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 My grandma gave it to me a good decade ago, but rather than going out-of-date, it seems to have grown into some kind of retro fashion item.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


Well the big boys fail customer service again, just received a parcel from a trade client who had a client take her watch into them as the minute hand had come adrift.

Apparently she had the battery changed at a well known major high street jewellers with the initials H.S. and after a few days the minute hand dropped off and just needed refitting (not a major job) the client went back to H.S. and asked if they would refit said hand, they said no and refused to be of any help.

I love the large companies who when advertising extol there customer service and then fail at the first hurdle driving customers to smaller businesses who do actually care.

danny robin says:
17 August 2017

i was told it would be £150 to change my capasitor on my seiko the wath only cost£250 this is rubbish

Hi Danny,

That sounds like a service price with the manufacturer. Capacitors are quite a lot more expensive than batteries but should cost you no more than £50 including a seal test. This is as long as the movement is OK. There’s a small chance that it could be a movement fault. You’ll need somebody experienced though as Kinetic watches can be a little awkward to do.

Hi Danny
I agree with TheWotcher to supply and fit a new capacitor should be anything from £30 to £50 depending on model and whether you have a water pressure test or not.

I charge £30 to £35 to replace a Cap/Batt in most Kinetics. No Hydrostatic test but a test on the watch and Silicon grease the back 0 ring with correct assembly. I sometimes replace the 0 ring if it is stretched or flattened. Watchmakers hate me. I wonder why.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Easy is relative. With a Kinetic (as opposed to an Eco-Drive capacitor for example), you need to:

1- Remove the back
2- Remove the rotor
3- Remove the battery clamp and insulator
4- Remove the capacitor
5- Refit the new capacitor in the correct orientation (important or it won’t work)
6- Refit the insulator and the clamp. Do this incorrectly and the rotor won’t rotate
7- Refit the rotor
8- Do any sealing jiggery-pokery

You also need to ensure that you get the right capacitor. Some have the same designation but aren’t actually the same capacitor. Obviously all the usual battery fitting considerations also need to be taken into account in order to do this properly so as not to damage the movement. If you have a steady hand and a little knowledge it’s relatively easy but then fitting a simple battery is even easier and I see that done badly all the time.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

No worries Duncan, I didn’t think you were arguing, I assumed you were just making an observation.

The timing of this topic is spot on as I recently took my Rotary watch to a local jeweller for a new battery. After a few minutes the woman reappeared from the back of the shop clutching the screw head in her hand announcing it was broken and as there was also a problem with the bridging arm they were unable to repair it.

I then took it into town to a recommended Rotary dealer who confirmed the problem and quoted £55 + battery to repair it which I agreed to but they would need to send it away to the workshop taking about 2 weeks which expired last Tuesday. I phoned them on Friday and was told the cost had now risen to £129 which was more than I paid for it so I said forget it I will buy a new one. Now here’s the rub. I was then offered a 20% discount on a new watch and they would keep mine! I declined and told them I will pick it up but I have to wait over a week to collect it.

I still have the receipt but I can’t help feeling my lovely watch will be repaired and either sold off or kept by someone in the trade. There was nothing wrong with it when I took it to the first local jeweller apart from the battery and am left still wandering whether it was damaged by them.

It depends on where the screw head was from. If by bridging arm they meant the battery clamp/strap it is possible that they accidentally snapped off the screw head of the screw that holds the battery clamp in place. If that is the case and the battery clamp is also the positive contact then it will no longer work.

My guess is that the £55 was for a battery and seal test done properly by Rotary who, once they received it and inspected it, discovered the snapped off screw and then quoted for a new movement at £129. It’s a shame but just goes to show what the risks are of having even a simple job such as a battery replacement done. This is why it ‘grinds the gears’ of a decent watchmaker when a customer spits out that they can ‘get it done cheaper on the market’ 🙂

Just fyi, a decent watch repairers should be able to repair your watch for about £50-60 all in. I am of course assuming a lot about the movement in your watch but most ladies Rotary watch movements are relatively simple and not particularly expensive. I hope this helps.

Thank you TheWotcher for your speedy reply. The watch is actually a gents which I bought because it has a large face and easier to see. It came with a black strap but I had it changed to a white one to make it look more feminine. It is a very attractive looking watch and has always attracted quite a lot of attention when worn. I paid £115 for it.

Interestingly the first local jeweller told me there was no point installing a new battery as it wouldn’t work until the other repairs were carried out which they were unable to do. The second jeweller however actually put a new battery in it whilst I was there and it immediately started up, proving the first jeweller to be wrong which was the main reason why I decided to agree to the rest of the repair.

Ah, I see. Gents watches are basically the same size as Ladies watches nowadays anyway. Still, at £115 new it’s probably a movement that would cost about £50-60 to replace if required. Unfortunately what tends to happen with most inexperienced watch repairers is that if they can’t get it to work easily with a battery they automatically default to a service with the manufacturer at great expense. In my experience it’s regularly just a case of carrying out a battery replacement properly. I’ve lost count of the times a customer has told me that they were told by a jeweller that they needed a service when it was just a case of fitting the battery correctly. As Robert James has mentioned before me, the larger jewellers tend to be the worst culprits. I’ve worked for them before and it’s like the blind leading the blind.

