Can't open case back

Hi All

I'm new to this forum.  I have a 1971 Sea King (this one http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1970-sea-king-2157).  I can't open the case back.  The pic below shows the groove to be a bit chewed up.  I've tried a Horotec case knife and a box opener (thinner blade).  But it won't open.  Any suggestions.

Thank you

Charlie

 

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted March 28, 2018 - 10:12am

Panel Member

Hey Charlie,

we'd have to see the whole case back. Some of these look like they come off but they don't. The really stubborn ones need special tools. 

Lc130
Posted March 28, 2018 - 10:27am

Thanks for the quick reply.  The picture of this model on this website shows it with the back off.  Here are more pics.

 

Thank you!

 

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted March 28, 2018 - 12:40pm

Panel Member

I strongly suspect this is a front loader. usually when the case back is small, it means the dial and movt come out the front because there is no way for the dial to come out the back as attached to the movt.

That is not to say that some of these backs are not removable, simply for access to the movt. However, this doesn't look like one of those. There are so many variations even within model groups, it is impossible to say that they all do things the same way. 

I recommend taking it to a certified watchmaker, they'll be able to say for sure and will have the tools to remove a stuborn back if necessary. A watchmaker or technician near you can be found by going to the NAWCC website, they list them by area. 

Lc130
Posted March 28, 2018 - 4:13pm

The number on the case back is T000280.  I can't find that on this site.  Though, I may not be using the look up function correctly.  Can anyone help determine if that number indicates a front loader?

Thank you

Charlie

 

mybulova_admin
Posted March 28, 2018 - 10:44pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Numbers on a Bulova usually don't mean a great deal, especially serial number on watches after 1950. Does it look like the front bezel is a seperate piece that may screw off? 

Lc130
Posted March 29, 2018 - 8:52am

Neither the front nor back show any noticable seam when viewing with a 10X.  The advice from several forums has varied. 

I'm attempting to learn the basics of watch repair.  At this point I can dissasemble and assemble only.  Sometimes they even continue to work!

Can a forum member recommend a Bulova watchmaker I can send this to.  I only want it opened.  The goal was to attempt to fix it at some future date when my "skills" are more certain.

Thank you

Charlie 

Annapolis, MD

 

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted March 30, 2018 - 1:28am

Panel Member

The NAWCC website lists watchmakers by area. 

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted March 29, 2018 - 10:19am

Panel Member

Front loaders are often only held in by the crystal. Sometimes there is an additional mounting or lock ring underneath. I haven't seen any Bulovas that are really odd in this respect. Some watches need compressed air to pop the crystal, but I haven't seen a Bulova yet that does. 

My guess is that if you take this to watchmaker, they will remove the crystal and the watch movt and dial will come out the front. This means that the stem is likely split also. 

I should mention for anyone that is disassembling and assembling watches on their own-

Disassembly is the easy part, as we all know!

When replacing the parts, especially the wheels, it is very easy to damage the pivots while locating them into the jewels in the bridges. The rule of thumb is ALWAYS be certain that the wheels rotate freely before you tighten any bridge screw. You should be able to actually see the pivots in the jewels, but always check to see that they rotate freely. Carefully give a push to the centre wheel and the train should spin almost effortlessly. If it does not, the train is not free, and tightening any screw will destroy a pivot and wheel. This also applies to the pallet fork, extra care must be exercised when re-assembling it under its bridge. Ditto the balance. 

Locating the pivots correctly into their jewels or plate holes can be painstaking, and it takes some practice. 

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted March 30, 2018 - 1:29am

Panel Member

I see what you mean. This looks exactly like Waynes' Sea King:

http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1970-sea-king-2157

In which we can clearly see that the back does come off.  I'm just guessing here, since  one of the pics doesn't load for me (possibly the case back pic) but these two watches could conceivably have different case backs. Here it is for quick comparison:

Lc130
Posted March 31, 2018 - 11:23am

Thank you!

 

Agreed, I'm cautious with the plates and wheels.  Hairsprings too, but managed to tangle and destroy a few!