Choosing the Right Watch Batteries Made Easy: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide

Written by: Maz P
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Watch Battery

A foundational skill in the world of watchmaking is knowing your watch batteries and how to replace them. It is one of the most common tasks and a routine maintenance step for quartz and digital watches.

There is no avoiding changing watch batteries but when initially approaching the replacement, you may be stuck on how to change it and which battery to go for. Whilst there may be some initial confusion, the replacement of watch batteries is a relatively simple task and we have all the information, tips and tricks that you need right here.

Signs That Your Watch Batteries Need Replacing

As time ticks on, your watch battery may start sending subtle signals that it’s nearing the end of its lifespan. There are many signs that your watch battery needs replacing and of course, the most obvious one is if the watch stops altogether, even after being worn regularly. If your watch completely stops ticking, chances are, it needs a simple battery replacement. However, this is not the only sign that your watch battery needs replacing.

One of the other most evident signs is a slowing or irregular movement of the second hand. If you notice that your watch’s second hand is lagging or moving differently than usual, it’s a strong indication that the battery is losing power.

If your watch has a backlight or any illumination, a dimmer light is also a key signal. If your watch’s dial or digital display becomes less visible in low-light conditions, it’s often a sign that the battery powering the backlight is weakening.

In the case of digital watches, fading or missing display segments may also suggest the end of a battery. Plus, if your watch has multiple functions or complications, such as a chronograph or alarm, these additional features may stop working or become temperamental when the battery is low.

If you observe any of these signs, it’s typically a reminder that your watch needs a new energy source. When it comes to your watch, it is important to trust your instincts and if you notice your watch suddenly behaving differently, it’s time to consider a battery replacement. Regular maintenance and prompt battery replacement will not only keep your timepiece accurate but also extend its longevity.

Types of Watch Batteries

Since all watches use a button cell battery (also known as coin cell batteries), it is easy to assume that one size fits all and all watches take the same battery. However, this is not the case and in fact, there are many different types of watch batteries. Not only are different sizes available, but there are also different types of battery chemistry that may be worth considering.

Watch Batteries

Lithium

Among the pricier options, lithium batteries offer longevity, featherlight weight, and superior temperature tolerance compared to their counterparts. These batteries can last for up to ten years in storage.

Silver-Oxide

Silver-oxide batteries are the most commonly used in watches and maintain a consistently stable voltage throughout their usage. This feature makes them ideal for watches as they provide reliable and predictable voltage.

Alkaline

Alkaline batteries are less used but more budget-friendly. They excel in delivering high current rather than maintaining steady voltage and are greater suited to things that demand bursts of power such as toys.

Zinc Air

Zinc-air batteries have a short life span and are rarely used for watches.

Mercury-Oxide

Mercury oxide, like silver oxide, ensures a stable current. However, it is banned in some destinations due to environmental concerns.

Where Can I Go To Get A Battery Watch Replaced?

When it’s time for a battery replacement, you may wonder where you can go to give your trusted timepiece a new power source. There are many options to choose from including the manufacturer, local jewelers and dedicated watch repair shops.

You may seek the expertise of an experienced watchmaker to carry out this task for you or if you have already dipped your toes into the watchmaking world, you can have a try yourself. Replacing a watch battery is one of the fundamental steps of watchmaking and one that you will become very knowledgeable about.

Manufacturer

Opting to have your watch battery changed at the manufacturer’s service center guarantees a seamless and authentic experience. Manufacturer-approved technicians possess an intimate knowledge of your exact timepiece, ensuring precise handling and care. It not only guarantees the use of genuine replacement parts but also maintains the warranty validity. Your watch will be treated with the same craftsmanship that went into its creation.

However, keep in mind that manufacturer service centers might require more time and potentially higher costs compared to local options. Ultimately, the manufacturer’s expertise offers peace of mind in the hands of an expert on your watch.

