Screw Back & Bezel (SB&B) Cases:

Screw Back & Bezel Cases
This style of watch case is an open face case, with a direct view of the dial.  Both the front bezel and back cover screw on and off.  The bezel is the front rim of the watch's case that covers the dial and where the crystal is secured to the watch.

To remove either the front or the back, hold the frame (side) of the watch with one hand and grip the edge of the case.  Turn counter-clockwise until the bezel is free from the frame.  Reverse the process to seat the front or back cover back onto the watch frame.


Hinge Back (HB) and Hinge Back & Bezel (HB&B) Cases:

Hinge Back (& Bezel) Cases
This style of watch case is an open face case, with a direct view of the dial.  On the HB&B style, front bezel and back cover(s) have hinges, while the HB style will have a hinged back cover but could have either a screw bezel (see above) or friction fit bezel (see below).  The bezel is the front rim of the watch's case that covers the dial and where the crystal is secured to the watch.

To open the hinged cover, hold the frame (side) of the watch with one hand and, with a thin-bladed pocket knife in the other hand, use the knife to gently pop open the bezel or back cover(s) using a slight rotating and inward-push motion at the case lips.  Case lips are slightly extended, or depressed, sections of metal on the front and back of the case, normally found near the 1 o'clock position.  To close the case, place a thumb at the edge of the front or back cover at 2 and 10 o'clock and press firmly until you hear the snap-sound indicating the back or bezel is properly seated.


Hunting Cases (HC) and Demi-Hunting Cases (demi-HC):

Hunting & Demi-Hunting Cases
This style of watch case has a cover that conceals the dial and a stem/crown positioned at 3 o'clock as opposed to the usual 12 o'clock orientation.  In addition to offering a variation in style, the hunting case also affords protection to the dial (face) and crystal of the watch.  A variation of this style is called Demi-Hunting, which includes a circular window in the case's front cover that allows the time to be read without opening the case.

To open the front cover, depress the crown towards the watch; most hunting cases are spring loaded and will open to reveal the dial with no need for a pocket knife.  To close the front, once again depress the crown towards the watch with one hand and with the other hand, lower the front case until it is flush with the case frame.  Releasing the crown to the "wind set" position will then return the interior spring to the closed position and will re-secure the front cover.

To open the back cover(s), follow the instructions above for the hinged back style.


Swing-Out or Swing-Ring Cases (SRC):

Swing-Out and/or Swing-Ring Cases
A swing-out case, also known as a swing-ring case (SRC), is an open face style case with a removable front bezel and an interior hinged movement ring that allows access to the movement by swinging the watch out from the back case cover.  The bezel is the front rim of the watch's case that covers the dial and where the crystal is secured to the watch.

To remove the front bezel, use the above instructions for the SB&B case style or the HB&B case style depending on the style of your SRC.

To then gain access to the movement, once the front bezel is removed, pull the crown out from the watch to the "time set" position.  There will be a depressed lip, usually near the 6 o'clock position, where you can fit a thin-bladed knife to help lever the movement ring from the case back.

If you feel resistance near the crown when attempting to swing the watch from the case, gently turning the crown may alleviate some friction by aligning the interior stem with the movement.  To close the watch, lower the movement ring back into the case, making sure that it is flush with the case frame, and then screw or snap the bezel back onto the watch case.  See the above instructions for additional information if needed.


Friction Fit Cases:

A friction fit case will typically be an open face style case where the front bezel and back cover are held to the watch case frame with friction only; there are no hinges or screw-down closures such as those detailed above.

To open either the front or the back, hold the frame (side) of the watch with one hand and, with a thin-bladed pocket knife in the hand, use the knife to gently pop open the bezel or back cover(s) using a slight rotating and inward-push motion at the case lips.  Case lips are slightly extended, or depressed, sections of metal on the front and back of the case, normally found near the 1 o'clock position.  To close either the case front or back, visually confirm you have the front bezel or back cover lined up properly with the frame then place a thumb at the edge at 2 and 10 o'clock and press firmly until you hear the snap-sound indicating the bezel or back is properly seated.


Additional Information:

For proper maintenance of your vintage mechanical watch, we suggest that if you are carrying/wearing the watch daily, you have it cleaned and serviced by a professional watchmaker annually.  If the watch is used sparingly or for display, we suggest this be done once every 3-5 years.  We also recommend that if you do not already carry your watch regularly you wind it at least 2-3 times a month to help keep the movement works active.  Think of your watch like you do your car; preventative service on a regular schedule can save wear and tear on the parts and extend the life of your watch!  Please feel free to contact us any time you have questions about this.


When not in use, we suggest storing the watch in a dry covered location, try to avoid places where excessive moisture or dust will accumulate or where the watch would be in direct sunlight.  We suggest glass domed displays or cloth lined storage boxes (such as a jewelry box).  Although not necessary to the working condition of your watch, we also suggest purchasing a polishing cloth to help maintain the luster of your case.  We do carry a basic selection of these items on our web site under the "Supplies" section.


Related Products:
Vintage Pocket Watches


➔ Return to the main Winding, Setting, & Opening Instructions page
➔ View a PDF version of this page for easy printing or downloading