It’s the question of the day:
“How long does it take to change a battery in a watch?”
You’d be surprised at the amount of people that constantly ask this question.
So here’s the answer:
You see, swapping out the battery (cell) is the easy part. 5 seconds or less is all it takes. That’s it. But it’s all those little things that you have to do leading up to that point, well, that’s where it gets
frustrating fun and exciting.
Every watch is different.
The excitement comes because every watch is different. The styles are different, the movements are different, the steps you have to go through are different. It’s not always a cut and dry case. Yes, some watches actually do take 5 or 10 seconds to swap out a battery.
Some watches are that quick, all you have to do is pop the case back off with a knife or sharp object, flick the cell out, slap another one in and presto, you’re finished. These types of watches I love. Easy and painless.
But I’ll tell you…
Easy watch battery changes are rare.
For the most part, changing a watch battery can be a huge pain. Just ask any jewelry store employee on any given Saturday. You see, Saturdays are “watch battery changing day“. Customers roll in by the dozens to get batteries changed (7 watches at a time). It must be a weekend errand type of thing. Fun stuff.
And here’s the real pain:
The cheaper the watch, normally the more difficult the battery replacement will be.
Why? Because cheaper watches have cheaper parts.
Some have plastic parts that break easily and can’t be fixed. Just applying too much pressure to them from taking the lid off can snap the arms and legs off a watch (you know, the things that stick out and hold your watch band in place). When that happens, it’s a huge groaner.
Plus, cheap watches also have cheap plastic faces instead of durable sapphire crystals. Any slight pressure to snap the lid back on can crush or break that face. That cheap battery replacement of yours just got real expensive to fix.
Some watches have case backs that snap off with a knife or a flat object under a lip on the case back lid. Other watches have notches or grooves indented around the outside of the lid that require special watch tools (like a watch case opener wrench) that secure and rotate the back off. Plus, most watches need a watch sealer or press to seal the lid back on.
And then you have the guts of the watch…
Sometimes these watch guts get really complicated. Some watch batteries are buried deep inside the movements. Some are covered with plastic or stickers. Some are hidden layers deep and you have to operate just to find them.
And a lot of watches even have more than one battery. Like light-up watches or musical watches. And the funny thing is, you may not know this. You may change the battery, put it all back together again, and realize that it’s still not ticking… You just changed the battery that controls the light. Lucky you.
Springy little metal pieces:
Some batteries are held into place by springy little metal pieces that have hooks at either side. These clamp underneath little screws that are hard to work with, hold, and are impossible to find if you drop them. It always makes for a lovely morning when that screw gets ejected out of the watch and lands in the Bermuda Triangle. “I can’t find it!” (Another reason why your watch battery could take an hour).
Watch batteries go in only one way…
Do note that all watch batteries have to be put in a certain direction.
Pay attention when you remove the battery to see which end is up. The negative or positive side. Placing the cell in backwards or wrong could actually short circuit your movement. Not a good thing to do.
And then you have those watches that need to be jump started. Why they make these types of watches, I don’t know. But to get them ticking again, you have to use a pair of pointy metal tweezers and touch one tip to a spot (usually marked with an X), and the other tip of the tweezers to the other X spot. Good luck finding these. They get very difficult to locate without a 10x jeweler’s loupe.
All in all, when it comes to changing watch batteries, you just never know how long it’s going to take to swap out for a fresh one. Seconds, minutes, who knows?
5 minutes and counting…
Generally for me, I would say less than 5 minutes. Unless I have to operate on the watch. You know, things like removing the watch band just to get the back off. Or taking out plastic covers and pieces inside the watch. Undoing little screws and straps just to see what the battery number is and then seeing that we’re out of that particular battery number…
Yes, it could be 5 seconds, it could be 1/2 hour. When it comes to watch batteries it’s unpredictable.
Who needs to know the time anyway?