Licensed Watch Repairers

Turning to a local watch repair shop for a battery replacement offers a convenient service and greater affordability. Experienced watchmakers at independent watch repair shops are skilled at handling a variety of timepieces so you can rest assured your watch is in capable hands.

While not directly tied to specific brands, these professionals often use high-quality replacement batteries and guarantee great attention to detail. The cost and turnaround time at a watch repair shop is often a lot cheaper and a lot quicker than taking it to the manufacturer. Plus, by opting for a local shop, you not only save yourself time and money but you support the art of watchmaking on a community level.

DIY

Replacing a watch battery yourself can be a rewarding DIY project and if you’re already on your watchmaking journey, it is a relatively simple task. It offers cost savings and convenience by allowing you to avoid a trip to a professional. With the right tools and guidance, changing a watch battery can be straightforward.

However, it’s essential to follow proper procedures to prevent damaging your watch. Self-replacement is ideal for those who enjoy hands-on tasks and have a basic understanding of watch mechanics but if in doubt, seeking professional assistance is always a wise option.

How To Change A Watch Battery

Replacing a battery ranks as one of the simplest tasks in watchmaking. It’s a quick process, typically taking around 5 to 10 minutes and can be easily performed by a novice.

Whilst replacing a watch battery, it’s a good opportunity to also clean the internal components. This can therefore be a dual-purpose procedure that would take a bit longer but ensures your timepiece remains in optimal condition and continues to function seamlessly.

What You Need

Prior to starting your watch battery replacement, make sure you gather essential tools to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted procedure.

New Button Battery

A replacement battery suitable for your watch model.

Watch Case Holder

For safe and secure holding of the watch throughout the process.

Screwdrivers

To remove the watch back and access the battery compartment.

Watch Back Remover that are not Fixed with Screws

For easy access to the inner workings of the watch.

Sticky Friction Ball

Used for some watch removals.

Tweezer

For delicate handling of components and placement of the new battery.

Clean Dry Cloth

For cleaning dust and debris once the battery has been removed.

These tools are crucial for ensuring a successful battery replacement and allow you to execute the task efficiently.

The watch battery replacement kit that stands out as the best choice is this incredible set conveniently available on Amazon. This comprehensive kit offers a well-rounded solution for changing watch batteries efficiently and effectively. Equipped with a variety of high-quality tools including screwdrivers, tweezers, and case openers, this kit ensures you have all the necessary tools to safely and precisely open your watch case and replace the battery.

It caters to various watch types making it versatile and suitable for a wide range of timepieces. It also comes with a convenient carry case that adds to its appeal, keeping all tools organized and easily accessible. This portable case is particularly beneficial for those on the go who want to keep watch repair tools neatly stored.

This watch battery replacement kit also offers excellent value for money. With durable tools designed to withstand repeated use, this kit is a great investment that can save you money in the long run. The combination of quality tools, versatility, portability, and affordability makes it an excellent investment for watchmakers and anyone looking to replace watch batteries with confidence and convenience.

Best Watch Battery Replacement Kit

Replacing The Battery

Depending on the type of watch you have, depends on the method you use to replace the battery. However, regardless of the timepiece, the task is relatively straightforward and similar.

Step 1: Accessing the Watch Back

Begin by disassembling the back of your watch and to do this, you need to identify the type of back design your watch has.

Conventional Quartz Watch

Identify which type of back your quartz watch has:

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Screw-Down Back

Place your watch face down on a watch cushion, or case holder or hold it in the palm of your hand and then apply the ball onto the case back, turning counterclockwise it. The rubber’s friction grips the case back until it releases.

Snap-On Back

Locate a small hole or dent on the back of the watch face and gently pry it open using a case back opener tool or pen knife.

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Quartz Watches with Screws

Use the appropriate screwdriver to remove the screws securing the back. Store the screws safely. Open the panel to proceed.

Swatch Quartz Watches

Rotate a coin or a flat screwdriver counterclockwise in the slot to open the unique round lid.

