JAXA Universal Case Opener and Case Holder
This is how I started in 1989. A friend of mine had the brilliant idea to give me a whole set of watchmaking tools, what a great birthday gift. She probably had no idea, where that all would lead...
Gradually I had extended my watch tools, please follow this link to see the watch tools overview as of today.
the JAXA opener
or maybe a this remark first. If I had to buy a JAXA opener today, I would buy the model with one handle. Most watches can be opened without fixing them into the watch case holder (which is again held by a vice on your workbench).
The most important trick I learned is to use only 3 bits instead of the possible 4 bits. 3 bits work as well as 4 bits and you will safe a lot of time adjusting them.
Also this JAXA case opener comes with bits that supposed to fit watch backs with grooves as found on Rolexes and Tudors, I strongly recommend not to use them. It is so easy to slip off and to leave ugly marks or to cut off the edges of the grooves on the case back.
I also do not really recommend this opener for polygonal watch cases. It takes
This case openers works best for watch backs with slots, or holes.
How to use the JAXA Opener
Adjust 3 bits to fit 3 slots that build a triangle of ideally equal base length
Hold the watch in your left palm (I will always have a look at the endlinks, if they seem weak, I take the bracelet off) or place it on the movement pad
Hold the case opener with your right hand firmly and press it perpendicularly onto the watch case back.
Turn the opener counter clock-wise
If the watch back does not move, place the watch into the watch case holder which again is fixed by a vice on your workbench. In this situation, the JAXA with two handles is actually better to use then the single handle opener
Please make sure you loosen the wrench before you lift it off the case back!
If the case back sits too tight, consult a watchmaker with a professional case opener/case press. Be reasonable and do not take unnecessary risks.
The Universal JAXA case opener with 4 types of bits
The SANDOZ Submariner-like back is a watch case back this JAXA opener is ideal for
A note regarding how to hold a watch case while unscrewing its back
In all honesty, as a beginner I felt safer to use a case holder (in the picture you see a Bergeon Swiss Made watch case holder) when using a case opener. However most experienced watchmakers will simply hold the watch case in their palm and give it a first try. Only if they realize that the case back sits too tight, they will resort to other means, eg. the watch case holder which fits into a vice or they will use a different opener all together, eg. the Bergeon 5700Z which you will find on the case opener overview. The quite expensive Bergeon watch case holder is made of unbreakable great Nylon and from personal experiments with it, I can attest, it really is an extra sturdy watch accessory. I have managed to open really tight sitting case backs with it.
The top view shows that the red pegs allowing for many different sizes and configurations to give the watch head a firm hold
The bottom part fits into a vice and allows to apply greater torque then when holding the watch head in the hand
My dumbest mistake with this case holder was to trying to quickly open a Sandoz Quartz watch with screwed case back to show its movement on the forum. Rushing watch work calls for disasters. I promptly slipped and left a ugly mark on the case back.