How to Change a Watch Battery | Guide (2022)

Has your watch stopped or isn't working properly? You may need to change the watch battery, and are wondering how to do it. If you can't get to a jeweller to do it for you, it's usually easy to replace the battery — just follow this handy guide.

Read on to find out how to change a watch battery, when to change it, when it's okay to do it yourself, some tips and more.

  1. Signs you need to change your watch battery
  2. How long do watch batteries last?
  3. How much is a watch battery
  4. Should I go to a jeweller to replace my watch battery?
  5. How much does it cost to replace a watch battery
  6. How to change your watch battery yourself
  7. How to change a pocket watch battery
  8. How to preserve your watch battery for longer

Signs you may need to change your watch battery

The most obvious sign that you need to change a watch battery is when your watch has completely stopped. But there are other warnings the watch can send you before the battery drains completely:

  • Your watch alarm or digital display has stopped functioning.
  • The second hand jumps in 5-second intervals: Many watches have this feature called an "end of life indicator". If you notice that the movement of the second hand is jumping every 5 seconds instead of every second, then it is time to change the battery. In this case, your watch will continue to keep accurate time, but within about a week and a half it will completely stop.
  • Your watch no longer keeps the correct time.

Important note: Make sure to replace your watch battery (or at least remove it) as soon as it runs out. If you don't replace it quickly, the battery may start to leak and could permanently damage the watch movement.

How long do watch batteries last?

Watch batteries are designed to not need replacing often. The battery duration will depend on the watch and its features, but a newly purchased watch should last up to 2 years, or even up to 3 or 4 years in some cases.

In older watches, the battery should last between 14 and 18 months. However, it may need replacing sooner for various reasons:

  • The older your watch is, the faster it will drain the battery.
  • Features such as LED displays, alarms and chronograph will drain the battery faster than a regular analogue watch. If you want your watch battery to last as long as possible, we recommend not leaving the chronograph running all the time.
  • Sometimes a watch battery's life may be affected by external factors such as extreme temperatures, humidity or air pressure.

Important note: We strongly recommend you replace your watch battery every two years to avoid potential leakages that could damage your watch.

How much is a watch battery?

The cost of your watch battery will depend on the type of watch you have, from the brand and style to the type of battery it needs. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive your watch is, the more complicated its mechanisms are (and most likely, the more expensive the battery). Some watches require a more expensive battery, of up to £100, while a £2-£5 battery will be more than enough for most simple watches.

Be aware that any old watch battery won't do. Watch battery sizes differ and so does the voltage according to the specific type of battery (silver oxide or lithium)

Important note: When replacing your watch battery, make sure to use the correct replacement battery or you could risk damaging your watch.

(Video) How To Change A Watch Battery - Watch and Learn #43

Always check the back of your watch case as battery specifications are usually inscribed there, or refer to your watch's instruction manual. If you can't find the details there, you will need to take out the battery to check.

Should I go to a jeweller to replace my watch battery?

If you don't want to change the watch battery by yourself, don't worry. There are plenty of perfectly capable jewellers who will do it for you for a small fee.

In some cases, going to a jeweller is the recommended option. There are several advantages to having a professional jeweller replace the battery for you:

  • They are experienced and skilled at changing watch batteries, and use the appropriate tools. It's much safer to take your watch to a jeweller rather than risk damaging your watch or voiding any warranty you may have.
  • Some jewellers can mark the replacement battery with a date and guarantee its performance for one year. If the new battery dies before that date, you can bring it back to them and they will replace it at no cost.
  • Replacing the battery can be difficult with some watches. For instance, watches that are sealed for water resistance have to be resealed and pressure-tested after their battery has been changed. Some watches, like musical watches, even have more than one battery.

Important note: Be aware that certain brands and models require service from the original manufacturer (for example, Cartier watches). This option will take longer and cost more, but you can be assured that your expensive designer watch will be in safe hands. Check your watch's manual or service agreement or the manufacturer's guidance.

How much does it cost to replace a watch battery?

If you choose to go to a jeweller, your watch battery replacement cost will depend on who you go to and the type of watch you have.
The cost of a watch battery replacement will vary depending on the brand, the type of watch, and servicing costs that come along with it.

