How to Remove a Bezel From a Pocket Watch

Written by rob wagner
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How to Remove a Bezel From a Pocket Watch
The bezel of a pocket watch is the outer front ringer that holds the crystal in place. (pocket watch image by Edsweb from

Removing the bezel of a pocket watch is a simple procedure. However, different types of pocket watches require different methods for removal. You can get products that are sold to safely and quickly remove a pocket watch bezel. The most common bezel removers look like an elaborate jar opener in which a circular rubber grip is attached to the bezel to twist it off. A bezel remover can be expensive. Most bezels don't need such equipment because most unscrew with just a little hand pressure.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Rubberised jar opener
  • Dish soap and water
  • Toothbrush
  • Lint-free absorbent cloth
  • Case blade
  • Watch oil and oiler

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    Screw-Down Pocket Watch

  1. 1

    Place the pocket watch crystal side up in the palm of you hand. Place your fingertips around the edges of the bezel. The bezel is a ring that holds the crystal, or glass, into place.

  2. 2

    Rotate your fingers counterclockwise. Continue rotating the bezel until it's free from the watch case. Be careful that the crystal does not fall away from the bezel.

  3. 3

    Use a rubber jar opener or a flat piece of rubber no larger than the size of a computer mouse pad, to remove a stubborn bezel.

  4. 4

    Use soapy warm water and a toothbrush to gently clean the bezel to free it of dirt and grime. Dry with lint-free absorbent cloth.

  5. 5

    Replace the bezel in the reverse order of disassembly.

    Snap-Down Bezel

  1. 1

    Locate the lip on the underside of the bezel at either at 6 or 12 o'clock. Snap-down bezels are usually found on older, inexpensive pocket watches.

  2. 2

    Insert the case blade or fingernail under the lip and push down. The bezel will pop off.

  3. 3

    Follow steps 4 and 5 of Section 1 to clean and reassemble the bezel and crystal.

    Hinge Back Pocket Watch

  1. 1

    Locate the two small hinges at 6 o'clock for the case back and bezel. Locate the lip at the opposite end.

  2. 2

    Insert a case blade or fingernail under the lip to pry open the bezel. The bezel will remain on its hinges.

  3. 3

    Put two drops of oil on each of the hinges to lubricate them. Wipe excess oil with a lint-free cloth.

  4. 4

    Follow steps 4 and 5 of Section 1 to clean and reassemble the bezel and crystal.

Tips and warnings

  • It's best to sit at a clean, flat table that is raised chest high to allow your arms to rest on the tabletop and allow you closer inspection of the bezel.
  • Never force off a bezel or case back of a pocket watch. You will break something or strip the threads of a screw-down model. If the bezel is too stubborn with modest pressure, take it to a watchmaker for removal.

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