Step 2: Remove the Back Gasket (if applicable)

If your watch has a rubber gasket, carefully remove it to prevent damage. This thin pad prevents debris and maintains internal pressure.

Step 3: Remove the Old Battery

Remove the battery using tweezers being careful not to damage surrounding components. Wipe the battery slot clean to ensure proper contact.

Step 4: Insert the New Battery

Place the new battery in the same orientation as the old one. Make sure it fits securely without wobbling.

Step 5: Test the Watch

Flip the watch over and observe if the hands are functioning correctly. If not, reposition the battery. If problems persist, consider a professional inspection.

Step 6: Reassemble the Watch Back

Carefully reassemble the watch.

Following these steps, you can confidently replace your watch battery.

How Not To Change Watch Batteries

When it comes to changing a watch battery, precision and careful execution are essential. However, there are several common mistakes that should be avoided to prevent damaging the timepiece and ensure a successful battery replacement.

Skipping Research

Not all watches are created equal. Different watch models and brands have specific requirements for battery replacements. Skipping research and using a battery that doesn’t match your watch’s specifications can lead to poor fit, functionality issues, or even irreversible damage.

Lack of Proper Tools

Attempting a battery replacement without the right tools can lead to scratched cases, damaged seals or misalignment of components. Proper screwdrivers, tweezers, and other watchmaking tools are essential.

Forgetting the Gasket

Many watches have a rubber gasket that helps maintain water resistance and protects the internal components. Neglecting to remove and reinsert the gasket during battery replacement can compromise the watch’s water resistance by allowing moisture to seep in and damage the movement.

Disregarding Polarity

Watch batteries have a positive and negative side. Placing the battery upside down or reversing the polarity can damage the movement and circuits. Always note the correct polarity before inserting the new battery.

Using Excessive Force

Applying excessive force when opening the watch back, removing the battery, or resealing the case can lead to cracked crystals, broken case backs, or misaligned components. Gentle and controlled movements are key to preventing unnecessary damage.

Hitting the Battery Out

Resist the temptation to forcefully tap the open watch back onto your palms, hoping to dislodge the old battery. The watch and movements are incredibly fragile and mishandling it could result in immediate damage. Taking your time ensures a smooth and successful battery replacement without jeopardizing the delicate components of your watch.

Potential Issues If Watch Batteries Are Not Changed

If watch batteries are not changed when they need replacing, this can cause multiple potential issues. Neglecting to change a watch battery can lead to a range of potential issues that extend beyond the inconvenience of a non-functional timepiece. Failing to address battery replacement promptly could result in a variety of complications.

Voiding the Warranty

Many watch manufacturers stipulate that battery replacements should be performed by authorized service centers. If this is the case for your watch and you were to ignore this requirement, it might invalidate your warranty. Certain brands may refuse responsibility for any damage resulting from unauthorized battery replacements leaving you with potential repair costs.

Degrading Performance

Some watches decline in performance after being inactive for an extended period. Failure to replace the battery in a timely manner might lead to internal components deteriorating, causing the watch to struggle with accurate timekeeping and smooth operation upon restart.

Warped Back

Bulging batteries are a common issue arising from poor-quality replacements or improper installation. A bulging battery can exert pressure on the watch case, potentially warping or damaging it. This not only affects the aesthetic appeal of the watch but also hampers its functionality.

Risk of Explosion

If batteries are used beyond their lifespan, this can cause potential safety hazards. Certain types of batteries, when subjected to excessive heat, can explode and this risk is increased if used past their lifespan. Ensuring proper battery replacement minimizes the risk of such hazardous occurrences.

Unreliable Timekeeping

As a watch battery’s energy depletes, it may cause erratic timekeeping including irregular ticking. Relying on a watch with unreliable timekeeping defeats the purpose of owning a timepiece and can lead to missed appointments or important events.