For watches that can't be submerged in water, the total cost may not exceed £10. However, for water resistant timepieces, the prices may range between £20 and £50, and the more complicated and waterproof your watch is, the more prices will go up. This is because watches with high water resistance need to be resealed properly and tested after being opened.

How to change your watch battery yourself?

Having your watch battery replaced by a jeweller might not be particularly expensive, but changing it yourself is cheaper, saves time, and, in many cases, quite an easy process. Follow the simple guide below, and you'll be able to replace your battery in a few quick and easy minutes.

Important note: If your watch is still under warranty, we recommend that you check with your supplier to see whether they allow you to open the watch or not. Some manufacturers will consider the warranty void if the watch has been opened by someone else.

Step 1: Opening the watch case

There are different types of watch cases, some of which require special tools to open:

  • Snap-on cases. These include a small overlap or lip somewhere around the perimeter.
  • Cases secured with screws. These have screws around the perimeter.
  • Screw-on cases. These have a number of notches spaced around the outer perimeter of the case.

This type of watch case can be opened without tools:

(Video) How To Replace Change Watch Battery

  • Slot cases. These just have a groove on the back of the watch case.

How to change a watch battery using tools

Some watches require the use of a small tool to open. We recommend using plastic tools rather than metal tools to avoid an electric shock or scratching your watch.

Tools you'll need:

  • Replacement battery
  • Watch case opener or a knife
  • Tweezers/small screwdriver
  • Gloves to avoid damaging the inside of the watch

Snap-on cases

The most common type of case is the snap-on case. To open it, you need to find the lip on the back of the watch case. Insert the watch case opener under the lip, and twist the blade so that the back unclips from the watch case. You can now lift the watch back off the case. If you don't have a watch case opener, a thin knife will do the job, but you have to take care to not scratch or damage your watch.

Cases secured with screws

With a small screwdriver, undo the screws on the back side of your watch. Now remove the back case, and make sure to keep the screws in a safe place so that you don't lose them.

Screw-on cases

If your watch has a screw-on case, we recommend you take your watch to a jeweller or the watch manufacturer so you don't damage the watch and its waterproof abilities.

How to change a watch battery without tools

Slot cases

Watches with a groove on the back of the case are the easiest to open. To open the case back, all you need to use is a coin - a 50p coin will do the job the best due to its shape and width.
Hold your watch tightly, with the face resting down on a smooth flat surface, a cloth, or in your hand, in order to avoid any scratches. Insert your coin into the groove on the back of the watch case. Twist the coin anticlockwise until it opens. On some watch models, you need to press on the side of the case back to open it fully.

(Video) How to Change a Watch Battery - OVERVIEW

How to change a pocket watch battery

If your watch is a pocket watch, here's how to open a pocket watch to replace the battery:

  1. Flip over your pocket watch
  2. The back should either be either secured with screws, have a snap-off case back or a screw-off case back
  3. If your pocket watch has screws, use a small screwdriver to unscrew them
  4. If your pocket watch has a snap-off case back, using a thin knife blade, slide the blade under the back of the watch and pry it off gently, being careful not to scratch the case
  5. If your pocket watch has a screw-off case back you can simply unscrew in an anti-clockwise direction from the seam.

For more on pocket watches, including types of pocket watch and what to look for, read our Pocket Watch Buying Guide here.

Step 2: Identify the battery

Now that you have opened the watch case, the next step is to identify the correct replacement battery. In most cases, you will find the battery part number either inscribed on the back of the watch case, inside the watch case or on the battery itself. When you have it, you can use it to identify and buy the correct battery, either from a jeweller or online.

Step 3: Remove the old watch battery and insert the new one

Identify which side of the old battery is facing upwards, so the new one can be installed correctly. Carefully remove the battery using plastic tweezers if it doesn't pop out easily. If you see clips holding the battery in place, use the tweezers to lift them.

Step 4: Insert the new battery

Use tweezers to place the new battery into place with the right side up, and, if applicable, lower the clips back, too.

Important note: Before closing the watch case, check if the watch is working. If not, you should check you've installed the battery correctly.

In some cases, you can put on the case back to see if that makes the battery sit correctly in place. If this doesn't fix your issue, you should go to a watch repair shop or call the manufacturer or the place you've bought it from.

If it does work, then you can go to the next step.

