How To Open Cartier Tank Watch

by Barbara Wilson

Opening a Cartier Tank watch requires precision and care to ensure the timepiece is not damaged. Cartier Tank watches are renowned for their elegant design and craftsmanship, making them valuable and often delicate. This guide provides detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to open a Cartier Tank watch, whether you are performing routine maintenance, changing the battery, or conducting repairs.


Tools You Will Need

Before starting, gather the following tools:


Watch Case Opener Tool: A specialized tool for removing watch backs.


Screwdrivers: Small precision screwdrivers for opening screws.


Tweezers: To handle small components.

Watchmaker’s Loupe: For detailed inspection.

Watch Repair Mat: A soft surface to work on, preventing scratches.

Plastic Case Cushion: To hold the watch securely without damaging it.

Understanding Your Cartier Tank Watch

The Cartier Tank series includes various models with different designs, including the Tank Louis, Tank Solo, and Tank Americaine. Each model might have a slightly different method for opening. Understanding the type of back your specific model has is crucial. Cartier Tank watches typically feature either a screw-down back or a snap-on back.

General Steps to Open a Cartier Tank Watch

1. Prepare Your Workspace

Find a clean, well-lit workspace.

Lay out your tools and watch repair mat.

Ensure you are wearing anti-static gloves to avoid damaging any electronic components.

2. Inspect the Watch Case

Use the watchmaker’s loupe to examine the watch case for any visible screws or notches that indicate how the case back is attached.
Determine whether your watch has a screw-down back or a snap-on back.

3. Removing a Screw-Down Back

Locate the Screws:

If the watch has a screw-down back, you will see small screws securing the case back in place.

Use Precision Screwdrivers:

Select the appropriate size screwdriver for the screws.

Gently loosen and remove each screw, keeping them in a safe place for reassembly.

Remove the Case Back:

Once all screws are removed, use the watch case opener tool to gently pry off the case back. Be cautious not to scratch the watch or apply excessive force.

4. Removing a Snap-On Back

Find the Notch:

Look for a small notch or indentation along the edge of the case back. This is where you will insert the watch case opener tool.

Insert the Case Opener Tool:

Carefully insert the tool into the notch.

Gently twist or lever the tool to pop the case back off.

Pry the Back Off:

Once the back is slightly lifted, use tweezers to carefully remove it from the watch case.

Handling the Watch Movement

Once the case back is removed, you will have access to the watch movement.

Avoid touching any components inside the watch movement to prevent damage or contamination.

See Also: Which Cartier Tank To Buy

Replacing the Battery or Conducting Repairs

Battery Replacement:

If your Cartier Tank watch is quartz-powered and requires a battery change, carefully remove the old battery.

Place the new battery in the correct orientation.

Ensure the battery is properly seated before reassembling the watch.


For repairs, such as adjusting the movement or fixing the mechanism, consult a professional watchmaker if you are not experienced.

Reassembling the Watch

Replace the Case Back:

For screw-down backs, align the case back with the watch case and secure it with screws.

For snap-on backs, align the case back with the watch case and press it down until it snaps into place.

Tighten Screws:

If applicable, use the precision screwdriver to tighten the screws evenly.

Check for Proper Sealing:

Ensure the case back is properly sealed to maintain the watch’s water resistance.

Testing and Final Checks

Inspect the Watch:

Check for any gaps or misalignments.

Ensure the watch is functioning correctly.

Test the Watch:

Set the time and verify that the watch is running accurately.

Clean the Watch:

Gently clean the watch case and bracelet with a soft cloth.


Avoid Water Damage: Ensure that the watch is dry before reassembling it.

Handle with Care: Use appropriate tools and handle components carefully to avoid scratches or damage.

Consult a Professional: If you are unsure or uncomfortable performing any of these steps, seek the help of a professional watchmaker.


Opening a Cartier Tank watch requires careful attention to detail and the right tools. By following these steps, you can safely access the watch movement for maintenance or repairs. Always prioritize precision and care to ensure the longevity and functionality of your Cartier Tank watch.


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