I hope you get this sorted. It annoys me the amount of waste that must be generated by watches that are perfectly OK but are disposed of due to poor advice from people in a position of trust.

If they had offered a 20% discount on a new watch and the safe return of my own I may have accepted it but my intuition tells me its not all as it seems to be. I believe it is possible to send the watch direct to Rotary for repair but I am reluctant to do that as I may not see it again! The jewellery market is now geared towards selling and not repairing so unless watches have sentimental value you may as well buy a cheaper one and throw it away when it stops.

Do they still make winders? With the cost of battery replacement forever increasing, it may be cheaper to plump for one of the old winders. I still have a small gold winder which is almost as old as me and it still goes but I need a magnifying glass to see the time and it takes forever to fasten the gold strap.

With a decent watch repairer you can usually get a cost effective repair but it does depend on the watch. Looked after properly, and if you’re lucky, a quartz watch can last a couple of decades without issue, only the occasional battery replacement. None of my quartz watches have ever required a service, some of them are 20+ years old. The issues arise when a battery replacement is done incorrectly. The problem is an unseen one because the effects of a poorly carried out battery replacement are sometimes only apparent months or years after it is fitted due to dirt being dropped into the watch and fingerprints causing the watch to slowly lose time as the bits work their way into the movement. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s the next repairer who cops for it, being the person that has to tell the customer their watch requires a service. If you’re unlucky enough to get a customer who is ignorant enough they’ll tell you ‘it’s always worked until you had it’.

With regards to mechanical watches, whilst they are a ‘proper’ watch, the regular servicing they require will cost you more in the long run than a quartz watch. Servicing every 5 years at a cost of £100+ comes as a surprise to many people who own them. Quartz watches don’t require this regular maintenance. Quartz is also more accurate. If you want practicality and low running costs, stick with quartz would be my advice.

Thanks for very helpful advice TheWotcher. It would appear decent affordable watch repairers are becoming harder to find so I think I will probably buy a cheaper watch next time and replace the watch instead of the battery when it stops working. With a cheaper watch I may even have a go at replacing the battery myself which I believe my niece often does and claims she finds it quite easy to do.

My pleasure Beryl. Cheaper watches are easier to replace the battery in as the build quality is not as good i.e. the back isn’t as tight fitting (it’s in part the tight fit that keeps out dirt and moisture). I don’t think you should be put off buying another decent watch to be honest. My watch repair shop charges between £5.99 and £7.99 for a straight battery replacement on most Rotary watches, without a seal test. Even with a seal test it’s £14.99 (which equates to about a fiver a year for a proper job). Good luck with it Beryl, I hope I’ve been some help 🙂

Hi Beryl
Rotary watches are now fitted with Miyota quartz movements , these have a spring finger which has a screw to keep it correctly located the screw does not require loosening as the finger only requires a gentle sideways movement to release the battery. The number of times I have had watches with these movements with the finger bent twisted or snapped off through incompetence. To supply and fit a new movement I would expect a charge of £40 to £60

Yep, this exactly. It’s common with that kind of movement for those with little experience to lever out the battery without moving that sprung section to the side, pulling it out from under the screw. More frequently still, forcing in a new battery without moving the clamp out of the way, bending the clamp. Then they can’t work out why the battery won’t stay in place. Still, with that kind of movement it should still work as the watch case back will usually hold the battery in place. It is a pretty good sign that someone has been fiddling that has no clue what they’re doing, especially seeing as it is a very common movement type.

Many thanks for that very useful feedback Robert, which more or less confirms my suspicions that the first jeweller I entrusted my watch with didnt know what she was doing. I have never attempted to tamper with It myself but unfortunately there was no way I could prove that either she or myself was responsible for the fault.

Hello Beryl, when you have retrieved your watch if you let me know the details from the back of the watch (model reference ) I will know precisely which movement is fitted and be able to tell you if it can be easily fixed without having to spend a fortune, then you can decide on whether to take it to a local repairer armed with the information you need.

Will do that Robert. I do still like to wear a watch but only when I leave the house. I never wear it to perform household chores even though it is supposed to be steam and crack proof. Speaking from a feminine viewpoint a watch to me is a very practical but attractive bracelet that has a dual purpose.

Hello again Robert. I collected my watch today and the details you requested are as follows:

Rotary – Windsor – GS02324/32 (11813)
PLO – 004592 Batt:: UC 371
Water Resistant 5M

This is in response to your posting on 22nd August under Complain for change: Don’t be embarrassed to say ‘no.’

Hello Beryl
Your watch is fitted with a Ronda 517 swiss quartz movement using a 371/SR920SW silver oxide battery which should last approximately three years.

Like the Miyota movements it has a spring finger which just needs to be gently moved to the side to release the battery, the cost to replace this movement will be in the region of £40 to £60 for an independent watch repairer and if you go to a large high street retailer you would expect to pay at least double. If the repairer has a faulty one from a previous job they could easily swap over the plate which the finger is part of and would probably cost approximately £20 to cover the time involved to do the job.