Step 5: Close the watch case

When closing the watch case, be careful not to lose or damage the rubber ring seal to keep the watch watertight.

Cases secured with screws

(Video) Apple Watch Series 2 Battery Replacement—How To

Put the watch cover back in its original place and, with a small screwdriver, add the screws.

Snap-on cases

Most snap-on cases have a small raised lip on the back. This small indent is a slot for the winder shaft. Don't forget to align the indent with the winder before pressing down. Once you've checked that the cover is in the correct position, push down on the watch back using both thumbs until you hear it click into place.

Slot cases

To close the watch case, insert the coin into the slot and turn it clockwise. It should be fully closed, without any gaps. Make sure it's in place before wearing the watch.

Now you're done. All that's left is to set the correct time and to enjoy wearing your watch!

A useful tip on how to preserve your watch battery

If you really want to preserve your watch battery and avoid watch battery replacement costs, we have a little tip on how to extend the battery life. Please note, this is a tip for those who own a collection of watches that they don't wear or use all the time.

When your watch is not in use, the crown can be pulled out (as if you were about to set the time) - if you leave it like this, it will stop the watch. This way you won't need to change the watch battery for longer!

When you're ready to wear it again, just push the crown back in and set the time.

Originally written by
Clémence Brissot
Updated by
Chloe Green
Copywriter and journalist with nine years under her belt writing about tech, AI and gadgets. When she's not nerding out over sci-fi books and robots taking over the world, she can be found obsessing over the latest well-crafted timepieces and smartwatches that are a pleasure to wear and own.

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FAQs

How do you change a watch battery? ›

There's a plastic ring that goes around the covers the battery. So just take that and pop it out

How do you change a battery in a watch at home? ›

Things You Should Know. If you have a snap back or Swatch watch, insert a small flathead screwdriver or coin into the indentation and twist to pop off the watch back. If your watch back has screws, use a small screwdriver (like an eyeglasses screwdriver) to remove each screw and pull off the back plate.

How do you take the back of a watch to change the battery? ›

Use it like a lever to pop the back open gently push the handle away from the watch back the back

Are watch batteries easy to change? ›

Having your watch battery replaced by a jeweller might not be particularly expensive, but changing it yourself is cheaper, saves time, and, in many cases, quite an easy process. Follow the simple guide below, and you'll be able to replace your battery in a few quick and easy minutes.

What batteries do watches use? ›

Most batteries used in watches today are silver-oxide or lithium batteries, of which there are over 100 in use. The shelf life of a battery is the same as its useful life. Watches are so efficient that they use very little energy--compare this to getting 500 miles to the gallon in a car.

Which way does a watch battery go in? ›

Make sure that the positive side of the battery with the engraved number is facing upwards. Carefully lift up the latch strap and slide the new battery under it and into the battery slot with the positive side facing upwards. When the battery is under the strap you may have to use your fingers to push it into place.

How do you take off the back of a watch without the tool? ›

Using a Rubber Ball on a Screw-Back Watch. Purchase a soft, mashable rubber ball. Rubber balls often have enough grip to pry off watch backings. Choose a rubberized ball that is both squishy and tacky so it can latch onto your watch's back.

How do you take the back off a stubborn watch? ›

Just dampen a bit of kitchen paper or a rag, and give it a good rub. Then use a thumbnail or edge of a credit card to scrape it off – comes away easily and quickly and leaves no mark behind. Now that's magic!

How do you remove watch back with notches without tools? ›

How To Unscrew A Watch Back With Scissors (No Case Wrench Needed)

How many types of watch backs are there? ›

There are three main types of watch case - the 'snap back' type, the 'screw' type and watch cases where the watch back plate is held in place by small screws.

How do you press back a watch cover? ›

How to Close a Snap Off Watch Case with a Watch Case Press - YouTube

How do I open the back of my watch? ›

How to Open a Watch With Common Household Items Without Pro Tools

How long does it take to change a battery on a watch? ›

Done properly, replacing the watch battery should not take you more than 10 – 15 minutes anyway, so you don't have to rush any part of the process.

Do all watches use the same battery? ›

All watch batteries are not the same. We have 2 basic types, 1.55 volt silver oxide batteries and 3.0 volt lithium batteries. We stock about 55 different sizes of these 2 types of batteries. A watch movement takes a specific size and type of battery and they cannot be interchanged.

