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How much should replacing a watch battery cost?

How much should you pay to get your watch battery changed? A couple of quid? Under a tenner? How about £25? Where’s best and cheapest to replace watch batteries?

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 My grandma gave it to me a good decade ago, but rather than going out-of-date, it seems to have grown into some kind of retro fashion item.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, adding: ‘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’.

Comments
Jenny says:
15 December 2021

Had my watch battery replaced yesterday (14th December 2021). My OH kindly took it into Timpson’s. It has a one year guarantee, APPARENTLY, and cost me £18.95. The most I have paid at a jeweller’s is about £5.50, but then, that was a few year’s ago!!

Honestly you’re very unlikely to get a battery fitted correctly in either of those places, regardless of the cost. Try a proper watch repairer next time. I wouldn’t take a watch for a battery to a retail jewellers (for the most part) or a cobblers any more than I would take my car to a florist for new tyres.

I have a Casio g shock watch that needs a new battery, I haven’t done my own research yet but a friend told me that a normal place like Timpson’s won’t touch them and Casio is the only place that can fit and replace it for me at the cost of £50. Has anyone experienced this before?

That’s not true mate. Timpson’s is a cobblers so it stands to reason that they won’t be particularly capable and for the life of me I can’t understand why people consider them for watch repairs when there are plenty of specialists about. Any decent watch repairer can do that with ease. Just try a watch repairer instead of a jack of all trades.

Sam Richardson says:
30 December 2021

I went to Timpsons yesterday (29/12) for a battery replacement on my reliable Sekonda watch, in fact I took it there 2/3 years ago at a “reasonable” charge of £7.50…but now same shop wanted to charge me £12.95, I don’t call that reasonable in fact its a rip off, I hate being ripped off, so tomorrow I’m off to my local market for a reasonable charge for new battery and fitting, I’ll come on here again and tell you what the charge was.

You seem more concerned with price than quality of work. It strikes me that of the two places you’ve suggested neither are particularly competent. You’re complaining about the price of a cobblers and suggesting you’ll take it to a place that regularly ruins watches instead? Why wouldn’t you just try a proper watch repairer?

Thank goodness for cobblers and the local market they break them and then I fix them, from missing gaskets to damaged movements removing scratches and fixing bracelet links/components they shore keep me busy.

I had a customer a few years ago that tried to save some money by taking his solid gold, prestige watch to a cobbler for a battery. They battery cost him a fiver. The service and repairs required due to the coil they scratched cost him £1,200. It’s 2022 now and some people still think they’re clever by getting the job done as cheaply as possible.

The customer I mentioned above just uses us now. He learned the hard way but at least he learned.

Ritva old granny says:
6 February 2022

I have Longines watch and took it to Timpsons for battery replacement, they asked for £50. I said No thank. Then went to Jones jewellers, they said £60 to £70, and it would take 6 to 10 weeks, because they have to send it away. I went to a market and a lady said that she does not have a small enough tools for my watch. Well, where shall I go? Oh, yes, I also went to a posh jewellers, and they said that they do not do those watches any more. Any advice?

Ritva — It’s a question of how much you think it is worth to spend on making a good watch go again. Working on high quality watches will never be cheap.

Have you looked on-line for watch repairers in your local area?

Yes. Try a reputable watch repairer rather than a cobblers or retail jewellers. I’m not sure why anyone would buy an expensive watch and take it to the market for a battery. If you aren’t willing to pay for the proper maintenance of a good watch then you should probably get something cheaper to maintain. Cheaper watches are easier to work on therefore cheaper to repair.

Cheap repairs are false economy. Cheap does not equal good. Whilst I agree that £60 is a bit pricey by my reckoning it’s still around half the amount Longines would charge so in actual fact it’s reasonable value. A far more logical choice than letting a market trader potentially cause hundreds of pounds worth of damage so you can save £50. I charge £24.99 to seal most Longines watches properly. Find somewhere that charges about the same for the same quality of work. Honestly, you’re going to struggle.

Martin says:
11 April 2022

I took my mother’s Casio watch into a cobblers, they wanted £15. Timpson’s £19.95, so in the end she bought another Casio watch for £14.99.

The budget end Casio watches work out cheaper to replace the watch than to get them replaced which is a shame.

Was this a casio g-shock? as I went into casio near carnaby street and they asked me for £50 for a new battery

Yes, this is a sad state of affairs and only increases the amount of ‘junk’ in landfill but you can’t be blamed for not wanting to waste money. It is a consequence of cheap products made abroad having to be repaired at the ‘high’ prices charged here which are based on our higher shop rents, higher wages etc. so you can’t blame the businesses. Having said that, you should probably have tried a few more places. That watch would probably have been £4.99 to have a battery fitted at my place and we are a specialist watch repairers, not a cobblers or jewellers.

G-Shock watches are a PITA to replace batteries in compared to most watches. However, we charge between £19.99 and £29.99 depending on the model for a battery and seal done on the day. I think that’s very reasonable and you should be looking to pay something similar. If you don’t you’ll probably end up having your watch stuffed by a novice

I have only recently started using Amazon so I don’t have a lot to say.
So far I have only purchased a Jazz SACD, a Doro mobile phone for my wife, and
we are now buying a bag of compost for our garden. It is from Morrisons on Amazon. I have put some Plenish organic Hazelnut milk in my wish list. I used to buy it from Waitrose and get my wife staff discount but it has been saying out of stock for about 3 or 4 months naw. It is Because I am new to Amazon I am not even sure if they have a telephone number to call. And lastly the only reviews I read are on Which

Regard watch batteries I usually repack them myself.

