the Bargeon could fail, but in my case, I assure you they did. The watch was a Tudor D-D Jumbo, still in my possession.
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Old 16 October 2019, 11:51 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoikkyu View Post
Sometimes it's frustrating when folks won't believe you, but that is the nature of the internet. I'm telling you, 47th Street Manhattan! These guys used all the "legitimate" opening tools available, including two of the "big ratchet wheel" appliances, either the Bargeon or the LG. Did NOT budge my case-back! No idea why: melted gasket, corrosion, mixture of both, etc. That's why I used the torch: I put it in a vise in a case-holder, played the brush flame on it to heat the case-back and make its dimensions change vs. the mid-case. I know it's impossible for you to believe that the LG or the Bargeon could fail, but in my case, I assure you they did. The watch was a Tudor D-D Jumbo, still in my possession.
Small consolation but here's what it looks like, AS 1895, ref 7020.

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Old 16 October 2019, 05:01 PM   #26
loupe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoikkyu View Post
Sometimes it's frustrating when folks won't believe you, but that is the nature of the internet. I'm telling you, 47th Street Manhattan! These guys used all the "legitimate" opening tools available, including two of the "big ratchet wheel" appliances, either the Bargeon or the LG. Did NOT budge my case-back! No idea why: melted gasket, corrosion, mixture of both, etc. That's why I used the torch: I put it in a vise in a case-holder, played the brush flame on it to heat the case-back and make its dimensions change vs. the mid-case. I know it's impossible for you to believe that the LG or the Bargeon could fail, but in my case, I assure you they did. The watch was a Tudor D-D Jumbo, still in my possession.
Iím not saying I donít believe you.
I just posted a pic of old Rolex tools which I thought would be of interest to some and my experience of using them.
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Old 19 October 2019, 11:19 AM   #27
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https://www.boltdepot.com/fastener-i...d-galling.aspx
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