How much is it to replace watch battery? ›

We can tell you from experience that the cost of a basic battery replacement starts at just $10. Most watch battery replacements can be done while you wait (although some replacements will take a few days or, in very few cases, even a few weeks).

What is a watch without battery called? ›

Automatic watches do not require batteries as they are powered through the kinetic energy the wearer generates with the movement of their arm. These timepieces contain a rotating weight, and with the natural movement of the wrist, it winds the watch to give it power. They are also referred to as self-winding watches.

What is the most common watch battery? ›

Silver Oxide: Silver-oxide button/coin cell batteries are the most popular type of wrist watch batteries - they are not expensive, often have a shelf life of 10 or more years, they have very constant voltage during operation, which is very similar to the nominal voltage of alkaline batteries (1.55 V vs 1.50 V).

How many batteries does a watch have? ›

Sometimes, you have to replace the first battery and try to start the watch up again before you realize that there are two batteries in the watch.

What happens if you put a battery the wrong way? ›

Connecting the battery terminals in reverse can cause serious damage to the battery itself, the electrical components, and even to yourself. Each terminal of a car battery uses 12V of current with positive and negative orientation.

Which side of the battery goes against the spring? ›

As you insert the negative end of the battery, you may press down a spring or a lever. By installing the negative end first, the battery will slide into the compartment more easily. You should then be able to easily snap the positive end into place.

Which side is the positive side of a watch battery? ›

The watch battery is split into two distinct parts, the anode can (negative) and the cathode can (positive). The anode is a gel containing a mixture of the negative electrode and the electrolyte. The cathode contains the positive electrode.

How do you open the back of a watch without notching it? ›

Opening a Snap Back Watch with no notch without cutting your finger!

How do you use the back removal tool on a watch? ›

Horotec Screw Case Watch Back Removal Tool - YouTube

How do you change a watch band without the tool? ›

How to change the watch strap easily without tools - just floss - YouTube

How do you loosen a tight watch back? ›

How To Open A Water Resistant Very Tight Watch Back Case Quick And ...

How do you use a watch wrench? ›

Using a 3 Prong Watch Case Wrench Opener - YouTube

How does a watch press work? ›

Watch Press Watchmakers Tool - YouTube

How do you get the notch out of a watch? ›

How To Easily Remove a Watch Link - YouTube

How do you take the back off a Fossil watch with notches? ›

How to replace battery on fossil watch without watch tools - YouTube

How do you remove the back of a twist watch? ›

How To Open A Screw Down Watch Back WITHOUT The Right Tools

What tool is used to take the back off a watch? ›

How to Open a Watch Case With Common Household Items Without ...

What is the back of a watch case called? ›

Exhibition Case Back: Also called an “open” case back, this is a transparent cover on the backside of a watch case that shows off the inner workings of the movement. Frequency: The speed at which a watch ticks (or beats), measured in either vibrations per hour or hertz.

How can I fix my watch at home? ›

How to Remove & Replace Watch Movements - YouTube

How do you use a crystal press watch? ›

How to Press Bezel Fit Watch Crystals with a Watch Crystal Press - YouTube

How do you put the back on a Timex watch? ›

How Put Snap Back On Cover WATCH (Timex Kenneth ... - YouTube

What is a watch gasket? ›

A seal made from rubber, plastic or other materials to prevent water, dust and other contaminants from entering the watch case.

How long should a watch battery last? ›

On average, a watch battery lasts for about two years. However, this can vary depending on multiple factors like its functions, age, how long it's been stored at the manufacturer, etc. Some watch batteries last for about 14 to 24 months, while others can go up to 6 years.

How much does a watch cell cost? ›

₹230.00 FREE Delivery.

Does target replace watch batteries? ›

Unfortunately, most Target stores do not offer watch battery replacement services.

Which is better silver oxide or lithium batteries? ›

Compared with alkaline batteries, silver oxide batteries have a flatter discharge curve, and compared with lithium-ion batteries, silver oxide batteries have a greater run time. Also, silver oxide batteries do not have flammability problems and are free from thermal runaway, unlike their lithium-ion counterpart.

