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How to open a vintage HEUER stopwatch ?

“How to open a HEUER stopwatch case” is a frequently asked question. How great and fun to look at the movement of your beautiful timer ! So, that’s a pleasure to give you few tips on the way to proceed.


Before reading the rest of this article and starting some manipulations, please keep in mind that if you do not feel right about what you are doing, have any doubts or difficulties, DO NOT DO try anything !!! Ask to a professional watchmaker, mostly if you want to open old timers with metallic shiny case which are harder to open.
Be also very cautious when using the case opener or the flat knife ! (*see disclaimer)

HEUER stopwatches concerned and not concerned by this article


This tutorial is right for all hand-held mecanical snap-in case HEUER stopwatches (which is the large part of HEUER stopwatches). They have a small space between their case and their case back. It mainly concerns century line stopwatches (with black anonysed case), fiberglass stopwatches (fiberglass is a hight-resistant black plastic), few economical models and all old shiny metallic case stopwatches which are the hardest to open .


not concerned

The opening process described below can not be applied for these models :

  • economical plastic case stopwatches (trackmaster, can-am …)
  • dashboard timers (montecarlo, superautovia, …)
  • waterproof (or semi-waterproof) screwed case models
  • wristtimers
  • electronic stopwatches
  • stopwatches with hinged case


Case opener

You can use a snap-in case opener, a watchmaker knife or a very flat knife.

Gloves or finger protections

It’s not necessary, but it protects your stopwatch from finger prints.
White jelewer gloves are used in these videos and pictures but medical gloves or watchmaker finger protections are a better option.

How to proceed ?

All the process

This tutorial video explains all the stages to open a HEUER mecanical snap-in case stopwatch. The timer used is a century line model, quite easy to open (operation is harder with old style shiny metalic case models…be careful).

Focus on each step

Step 1 : find a space between the case and the case back

Step 2 : insert the case opener in this small space

Step 3 : push carrefuly the case opener in the space and turn gently it into the space

You can add your thumb over the case to get a better control of your movement.

Step 4 : remove carefully the back case to see the caliber

Warning : fiberglass gasket are sometimes damaged and sticky

Step 5 : close the case back

Put it back on the case and push firmly with you two hands. You should heard a “claps”. Inspect the case to be sure it’s correctly closed. It oftenly happens, a second pression is required to finish the operation.

Step 6 : remove caliber protection

Older stopwatches have a caliber protection. Repeat all step to remove and put it back again.

(*) disclaimer : could NOT be held responsible in case of damage(s) on your stopwatch or injury, after you have executed the stopwatch open process described in this page.