How does one open the back of this watch?

My wife has a Mark Jacobs Valentine watch. The back looks like this. The thing is no longer running and the wife wishes to remedy that. We found a watch repair outfit a few miles down the road; however, the repairer was unable to remove the back. To be fair, the repairer stated she did not want to ruin the thing so she tried, but gingerly, to no avail. I also tried finding a how to guide online to remove the thing. Evidently I’m not looking for the correct thing because I’m getting no joy with that either.

So, my undying gratitude if someone here points me to an online video or manual showing how to remove the back of this particular watch.

Look for a thin slot cut into one edge of the back, right up against the front case.
That’s a place to wedge a tiny screwdriver tip into to pry the back off.

(I have no experience with this watch, but that’s a common way that watch manufacturers use to open watches without screw-on backs.)

Yeah, that’s what I always thought too. But I have a watch that is maybe 15 years old that stopped working 10 years ago. I’ve been trying to get the back off ever since (I have not taken it in to a jeweler, so it’s not that urgent in my case). There is no tiny slot.

Good luck, @Monty.


Try a jewelry store that sells watches. They may have the tools and expertise to get it open.

In the pre-FitBit days I had a nice Citizen watch that I had worn since high school. I used to have to take it to a local jewelers every couple of years when the battery died because I couldn’t get the back off myself.

There is a specialized tool for pry-off backs which is a sort of rounded knife. If it’s that sort of back, it may take some force to get the case opener in there. There may well not be a slot.

In rare instances, the back doesn’t come off and you have to go in via removing the crystal, but it usually says so on the back.

It’s odd that it has those bump outs where one would expect screws on that case back. Could they be little covers for the screw holes, and they pry off?

Have you tried a suction cup? I’m not sure if a random one you’ll find around your house with be strong enough, small enough and be made in a way that you can grab it, but I thought that was a pretty common tool for opening watches.
As for, what appears to be rivets, could they just be decoration and not actually fasteners?

I sent this pic to a friend who is the most watch savvy person I know. I got an immediate reply, “not a Rolex”. Heh, my friend knows pretty much all you can know about Rolex timepieces, but absolutely nothing about watches that aren’t a Rolex.

To be fair, your friend knows one thing about watches that aren’t a Rolex.

I’m pretty into watches, taking them apart and putting back together, and I watch a number of people doing the same on YouTube, and I’ve never seen anyone use a suction cup. And I highly doubt one could successfully be used to open this type of case.

You can use a rubber or silicone ball to help twist open the screw-on type of watch back, rather than the special tool that fits that particular back, but pressed on case backs are generally opened with a case knife.

I’ve used a last resort technique for a screw-on case back, but I can’t figure out a version of it that would work for a press on back. The technique I used was to take an 11mm socket and super glue it to the case back, letting it sit overnight. Then, attach a socket wrench and turn. Once it’s open, take the socket and back, and fill the socket with acetone. After a bit, you can pour out the acetone and then knock the case back off, and clean it off with the extra acetone.

But I’m not sure how you could adapt that to a pry off back.

That’s likely what I was thinking of. It’s a very common way to pop the front or back glass off a cell phone and I probably just conflated them.

I guess I should have googled first – there are special suction tools. I’ve never seen them used, so I wonder if the rubber ball has sort of replaced it. But it’s also possible that the people I watch just don’t happen to use it. Sorry about that.

Too late to add to my previous post:

For the OP:

I checked a watch forum, and they specifically recommend a Seiko/Citizen style case back tool. This is a prying tool that is more square at the end, not as curved as a case knife. You press in and wiggle it, and can pry up – don’t twist.

Also, one person had some luck loosening things up by putting their watch in the freezer for a couple of hours. Get the metals moving differently to break the grip between them.

Finally, you could use the last resort technique I mentioned above above, but glue something like a large screwdriver on, then after it sits overnight, try to gently pry up. Super glue may not be sufficient though. Someone mentioned using sand able epoxy, but that’s beyond what I’d take on.