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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I see that some have posted similar questions and received help.

I have an everyday quartz wearer, an Laco Absolute 880203. It is time to replace the battery, but I cannot figure out how to open the caseback. I'd like to do this myself (shops are closed due to the pandemic). I have a cheap pry tool. I do not see a lip. I though there may be a small indent at 9:00. I tried with the tool, but after it slipped once, I am hesitant to try too aggressively in case I scratch it.

back.jpg

The watch is described here as a closed case back; there are other photos:

https://www.laco.de/en/watches/laco-vintage/laco-absolute-880203

Is this a snap back? How should I open it. Is there a pointer to where there may be a lip to help me pry?

Thank you,
John
 

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Check the back again as it's a different material and finish, so obviously it must come off

DON
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I note Don's suggestion. But, I have a follow up.
Is it possible that the watch is not snap on? Might it be screw on or something else?
How can I determine?
 

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I note Don's suggestion. But, I have a follow up.
Is it possible that the watch is not snap on? Might it be screw on or something else?
How can I determine?
Not likely - if it threads onto the case, you will see notches or some other way of engaging a tool on the case back to apply torque. Seeing none indicates it is a snap on case back.

Before you take any steps to remove this, do you have a proper press to put it back on again? If not, that is the first thing you need to get, because these types of case backs will often require a press to put them back on. I have seen people try to install them using other means - some have been brought to me in a plastic bag in pieces after such attempts, with a lot of damage to be repaired.

But to remove the case back, you should never pry. If there is no obvious spot to start, then you have to find a thin tool to get the process started - a single edged razor blade is the thinnest I use. Push that in and it will open the gap slightly, then work it all around the case. Then move to a slightly thicker blade, and do the same. Carry on until the case back comes off. Never pry - use the blades as a wedge that will eventually lift the case back off.

Cheers, Al
 

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Hi Don,

Check the back again as it's a different material and finish, so obviously it must come off
A useful rule, but no rule without exceptions: Tissot made Seastar-Seven models with fixed (riveted) steelback on a plated bezel. But as they had no obvious spot to apply a case knife, they need to be opened as obviously from the front.

Anyway, for my archive I opened quite some cases, and never met one which didn't clearly indicated how to open it, at least after a close look. So the problem is not how to open a case, but rather poeple who apply any opener without first looking, which, where, and how.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the suggestions so far. Will make sure I have proper tools and analyze first. I already inflicted a small nick, before turning to this forum.

Perhaps I don't know where to look. Is there an industry reference where I can look up the case back mechanism for a particular watch? The manual that came with the watch described the movement and how to set (it has a dual time zone and date function). But, nothing about opening battery replacement.
 

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I just looked at the pictures of your model on Laco's website. I don't think there is any way it is a front loader so you are on the right track. If you think there is a small indent at 9:00 that is likely the spot. You might want to order some better case open tools or try the razor blade method mentioned above. Definitely use a loupe to see what you're doing.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How do you know it is at 3? I looked at the photos and the watch and don't see anything. But, I am fairly convinced it is at 9:00. Did you find this documented somewhere?
I ordered a tool that I hope will help me to pry it open.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
s-l1600.jpg
I ordered this Meikosha tool; hoping that it is the right one for the job.

Or, do I need something like this?

s-l1600.jpg
 

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Good luck with your efforts here.
I bought a cheap hand tool that looked like the first one but had a blade like the bench tool.

I found that the blade was quite rough so I polished it with 2000 and 2000 wet and dry.
This made the edge very smooth and the tool worked much better, FWIW.

Because it is tight you will be applying a lot of force so be very careful that the tool doesn't slip off and into the hand that's holding it!
 

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c48332_pic1_cmyk.jpg

(image borrowed from Cousins' website).

And add a small plastic sheet in between (minigrip bag or similar).

knife.JPG

Archer had a good point: opening this one may be difficult, but pressing the caseback onto the case will be MORE difficult.
Sometimes, even with the right tooling, it's a challenge.
 

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View attachment 15150269
I ordered this Meikosha tool; hoping that it is the right one for the job.

Or, do I need something like this?

View attachment 15150271
You don't need any sort of fancy tool. I use a few different small tools, and each can do the job well depending on the specifics of the case. I use a traditional case knife, a single edged razor blade, but most often use the type of push style wedge tools like the first one you show. Here are the two I have - the red one is thinner for tighter gaps, and the blue one is much thicker:

Stowa Flieger Manual wind_0017.jpg

Cheers, Al
 

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Discussion Starter #14
For closing the case back, can I get by with an inexpensive tool like one of these? Or, do need to buy something better quality for occasional use?


s-l1600.jpg
s-l500.jpg
 

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How do you know it is at 3? I looked at the photos and the watch and don't see anything. But, I am fairly convinced it is at 9:00. Did you find this documented somewhere?
I ordered a tool that I hope will help me to pry it open.
And how exactly are you convinced if you don't see anything there ??
Here is the pic, there are two waves below the crown on the edge of the caseback which must be the lip, many Tissot watches I've opened also have the lip at 3 for example. This one might be indeed too gentle to see with the naked eye, do you have a loupe ?

 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
And how exactly are you convinced if you don't see anything there ??
Oh, because I looked at it closely with a magnifier and I don't see anything. On the other side, I see a very small indent, but not even large enough to fit the blade that I have. I tried and scratched it a bit, but could not get leverage. Therefore, I doubt myself somewhat -- and don't want to cause more damage.

I believe that the image posted is a reflection. When I hold up my watch, I am also momentarily fooled by a reflection like that if I try to view it head on. I appreciate the expert help from the people here, and so I have checked a few times. But, I just can't see a lip by the 3:00 (it is good information for me that it is often on that side).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update:

The tool with the smaller/pointer blade worked. There was a small grove at the 9:00. I used some plastic wrap as suggested. Case was closed pretty tightly, and I see that I did scratch it a bit ... perhaps I scratched it during an earlier attempt as the tool did seem to be the correct one for the job.

Now I find that I need a replacement 371 battery; so will wait a few days for that. And, then will find out if I need a press to close it back up. ;-)
 

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Thanks for the update, doesn’t always happen. Good luck pressing the back on.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I received my replacement batteries (one for next time) and was able to press on with finger pressure after a bit of effort. The back rotated a bit as I was doing that (so probably about 3 "minutes" off of vertical). I'll leave it unless it bugs me too much or you folks tell me where is a reason to align more correctly. It's nice to have my daily wearer back.
 

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Most of the time, there's a notch in the caseback near the stem. It allows the stem to be operated freely when the watch is closed.

Don't align this notch and the stem, and the caseback will grind (or worse) the stem each time you'll turn or pull it.
These small steel particles will get their way to the rotor, and remain there of course.
 
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