Had a gentleman in today with a Raymond Weil which was a dead stop, apparently his son had worn it in the shower and didn’t know if it had water damage or just a dead battery.

Apparently he had been elsewhere and was told it would need a service as the movement had water damage.

I opened up the case which is water resistant and checked the case back gasket and crown/stem which were fine and no sign of water ingress, looking at the movement it looked like new and had no visible signs of damage water or otherwise, I fitted a new battery and it started immediately.

I re polished the case/bracelet fitted and lubricated a new back gasket and lubricated the crown gasket to keep the water resistance, pressure tested the case to make sure all was well all for £50 which was less than the other people had quoted just for sorting out the movement which didn’t have any issues anyway.

As a business I need to make a profit to pay the bills and wages but I don’t like businesses who lie to clients so that they can charge for work that isn’t being carried out.

I find it incredible the amount of times I’ve seen customers nearly be ripped off by incompetent watch repairers. Countless times I’ve seen customers estimated for huge, unnecessary sums on watch services that aren’t required, purely because the customer trusts the ‘cheaper’ place. They think they’re clever little savers by saving a couple of quid on having a battery fitted but are completely unaware that the person fitting the battery is damaging their watch or is about to charge them for work that isn’t required due to professional incompetence. Every day I see watches that have been damaged directly or indirectly because customers are frankly too tight to get the work done properly. It’s false economy through ignorance.

Manufacturers could help by providing a battery compartment with a screw-on cover, avoiding the need to remove the back. This would only be practical with thicker watches, but it has been done.

The SWATCH range of watches still use a one piece case with a battery hatch the only problem is the case is designed not to be opened including the new Omega quartz Speedmaster (part of SWATCH Group) with the plastic case which is a expensive item and is designed to be unrepairable.

Bulova used to have a battery hatch on their Accutron models and the case back could also be removed for repair/service, the only issue is that the silicone rubber gaskets deteriorate over a period of time and tend to be neglected until the ingress of water causing expensive damage.

Thanks for confirming that there are not many modern watches with a battery compartment, Robert. A screw-on cover will subject the seal to shear forces and may tear it without adequate lubrication. It’s better to have a flanged cover that tightens onto a recessed o-ring. The biggest problem with a battery cover is that it would not work with a very thin watch but many men’s watches are not thin.

It’s disappointing that Swatch are producing watches with cases that are not designed to be opened. Like smartphones with batteries that are not user-replaceable and washing machines where the bearings cannot be replaced it exploits consumers and creates more waste.

Does it remain important for watches to continue telling the time? Have they not become fashion items and status symbols? The time is available on other devices.

Some ‘watches’ are mini-computers and they need continuous power but, as you say, are going the same way as smart phones. Built-in obsolescence has reached a new peak, but products like this seem to weather recessions.

Craig says:
9 June 2017

Yes I was quoted £20 to replace a battery in a casio watch in the Oracle, Reading. Complete ripoff – you can buy the batteries AND a complete set of tools for less than £6 on amazon.

As a watch repairer with many, many years experience, that is the attitude of somebody who will:

– Scratch a coil
– Lose a battery clamp
– Not AC it
– Fit the wrong battery
– Strip a screw head
– Not be able to get the back off/on
– Lose the alarm spring
– Lose/squash/cut the back gasket
– Snap the neg contact
– Drop dirt in the watch clogging the movement
– Lose the module surround
– Lift the movement contacts above the pushers
– Break the dial feet
– Knock the hands off
– Snap a rigid strap
– Not be able to set the watch up correctly

… the list goes on.

The idea that all you need are the tools is pretty ignorant. While £20 sounds a bit steep to fit a battery in some Casio watches, a large number of them are very complicated, particularly WaveCeptor or dual display models. It’s more work by a distance than fitting a battery in a Breitling and resealing it. The world is full of people who think things are a rip off. Normally it’s because they don’t understand the process.

I charge between £5 and £8 to fit a Silver Oxide battery to most any basic Quartz watch. I then test the watch and re-assemble properly. I do not conduct a hydrostatic pressure test but apply a touch of Sil Grease to the rear plate O ring or replace as required. Extra work is of course at extra cost. Yes, I am an amateur watch repairer of most types of watch except F300 and Accutron and one or two others for which I cannot obtain replacement parts. This is a hobby for me and what anyone else does I do no know.

Yes, Spot on Nigel. I am Not a watchmaker just an amateur Jobber Fixer. I had training from an old Vacheron Constantin Geneva trained watchmaker many years ago alas, now gone. Only one comment to make, that is stay away from boot repairers/key cutters if you want your watch properly serviced. Just commenting on the the damaged Quartz watches that have been brought to me for re-instatement.

Something has gone wrong with the chronology of this thread. How can comments from 2017-2020 be replies to a comment posted two days ago?

Ironic really on a conversation about timekeeping devices. This thread must have had its battery changed on the market 😉

Yes, and I got it wrong as well. I should have written “2017-2018” instead of “2017-2020”. The big hand doesn’t know what the little hand is doing.

Perhaps the confusion arises from the third hand being called the second hand.

Yes, even in a brand new watch.

🙂 It’s good to see this Convo reincarnated. I wonder if there have been any recent developments.

@jon-stricklin-coutinho @gmartin
These comments have lost their parent.

Thank you Alfa.

Yes, they have been orphaned, but it has let us enjoy a spell of “winding up the watch of our wit – by and by it will strike” [William Shakespeare The Tempest].