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 My grandma gave it to me a good decade ago, but rather than going out-of-date, it seems to have grown into some kind of retro fashion item.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

Both Mrs R and myself needed new watch batteries and a strap. The jeweller couldn’t do it at the time and sent us to a unit in the shopping centre. She fitted both batteries and reset the times for £7.98 total, but didn’t have a suitable strap. “Go round the corner to ##” she said, “he’ll have one but if his man who fits them isn’t there, bring it to me and I’ll fit it – no charge”. The other man was there and did fit it – £8.95.
These are people I would support. A shop that takes £24.95 is a rip off and does not deserve either support or to stay in business.

Glyndwrg says:
18 July 2013

I have taken four watches to Timpsons..Three different shops..I presumed the batteries were flat. On collecting the watch, they told me the Mechanism is broke. Between 25 and 45 pounds to repair..Now its time to contact internet chat rooms to find out if this problem is common. For each watch I had bought a lifetime guarantee..! £10, life of the watch, free batteries…GLG

harryh says:
24 September 2014

My wifes solid case sovereign gold watch (no removerable back) is a problem to have batteries replaced normally it costs over £20.and many have to send it away
Today I got it done in preston Timpsons for £12.50 with a replacement for life
I think that is excellent service on a watch the is difficult.to diy
It nice to get good service now and then.

The last battery I had fitted cost £5. Next time I might attempt to do the job myself.

Glyndwrg says:
18 July 2013

I have taken four watches to Timpsons..Three different shops..I presumed the batteries were flat. On collecting the watch, they told me the Mechanism is broke. Between 25 and 45 pounds to repair..Now its time to contact internet chat rooms to find out if this problem is common. For each watch I had bought a lifetime guarantee..! £10, life of the watch, free batteries…GLG

There is a difference here between just changing the battery and having a waterproof watch still to be waterproof, that one may be a bit different.
As batteries cost a bit over a pound, £1.60 ish, paying more than the £6 charged in town here I would considered excessive. Why not do it yourself?
Most gents’ watches are large enough to have a coin slot cover, it’s just a simple job. One that needs the back removing is a bit more difficult, but even so, unless it is an expensive watch there is little to loose by trying it yourself. I have spare jewellers’ screwdrivers, one I have sharpened on one corner and that works every time. If you look carefully in most cases there will be a tiny lip that you can get the blade under.
I have no hang-ups about keeping other people in work, charity begins at home, and that is where my loyalty lays.
Full marks though for admitting paying too much was your free choice and your mistake, I find that helps make sure I don’t make the same mistake again (but do anyway).

I have no hangups about keeping other people in work, charity begins at home, that is where my loyalty lays.
Full marks though for addmitting paying too much was your free choice and your mistake, I find that helps make sure I don’t make the same mistake agin (but do anyway).

I got fed up with my watch losing time and being ripped off every year for a new battery, so I bought a Citizen Eco-Drive with a metal bracelet and I don’t regret it. Maintenance free!

When I was 21 I was given a Seiko self-winding watch. It kept good time and was sealed, so I assumed that it would last a very long time if I took care of it. Eventually it became unreliable, so I took it to be cleaned, only to be told that the mechanism was worn out and not worth repairing.

Perhaps a solar-powered watch is the answer.

Don’t let me mislead you. The Eco-Drive watch is guaranteed for 5 years and may last for 10-20 years with luck. Eventually, the secondary power source (battery) will fail. I just found that a conventional battery-powered watch stopped working too often to be convenient or cheap to run.

In my experience solar powered watches work well in the middle East and in Nigeria until it gets stolen. They don’t work so well in UK though, in fact rather pointless unless you take active steps to keep it in the light during the winter months.

Batteries do have a limited life. Capacitors are more durable and might be able to store enough power in the space available. I have a tuner that uses a capacitor to retain settings when the power is off, and that is still working fine after at least 25 years.

I came across LED road studs (replacing reflective cats eyes) that were individually solar powered and stored the energy for night use in either batteries or capacitors. In our tests the capacitor versions of those we investigated did not have sufficient storage for long winter nights and short dull days, but the principle worked. Presumably their life was not limited as batteries are.
Sorry – not really the topic.

