Watch Battery Replacement: A DIY Guide

Watch Battery Replacement

Here at Stones Jewelry, the experts in our watch repair shop are happy to help our Wheaton, IL customers with any and all watch repair needs. That includes watch battery replacement.

Watch battery replacement can be a relatively simple operation, however, and some Do-It-Yourselfers may want to try their hands at it themselves. You actually don’t need a complete watch battery replacement kit like the pros use, but you may need to acquire some specialized tools depending on the type of watch you have.

Here, then, is a step-by-step guide to DIY watch battery replacement. Before we get into the steps, though, take heed of the following caveats.

First, be extremely careful when working on any watch (especially an expensive one.) You could damage it. If you have any uncertainly whatsoever about your ability to perform a certain task, you are almost certainly better off leaving it to the experts.

Second, make sure the watch is indeed battery-powered. If it is, it will say “Quartz” on it somewhere. If the word isn’t there, you’re actually dealing with a mechanical watch, and there’s no battery to replace.

With that said, here are the steps:

Step #1: Test the Battery

It’s possible the battery isn’t really the problem. If that’s so, then obviously, there’s no point in replacing it. Fortunately, you can use a watch battery tester to check without even opening the case.

Step #2: Open the Case

Once you determine that a dead battery really is the problem, it’s time to open the case from the back. It’s a good idea to check out the manufacturer’s specifications for guidance on how to open the particular watch you have. In general, though, watch cases come in three types:

  • The screw-off “waterproof” watch back. This will have notches around the edges of the back. You can open this type of watch case with a Jaxa wrench, a case wrench, or a case opener ball.
  • The pressure-fit or “snap-off” watch back. This will have a completely smooth back, sometimes with a small indentation for the insertion of a knife or other prying tool. Sometimes you can close the back up simply by using your hands, but sometimes, depending on the make, you might need a watch press. Also known as a case press or crystal press, the typical watch press is a multi-tool that will also help you replace damaged crystals.
  • The 4 screws watch back. This will have a smooth watch back held in place by screws, often four but occasionally more. Most require a properly sized Phillips screwdriver to remove them.

Step #3: Change the Watch Battery

This part of the operation tends to be fairly simple, but it’s a good idea to take note of the battery number before you remove the old one. You don’t want to be without that information if the old battery gets lost. (Note that not all manufacturers use the same battery numbers, but you can be sure of getting the proper replacement by consulting this cross reference.) Make sure the new battery goes in precisely the same way the old one came out. Some batteries are held in by spring-loaded arms or metal straps, and in some cases you may need to reset the movement before the watch starts working again.

There’s an exception to the above. It’s possible that when you test the battery, you find it still has juice in it, but when you inspect it, you find residue and oxidation. Should that be the case, use a battery saver pen to clean it and extend its useful life.

When handling a watch battery, use non-conductive plastic tweezers. Metal tweezers and the oil in your fingertips can drain power from a new battery, cause corrosion, or even short circuit it before it ever goes into the watch.

Step #4: Replace the Watch Back

Once you do this, the watch should keep good time once more.

One More Tip

Watch parts are small and have an annoying habit of getting lost during the watch battery replacement process. Having some spare parts on hand can save time and prevent aggravation.

Still have questions about watch battery replacement? Contact Stones Jewelry at our Wheaton, IL location and we’ll help you sort them out.