How much should you pay to get your watch battery changed? A couple of quid? Under a tenner? How about £25? That’s the sum I was charged recently as I reluctantly handed over my watch.
I haven’t worn a watch for quite some time, but I do have a small collection of ‘dead’ watches in my bedside drawer. I’ve spent the past few years limiting my time-telling to checking the clock on my smartphone.
However, I thought I’d start sporting my Casio watch again. My grandma gave it to me a good decade ago, but rather than going out-of-date, it seems to have grown into some kind of retro fashion item.
So, all I needed to do was get a new battery installed. Simple; I’ll just pop to my nearest cobblers/locksmith – you know the ones where they repair shoes, cut keys, replace watch batteries and the like. I can’t remember the last time I did this, so I just asked the man over the counter whether he could replace the battery and he said ‘yes, of course’. He ushered me to hand over my watch…
How much should replacing a watch battery cost?
The cost of replacing your watch battery will depend on the watch. If it’s a waterproof Omega, you may have to pay as much as £65 to send it off to be done professionally. They can replace the seal and guarantee its continued water resistance.
For a normal watch, it can depend on where you go. A jeweler may charge you around £10. A market watch repairer could charge just £3. In fact, Bill Burnell told me on Twitter that it costs him ‘the price of the battery with free fitting as a courtesy’. For reference, most watch batteries cost one or two pounds.
So, how much did the man over the counter ask me to pay? £24.95. I was a little taken aback, but felt I had almost promised to hand over my watch – I couldn’t turn him down.
He got busy with his specialist tools, popped in a new battery, and handed it back in under 10 minutes. He added, ‘I’m sorry I don’t know how to set it. That’s £24.95 please’. I paid and said ‘don’t worry, I can do that’.
Paying more than the price of your watch
I don’t know why I went through with it. I had my chance to say ‘no, don’t worry, I’ll go somewhere cheaper’. It’s not really like me to be embarrassed but, on this occasion, I wasn’t really sure how much it should have cost. I’m even more bitter now that I’ve spotted you can buy the same watch from Argos for £19.99…
In a way, I’m broadly happy to pay £25 if it helps keep these independent shops afloat in this time of shops going bust. Should I complain? I don’t think so. It was my fault for handing over my watch. I just shouldn’t be embarrassed to say ‘no’.