Which battery is better silver oxide or alkaline? ›

Also, silver-oxide batteries under the same conditions, on average, feature 10-40% larger capacity - due to the more stable output voltage and larger capacity, silver-oxide batteries feature ~15-50% better energy density when compared with the alkaline batteries.

What does LR mean on a battery? ›

Batteries - Button Cell Batteries

The first letters (LR) indicates an Alkaline battery and may be thrown in the trash. Batteries with the first letters (CR) indicates a Lithium battery, (SR) indicates a Silver Oxide which contain heavy metals.

Is a watch still waterproof after battery change? ›

After a new battery is installed, a pressure test is necessary to check that the watch is sealed correctly. If it isn't, your watch will no longer be water-resistant and you might be on the hook for a costly repair.

Does JCPenney change watch batteries? ›

JCPenney on Twitter: "We'll change your watch battery for free in-store this month. Let our great prices recharge you!" / Twitter.

How much does it cost to replace a Seiko watch battery? ›

How much does it cost to replace your Seiko watch battery? To replace a Seiko watch battery usually costs about $25.

How do you take off the back of a watch without the tool? ›

Using a Rubber Ball on a Screw-Back Watch. Purchase a soft, mashable rubber ball. Rubber balls often have enough grip to pry off watch backings. Choose a rubberized ball that is both squishy and tacky so it can latch onto your watch's back.

How do you take the back off a stubborn watch? ›

Just dampen a bit of kitchen paper or a rag, and give it a good rub. Then use a thumbnail or edge of a credit card to scrape it off – comes away easily and quickly and leaves no mark behind. Now that's magic!

How do you take the back off a watch without notching it? ›

Opening a Snap Back Watch with no notch without cutting your finger!

How much does it cost to change a battery in a watch? ›

So here's how much a watch battery replacement should cost: between $15-95 USD. Do jewelry stores replace watch batteries? Yes, most jewelry stores will replace your watch battery.

How many types of watch backs are there? ›

There are three main types of watch case - the 'snap back' type, the 'screw' type and watch cases where the watch back plate is held in place by small screws.

How do you use the back removal tool on a watch? ›

Horotec Screw Case Watch Back Removal Tool - YouTube

How do you open the back of a watch case? ›

In this case, simply flip the watch over, grip it in one hand by the watch strap, and hold the friction ball against the case back with your other hand. Apply some pressure and rotate the ball counter-clockwise – if the case back is loose enough, it should unscrew fairly easily.

How do you loosen a tight watch back? ›

How To Open A Water Resistant Very Tight Watch Back Case Quick And ...

How do you use a watch wrench? ›

Using a 3 Prong Watch Case Wrench Opener - YouTube

How does a watch press work? ›

Watch Press Watchmakers Tool - YouTube

How do you remove the back of a twist watch? ›

How To Open A Screw Down Watch Back WITHOUT The Right Tools

How do you take the back off a Fossil watch with notches? ›

How to replace battery on fossil watch without watch tools - YouTube

How long should a watch battery last? ›

On average, a watch battery lasts for about two years. However, this can vary depending on multiple factors like its functions, age, how long it's been stored at the manufacturer, etc. Some watch batteries last for about 14 to 24 months, while others can go up to 6 years.

Do all watches take the same battery? ›

All watch batteries are not the same. We have 2 basic types, 1.55 volt silver oxide batteries and 3.0 volt lithium batteries. We stock about 55 different sizes of these 2 types of batteries. A watch movement takes a specific size and type of battery and they cannot be interchanged.

Is a watch still waterproof after battery change? ›

After a new battery is installed, a pressure test is necessary to check that the watch is sealed correctly. If it isn't, your watch will no longer be water-resistant and you might be on the hook for a costly repair.

Videos

1. How to Change a Watch Battery without a Cell Strap
(Esslinger and Company)
2. How to Change a Watch Battery with a Cell Strap
(Esslinger and Company)
3. How to reset a Seiko perpetual calendar and fit a new battery. Watch repair tutorials. 8F32
(Watch Repair Channel)
4. How to Change a CTL1616 Rechargeable Watch Battery in a Casio G-Shock
(Esslinger and Company)
5. How to Replace a Lithium Battery
(Esslinger and Company)
6. How to fit a Watch Battery to a waterproof or water resistant watch. And pressure test it.
(Watch Repair Channel)

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