How to Remove Watch Backs to Change Batteries

If the battery in your trusty wrist watch has died and you're adventurous enough to replace it yourself, the first thing you'll have to do is remove the back of your watch. Though some people are hesitant to open their watch cases for fear of damaging the mechanisms, the process is actually quite simple and can be completed even without previous watch repair experience. Once the back of your watch has been removed, you can replace the battery and have your watch back on your wrist in no time.

Select a table, desk or other clean, flat surface to perform your watch battery replacement.

Pad the work surface with a sheet of felt or optical cleaning cloth to protect your watch from accidental scratches and scuffs that may occur during the repair.

Lay your watch face down on the felt sheet or optical cleaning cloth so that you can examine its back.

Remove the 4 to 6 screws that secure the back of your watch. Set the watch back and watch case screws aside until you are ready to reassemble the watch.

Choose a clean, flat surface where you can replace the battery in your watch.

Cushion your work surface with a sheet of felt or soft cloth. Lay your watch face down on the felt sheet or soft cloth to begin your repairs.

Examine the back of your watch to determine which method to use to remove it.

Remove a notched snap-on watch back with the help of a watch case opening tool or pair of needle-nose jewellery pliers. Align the tips of the watch case opening tool with the notches on your watch's back cover. Tighten your grip on the watch case while twisting the case opening tool; the watch back should pop free. If using needle-nose jewellery pliers, insert the tips of the pliers into a notch on each side of the watch back and grip tightly. Twist the pliers one direction while twisting the watch in the opposite direction to free the watch back.

Remove a snap-on watch back without notches by inserting the tip of an optical sized flathead screwdriver into the small groove between the watch back and the rest of the watch case. Work the optical sized flathead screwdriver back and forth until you are able to pry the watch back free.


Some watch manufacturers position important springs directly underneath the watch back. When removing the back of a screw fastened watch, slide the back of the watch off slowly to avoid losing the springs or any other important internal components.


Opening your watch case to replace its battery may void the warranty on your watch. Consult the warranty information that came with your watch for more information. In most cases, you can keep your watch under warranty by sending it to the manufacturer for repair or having the repair performed by a professional jeweller.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth or sheet of felt
  • Optical sized Philips screwdriver
  • Optical sized flathead screwdriver
  • Watch case opening tool
  • Needle-nose jewellery pliers
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About the Author

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.