When it comes to modding watches, Seiko mods are by far the most popular. One question we hear a lot is how do I change the bezel insert? With a few tools and some patience, it is possible to change the bezel insert in a matter of minutes. You’ll need a replacement bezel and a Seiko watch with a bezel. Follow along as we show you how easy it is to make this basic swap!
Seiko watch with bezel
Caseback remover tool
Paper towel or rag
First, you’ll need a watch that has a bezel. This one is the SRPD79, part of Seiko’s 5 Sports line. As part of the mod process, we’ll use tools to partially disassemble the watch, remove the stock bezel insert (also called a rehaute), and install a new one.
First, you’ll need tools to remove the watch’s caseback. Shown above is a handheld caseback remover, a watch case holder, and a microfiber cloth. The caseback tool is what we’ll use to actually unscrew the caseback while the case holder is helpful for keeping the watch steady and providing extra torque. The cloth will prevent the case from getting scratched while we remove the caseback
Placing the watch facedown in the case holder (don’t forget the microfiber cloth!), use the caseback tool to unscrew the caseback. Most caseback tools are adjustable so you can align the teeth with the indentations on the caseback. Once aligned, begin turning counterclockwise to loosen the caseback. It should unscrew and come free from the case.
Next, we’ll remove the crown. Seiko’s SRPD line of watches use a 4R36 Caliber movement. Find the area shown in the image and use a fine-tipped tool (like a small screwdriver) to depress the lever. If you’re using a different watch with a different movement, Youtube is a great place to find exact instructions on removing a crown.
While gently pressing down, use a flat-head screwdriver to pull the crown away from the case. It should extract fully.
Now, remove the movement from the case. For this step, use a flat head screwdriver to gently pry the movement out. It is installed tightly inside the case so you’ll need to go slow so as not to damage the case or the movement. Use caution that when it does come loose, you maintain control – they’ve been known to spring out suddenly and we don’t want to damage it!
Set the caseback, crown and movement in a parts dish. Use a movement holder to keep support the movement to prevent damage. The parts dish helps ensure you don’t lose any of your parts!
Use a caseback knife or other sharp tool to remove the bezel (the rotating metal ring) from the case. Use caution to not scratch the case but more importantly, not let the blade slip and injure you! You’ll need to work the edge of the blade in between as shown and use force to pop the bezel up and away from the case.
Now, you’ve separated the bezel! Good job. Place the case and the bezel click spring (the thin metal part) in your parts dish. This is what gives the rotating bezel it’s signature, satisfying click!
With a sharp blade (we’re using a scalpel), place the tip in between the bezel and the insert. The insert is held in place by adhesive so gently work the blade back and forth to separate the insert from the bezel. Slowly work your way around the insert until it is fully separated.
You’re almost there! Set the original insert aside in your parts tray.
Using a cotton swab and some adhesive remover (we like Goo Gone), saturate the adhesive.
Now, scrape away the used adhesive. For this, you can use a sharp blade but we used a flathead screwdriver. When finished, dry off the bezel using a cloth or paper towel.
Now it’s time to apply some new adhesive so we can install the replacement bezel insert. For this you’ll need a special-cut double-sided adhesive. Most times when you buy a replacement bezel insert, it will ship with at least one adhesive ring. They can also be purchased from most parts retailers if you need more.
Pull the backing off from the corner to expose one side of the double-sided adhesive ring. Align the adhesive and work your way around, ensuring the ring does not overhang the bezel and is sitting flat on the metal.
Use the flat end of a blade or some other implement to push the adhesive down. When finished, peel the backing off and discard.
You’re ready to install the insert! We picked a steel insert from CrystalTimesUSA and love the high contrast and legibility. Simply place the insert on the adhesive and press down.
Place the bezel click spring back in place. It has two metal feet that slot into holes in the case so it sits flat against the surface.
Now, place the bezel back on the case. You’ll need to apply downward pressure. A pressing tool can be helpful here, if you have one. Once installed properly, it should rotate counterclockwise with a satisfying click.
Congrats! You’ve now successfully completed one of the most popular watch mods! We’d love to see your work and creativity – connect with us on Instagram at @feldmar.modsquad!
About The Author: Tom Roth
Born in Washington state, Tom developed an interest in photography during college at University of San Diego. There, he got started in music journalism, interviewing artists and taking photos at concerts. A life-long tinkerer and collector, it wasn’t long before Tom became fascinated with fountain pens and watches.
Those interests collided in November 2020 when Tom started at Feldmar Watch Company where he lives out every watch geek’s dream: photographing and writing about timepieces. When he’s not tinkering with his watch collection, Tom can be found traveling, biting his nails while watching PNW sports teams, and taking flying lessons.