Batteries or capacitors, if you have not got the solar power energy input you are not going to get enough energy stored to run the lights, watch or whatever on a long winters night, simple as that. Thousands of people know that from the use of these little solar garden lights. They work fine in summer, but when you need them in winter they are dead. Just manually recharge the batteries.
The solar watches I have seen use a 0.68 F capacitor which is identical to and can be replaced with a CR2016 lithium cell. Printers use a 1 F capacitor to save their memory, it stays charged for many months it seems.

Getting the back of a watch off is one thing – pressing it back into the bezel is the tricky bit. I have usually found that the friendly folk in the cobbling and key cutting kiosks will do this for nothing. They usually only charge a fiver for fitting a new power cell.

I still have a smart wind-up watch and it’s right twice a day. It was given to me on my twenty-first and I only wear it on my birthday. Has a beautiful face; watch is attractive too.

My Seiko was a present over 35 years ago, a battery lasts 5 years, it cost me £5.00 last time to replace. I feel happy with it and the cost. ( I wear it daily).

I’m wondering what my rights are regarding a watch whose battery went flat a month after I bought it. Presumably it had been sitting in its box in the shop’s storeroom for years before they gave it to me and the battery only had a month of life left. But they don’t specify how long a battery is expected to last from the time of sale, only from the time of installation.

Some battery-powered items come with a warning that the installed battery is for display purposes only. It is also very common for batteries and other consumables to be excluded from manufacturers’ warranties. I don’t know whether this is legal or not.

If you bought the watch from a shop I suggest you go back, make some friendly comments and say that you really liked the Christmas present but it has stopped working after only a month. A new watch battery will not cost the shop much but they could lose your future custom. Best of luck.

The battery inside my son’s Casio wrist watch was replaced by a well known high street shop that repairs shoes, cut keys and replaces watch batteries (easy clue: the first letter is T). They charged me £25 for the cell refit (ordinary service) and they also issued me with a card which honours all future battery replacements free of charge for the lifetime of the wrist watch itself. Well, this seemed like a pretty fair deal to me.

However, it was just as well that I was given this extended guarantee as I have had to come back to the same shop three times over the last 12 months to have the same battery replaced. So I’ll be keeping that warranty card in a safe place, you can count on it !

I guess you could be referring to Timpson, which advertises: All batteries fitted are guaranteed for 12 months. We also offer a lifetime guarantee battery which you pay once and never pay again.

I have seen that sort of guarantee (non-transferrable) for car batteries and exhausts. The companies that offer these guarantees are like insurance companies – sometimes they lose but overall they make a profit.

Carol says:
22 February 2013

No one has mentioned Gucci. We have 3 (one each) in the family no change out of £70 for each

Simon says:
13 April 2013

Timpsons in Tesco just quoted more than £90 and offered to reduce it to £80… a few years back Selfridges did it for twenty something. So beware!

Simon says:
13 April 2013

I was so shocked with the above prices I forgot to add the Watch is a Casio Sea Pathfinder. Please let me know if anyone can suggest somewhere near Weybridge. Thanks.

Simon says:
13 April 2013

Patrick thanks for the info, now scooped into Evernote! I have mailed some battery replacement sites. I have a suspicion that Timson prices are a bit steep in any case and they charge the same a price for each battery so you pay 4 x battery + 4 x labour.

Lynda says:
18 May 2013

Just had a quote from ‘Goldsmiths’ in Victoria for changing a Tissot watch battery – sending it away and resealing – £60.

Greg says:
27 May 2013

I had the battery replaced on my Rotary watch which has a dolphin (waterproof) back . It was a national chain of jewelers who couldn’t do it themselves but sent it off. Took a week. £25. Battery died after a year.

keith says:
21 June 2013

I’ve been replacing watch batteries for 15 years now and i charge £3-50 no matter what make of watch it is. Obviously some watches have to go back to the manufacturer, but i would say 98% of the watches i get in are no problem. I also test the old battery from the watch first to determine if it is the battery or watch that is not working, that is a a free service.

Glyndwrg says:
18 July 2013

I have taken four watches to Timpsons..Three different shops..I presumed the batteries were flat. On collecting the watch, they told me the Mechanism is broke. Between 25 and 45 pounds to repair..Now its time to contact internet chat rooms to find out if this problem is common. For each watch I had bought a lifetime guarantee..! £10, life of the watch, free batteries…GLG

Pierre says:
30 June 2013

@ Keith: Where is your shop? I am living inn london and I would need your services. Many thanks.