Corrosion and Damage

Dead batteries can leak releasing corrosive chemicals that damage the internal components of the watch. Corrosion can compromise the delicate mechanics of the movement and to costly repairs.

Neglecting watch battery replacement can have far-reaching consequences from warranty issues and performance degradation to potential safety hazards. Regular and timely battery replacements ensure your timepiece remains accurate, and functional and retains its value over time.

How To Clean A Corroded Battery Compartment

Cleaning a corroded battery compartment is essential to prevent further damage and ensure the proper functioning of your device. Follow these steps to safely clean the corroded battery compartment:

Step 1: Gather Supplies

You’ll need a few basic household items: white vinegar, cotton swabs or a soft brush, baking soda, and a clean, dry cloth.

Step 2: Safety First

Before starting, make sure the battery is removed, and wear gloves and protective eyewear to avoid direct contact with the corrosion or any chemicals.

Step 3: Create a Cleaning Solution

Mix a small amount of white vinegar with water in a bowl using a 1:1 ratio. For stubborn corrosion, you can make a paste by mixing in baking soda with a small amount of water.

Step 4: Apply the Cleaning Solution

Dip a cotton swab or soft brush into the vinegar solution or baking soda paste. Gently scrub the corroded areas of the battery compartment. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously as you could cause damage.

Step 5: Wipe Clean

Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away the vinegar or baking soda residue. Make sure the compartment is completely dry before proceeding.

Step 6: Neutralize the Acid

If using vinegar, dampen a cloth with water and wipe down the battery compartment again to neutralize any remaining acid. Dry thoroughly.

Step 7: Inspect and Test

Once the compartment is clean and dry, inspect it for any remaining corrosion or damage. Make sure it is clean and free of residue. Insert a new battery and test to ensure the watch is working.

Remember, if the corrosion is extensive or you’re uncomfortable cleaning it yourself, it’s best to seek professional assistance or take it to a watch repair shop. Regular maintenance can help prevent battery corrosion in the future.

Watch Batteries FAQ

No, different watches can use different types and sizes of batteries. Watches come in various designs and functionalities so the battery requirements also vary. It’s important to refer to the watch’s user manual or consult a professional to determine the exact battery type and size needed for your specific watch model. Using the wrong battery can damage the watch or affect its performance.

Watch batteries come in various sizes and shapes to fit different watch models. The size of the battery is determined by the design and specifications of the watch. It’s crucial to use the correct size battery for your watch to ensure proper fit and functioning.

Several reputable brands produce reliable watch batteries. Renowned names like Energizer, Duracell, Sony, and Renata are widely recognized for their quality and longevity. Each brand offers various sizes and types of batteries, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of watch models. Consulting the watch’s manufacturer recommendations or seeking advice from watchmakers can help you make an informed decision on the best battery brand for your timepiece.

Although it is rare, watch batteries can leak. Battery leakage can be caused by various factors, including old or expired batteries, exposure to extreme temperatures, or damage to the battery’s casing. Battery leakage may result in corrosion and damage to the internal components of the watch, potentially affecting its functionality.

To prevent leakage, it’s crucial to replace batteries promptly, avoid storing watches in environments with extreme temperature fluctuations, and ensure that the batteries are properly inserted. Regular maintenance and timely battery replacements can help minimize the risk of battery leakage in watches.

The most common watch battery sizes are the SR626SW silver oxide battery and the CR1216 lithium battery. Due to their popularity, the SR626SW and CR1216 are readily available and easy to find making it convenient for watch owners when it comes to battery replacements.

If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.

AUTHOR

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I started WatchmakingTools to share my passion and knowledge with those already bitten by the watchmaking bug. I’ve often spent hours searching online for answers on a specific issue, and even though there is a wealth of information out there, it hasn’t always been very useful, hence why I wanted to share my own findings.

2 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Watch Batteries Made Easy: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide”

  1. I have several Chico fashion watches that need batteries.0ne says battery #377, Japan movement, is it worth replacing?

    Reply

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