The Elite Art
Home » Watches 101 » The Different Types of Watch Backs and What They Mean

The Different Types of Watch Backs and What They Mean

Watch backs are an essential part of a watch, but what are the different types? Find out everything you need to know about types of watch backs 

The Different Types of Watch Backs and What They Mean

The back of the watch is the rear cover that protects the movement which is called the back or the case back on a watch. The back can be made of different materials, such as stainless steel, gold, titanium, or plastic. It is usually held in place with screws or a snap-on case. 

The case back usually has some engravings or markings, such as the brand name, model number, water resistance, etc.

Some watches have a solid case back, while others have a see-through case back.

The case back serves to shield the movement from dust and dirt. Furthermore, the back may be removed to access the battery or movement.

In this post, we will find out everything about the watch back including the types, materials, and  styles.

What are the different types of watch backs?

There are four main types of watch backs:

Screw-down watch backs

Screw-down watch backs

Screw-down watch backs are the most secure type of watch back. They have threads that screw into the case, making them very difficult to remove without the proper tools. This makes them great for water-resistant watches, providing an extra layer of protection against water damage. However, it can be tricky to change the battery, and it takes more time to put on and take off.

Snap-on watch backs

Snap-on watch backs

Snap-on watch backs are much easier to take on and off than screw-down backs, but they need to be more secure. They snap onto the case, so they can be taken off relatively quickly if you know how. This makes them a good choice for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of screws, but it also means that they’re not as water-resistant as screw-down backs.

4-screws backs

Four screws are holding the back of the watch case onto the body. The four screws usually sit at the cardinal points (north, south, east, and west), which keep the watch case back tightly sealed. This type of back is typically found on dive watches and other watches that need extra water-resistant.

Hinged watch backs

Hinged watch backs

This is the less common watch-backs of all different types. A hinged watch back is attached to the watch case with a hinge. This type of watch back allows easy access to the watch’s movement and makes it easier to service the watch. Hinged watch backs are usually made of metal but can also be made of other materials, such as plastic or wood.

In addition to those four types of watch backs, there are different styles, as we will know in the following lines.

Styles of watch backs 

There are many different styles of watch backs, and each one can be customized to suit the wearer’s taste. From simple and elegant engraved designs to more intricate and detailed engravings, there is a style of the watch for everyone.

Solid back

Solid back

A solid case back is the more traditional option, as it offers a clean, simple look. These case backs are very simple, with minimal designs or engravings. They often have a smooth finish; some may even be completely blank. 

Solid case backs give the watch a more modern look and can be easier to clean since there are no intricate designs to trap dirt and dust.

Crowded back

Some watch companies put a lot of effort into making their backs just as stylish as the rest of the watch. These companies understand that even though the back may be hidden away, it is still an essential part of the overall design.

One company that does this well is Rolex. Rolex puts a lot of detail into their backs, including engraved logos and patterns. This attention to detail ensures that even though the back may be hidden, it still looks good.

Another company that makes stylish backs is Omega. Omega’s backs are often very detailed, with engravings and patterns. They also tend to be larger than most other brands, which makes them more noticeable. Such backs are called crowded watch backs.

Personalized back

You can engrave your watch with your initials or a special message. You can also choose to have a photo or image printed on your watch. And if you really want to make a statement, you can get a custom-made watch back to your exact specifications. Such backs are called personalized backs.

When choosing a personalized watch back, it is important to consider the type of design you want. Do you want something simple and understated or something more eye-catching and unique? Consider also the size of the engraving – will it be large and visible or small and delicate?

Once you have decided on the style of engraving you want, it is time to choose the perfect message or design. If you are looking for something personal and meaningful, consider having your initials or a particular date engraved on the back of your watch. 

For something fun and playful, try an exciting quote or saying. And for a truly one-of-a-kind design, have a custom illustration or logo created specifically for your watch back.

Colored back

There are many styles of watch backs, but one of the most popular is the coloured back. This style of watch back is usually made from a material like enamel or ceramic and is then decorated with a design or color. The colored back can add a touch of personalization to a watch and make it more unique.

Skeleton back

Skeleton back

The skeleton is a popular style of watch back that allows the watch’s inner workings to be seen. This style of the watch back is often chosen for its aesthetics, as it can give the watch a more exciting look. 

Some people also prefer the skeleton watches because it can help them keep an eye on their watch’s inner workings and ensure that everything is running smoothly.

There are three primary styles of skeleton back: whole, half, and see-through. A complete skeleton back offers an unobstructed view of the movement, including the gears, balance wheel, mainspring, and other decorative elements. A half-skeleton back offers a partial view of the movement, while a see-through back provides only a glimpse of the inner workings.

Material types of watch backs

Some of the most popular materials used for watch backs include:

  • Stainless steel: one of the most durable and popular choices, stainless steel is often used in sports or dive watches as it can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
  • Titanium: a strong and lightweight metal, titanium is a good choice for those who want a durable watch that is also comfortable to wear
  • Gold: a luxurious option, gold watch backs add a touch of class to any timepiece.
  • Platinum: another high-end choice, platinum gives watches an elegant look.
  • Aluminum: a lightweight metal that is often used in racing watches as it is less likely to cause wrist fatigue
  • Rubber: often used in sports or dive watches, rubber is durable and provides a comfortable fit.

Various watch backs are available on the market, each with its distinct advantages and disadvantages. Whether you’re looking for a watch back that is durable, stylish, or easy to maintain, there is sure to be a watch back that suits your needs.

Sarah Salimah

Sarah has been interested in watches for as long as she can remember. She loves watches and writing about them and enjoys experiencing the feeling of high-end models. She was born in Ohio, went to school for art history, and has a genuine enthusiasm for reading literature, walking, and sometimes playing padel.


  • Hi Sarah, any idea where I can find a replacement stainless steel screw-on watch back for a Uri Minkoff Griffith Bracelet watch? Thank you

    • Hey Devon,
      Glad to see your comment on my post. The back of your watch, particularly this model, is not available separately. Take your watch to a watchmaker; they will either have a used back for your model from an old watch or will match a back from a similar model.