I was charged £25 for a battery for my Raymond Weil watch by Timpsons in Chelsea. I expressed surprise and the chap serving said well, it would have a one year guarantee (!) When I went to collect it, it was apparently working. An few hours later and the watch said the same time. I made the mistake of moving the hands to update the time, but by the next morning it was clear that there had been no movement. When I took it back the chap said that it was working when it left the shop and it must be the watch. I had to plead for him to test the battery as he wouldn’t accept that it was possible to have a defective battery. He asked me to leave it for 20 minutes. When I returned he said he had tested it and there wad definitely something wrong with the watch which might need a service; and that there was nothing wrong with the battery. He was surly and unpleasant, not realising how upset I was. (The watch had been a present from my mother when I passed my exams). He said he couldn’t give me a new battery or a refund. Shame he couldn’t have spotted that it needed servicing before charging me the extortionate £25. Anyway, he could at least have been pleasant.

Glyndwrg says:
18 July 2013

I have taken four watches to Timpsons..Three different shops..I presumed the batteries were flat. On collecting the watch, they told me the Mechanism is broke. Between 25 and 45 pounds to repair..Now its time to contact internet chat rooms to find out if this problem is common. For each watch I had bought a lifetime guarantee..! £10, life of the watch, free batteries…GLG

Every Woman,
It sounds to me like the person changing the battery may have damaged the workings. Had the watch been left with a flat batter for a period of time then there is a chance that it may not work even with a new battery. Sometimes chemicals from the battery which has been flat in the watch for a period of time (months) can corrode and affect the movement.
Part of the reason that you can get charged more than a fiver for a battery change is that it can take a while to do. Many watches have really fiddly screws and battery covers which can take an age to remove carefully. There is a risk that you can damage the watch.
I started a website selling watch batteries over 10 years ago (won’t post here for fear of spamming, but if you google watch battery we are still number one) and we had a lot of people bringing watches in to us which had been kept in drawers for months or years. We could spend up to 30 minutes changing the battery, putting the case back etc. only to find that the watch wouldn’t work. Then we have to take the battery out, out the old one back and then tell the customer that there wasn’t a problem with the battery, but the watch was faulty. We have now stopped changing batteries in watches which have been left in drawers for a long time.
There is some information on our website with regard to waterproofing and how this is tested.
In summary, I think costs of up to £10 are reasonable for a battery change. To test for waterproof-ness, then like someone else has posted, bank on paying £50+.
AJ

Khawar says:
16 April 2014

Hi I am a watch repairer myself, No offense but once you open the battery pack, the package seal is broken so you can’t just put a battery back into its original pack and seal it. To you other part you can’t check the watch just by looking at it whether or not it needs a service, if the battery was dead and was replaced which cost you is a normal case and then if the watch still messes around even though if the battery is perfect/full only then one can tell that the watch might require a service so shop keeper/repairer wasn’t being unreasonable. peace

LadyMustard says:
21 August 2013

I too was horrified when I went to Timpsons and was quoted £25 for them to replace a battery in my father’s old Tissot watch. I said that last time I had it replaced it was by a guy in a street booth for £3.50.
I was told that the battery itself might be the same as in another watch but the price was determined by the make of the watch. Can this be legal?

Unlike Patrick Steen I Did have the presence of mind to walk out, and found a small watch shop -‘watch box’ – that charged me £6 to replace the battery and said all their batteries were the same price, regardless of the make of watch.

Chris says:
11 July 2014

Four visits to the stall would have paid for a lifetime guarantee from Timpsons, so your fifth and subsequent visit are costing yet more money.

Have a Seiko for nearly 15 years and has had a new battery every couple of years. Lovely and accurate watch and have always had a local jewellers in Chichester where it was originally bought change the battery (£5 to £6ish each time, they clean it and once fitted a new seal at no extra). I used to think this was expensive, but reading the above posts, I’ll stick with this local shop. The last battery fitted is just dying now after over four (!) years, so it’s back to the same place and hope it continues like that for a few more years…