How to Open a Pocket Watch: Know the Facts to Protect Your Find

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read the full disclosure here.

How to Open a Pocket Watch: What You Need to Know

Finding an old pocket watch alone is already a rare opportunity. Opening it is also another challenge.

If you have found one that was washed off into the seashore, your first task is to open it.

You can ask for an expert to do the job. There are different types of pocket watches and you may break it if you don’t open it properly. There are ways though for a non-expert like you on how to open a pocket watch easily.

"You need to be extra careful when dealing with these watches since they can easily break."

Don’t Open the Watch Right Away

You need to analyze first what type of watch you are dealing with and if it is still in good condition.

If you happen to find a very old watch, the parts might have been shaken several times and dislodged. Upon opening it, you will see its parts scattered all over the floor. Of course, you don’t want this to happen.

You need to carefully analyze the watch, find out if there are loose items inside and determine how it is properly opened.

Avoid Pressing the Pocket Watch

If you can’t figure out how to open it, you need to place it on a container where it can be secure.

Avoid pressing the pocket watch since there are sensitive parts inside that could be pressed and broken. Crystals for instance are very sensitive. You don’t want to wreck it just because you are very careless.

Use Gloves in Handling the Watch

You don’t know what the watch has gone through before it has reached your hands. It might have been dipped in chemicals or poisonous substances.

There might also be some thorny parts or broken glasses inside it that could possibly infect you if you use your bare hands. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Determine the Type of Pocket Watch

There are different types of pocket watches like screw-off case back, hinged back and bezel, and swing out case. There are different ways to open these pocket watches.

Some of them would require a snap-off on the latch. This is the most common way to deal with it. Some others are enclosed on a protective case first you can reach into the actual pocket watch. Some other watches can only be opened using a sharp knife to separate the top and bottom parts.

You need to be extra careful when dealing with these watches since they can easily break.

Avoid Scratching the Watch

There are cases when you can open the watch using sharp objects such as:

  • Knives
  • Pins
  • Scalpel

In one wrong move, you can scratch the watch or even break it apart.

Take note that you are dealing with old pocket watches that you have just found or was given to you. It is possible that you can’t open it with your bare hands. Thus, you need something sharp.

Unless you have figured out how to open it with the aid of these sharp objects, you have to stop using them first.

Seek Out an Expert’s Help

If you have tried everything you possibly could and you still can’t open the pocket watch, you need to find an expert to do it for you.

It does not help if you keep on figuring out how to open it if the item is already about to be damaged. Those who are considered experts in opening pocket watches have tried dealing with different types of watches. Therefore, you can count on them to do the job.

They can also give you advice on how to properly use the watch.

Here is a video on how to open a pocket watch case (screw on and snap on):

Finding an old watch is a very rare chance and so you need to make the most out of it by taking care of what you have found. If you are really curious to see what is inside, then you need to open it slowly and carefully.

You can always get help from someone who knows how to open a pocket watch. By then, you won’t have to worry about breaking the item. You can also learn from experts how to properly open different types of watch. By then, if you encounter another rare find the next time around, you can open it yourself.


Leave a Comment