If the small screw has been sheared off then you are best to change the movement.

Many thanks for your feedback Robert. You were spot on with the duration of the battery life for my watch which is why I am pretty sure the original problem was nothing more than just a flat battery.

I contacted my niece who always changes her watch battery herself, but as TheWotcher points out, the back of a cheaper watch is easier to get into. She unbelievably pays one pound from a well known high street pound shop for a card containing about 6 rows of different sized batteries, one of which fits her watch.

I happen to live in the same area as Aftab the first respondent on this topic coincidentally, so the plan is to visit James Bloor armed with your explicit instructions in the hope they can repair my watch at a reasonable price.

Hi Beryl,

Robert James is spot on with those price suggestions. I would suggest just getting a new movement though rather than trying to repair it or you could end up throwing good money after bad. As long as it is fitted properly and looked after well at each battery change it should last you many many years.

With regards to the batteries your niece uses, they will do the job but honestly are appalling quality. The battery life is generally poor but worse still those batteries can leak ruining the movement. It would be much better for her to buy decent quality branded silver oxide batteries in future. It’s generally worth the additional expense so as not to ruin even a cheap watch. Cheap batteries are false economy on the whole.

Let us know how you get on with your watch repair.

I would suggest your niece keeps away from the £ shop batteries as they are produced in China and are generally alkaline so do not last very long and also have the tendency to leak.

Thank you TheWotcher and Robert for your good advice, I will certainly keep you posted.

When I fit a new movement I always keep the faulty/non working one for spares which on the Miyota the plate which the spring leg is part of can be used to replace the damaged one allowing for a inexpensive fix although when an incompetent has damaged that part they have probably done other damage.

Slightly off-topic, but I wonder how many people wear a watch these days. I do when attending meetings because it might seem rude if I looked at the phone. At home, there are clocks and I’m often looking at a computer screen that shows the time. There is a clock in the car and when I’m out I usually take the phone, unless just going to the shops. I wore a watch more before I retired but the phone was often adequate.

Well going on the number of watches that pass across my bench for new batteries, bracelet adjustment or minor /major repairs I would say a lot of people still like to wear a watch. I never take mine off and check the time with it constantly, it’s so much easier to glance at the wrist than trying to juggle with your mobile phone when your hands are full and probably better for the eyes than looking at a illuminated screen.

I’ve not worn watches for years – but, at least in professional circles, I think I’m in a minority.

I was given a Seiko self-winding watch in the early 70s and had to wear it regularly to avoid it stopping. It worked faultlessly for over twenty years and then a jeweller pronounced that it was worn out.

Most people this days have gone back to pocket watches. I wear an analogue tick tock on my wrist – far quicker and more discreet than digging out a telephone from my pocket.

I used to have a mobile phone that displayed the time continuously, and I put that on the table during meetings. Very useful. At a recent reunion with old school friends, one of them had a pocket watch,

I don’t understand why people would use a phone for timekeeping instead of a watch. We spent many years with our watches in our pockets until some bright soul stuck a strap on one. Then everyone realised how much more convenient this was and pocket watches became more of a dressy accessory than a functional item, reserved for Best Man gifts and not much else. Why anybody would risk whipping out a delicate phone worth hundreds of pounds each time they want to know the time is beyond me when you can get an accurate watch for a tenner.

I can’t have my phone in my pocket while I’m playing football, squash or when I’m swimming. My watch is also much harder to steal than my phone as it’s attached to me. And as Beryl quite rightly said before, it also acts as a piece of jewellery. I feel positively under-dressed without one. There seems to be a fashion for saying that you can use a phone instead of a watch but I doubt any of the people who say this have really thought about how less convenient it is. Feel free to correct me though if you are one of those oddballs 🙂

I stopped wearing wristwatches when I was an all-weather long distance motorcyclist. I discovered that their potential for restricting the blood circulation to one hand tended to lead to two cold hands and increased fatigue and discomfort, not least on “iron butt” rides.

Mind you, why anybody would waste hundreds of pounds on a delicate phone just for calls, texts and a little surfing is beyond me. (Customer choice, what’s that?)

Find me a watch that I can tether my laptop to when I’m away from home and I might become a regular wearer again.

Pardon me for saying Wavechange but shouldn’t that be the other way round, or you might try tethering it to your wrist, and there’s always a smart watch of course if you are feeling generous.

Next time I tether my wrist watch to my wrist I will smile and think of your post, Beryl. I would not want to hand out smart watches when I don’t have or want one myself. 🙂

I thought it would be interesting to add a new dimension to this Conversation and the different views are interesting.

I wouldn’t know what to do with a smart watch Wavechange! From reviews I have read they are not recommended for smart people anyway 🙂

Smart in my day, apart from knife-edge trousers and mirror-finish shoes, meant some one who made clever remarks – too clever for their own good. My watch is stupid – it can only do one job – tell the time (well, it does work out the date if I change it when there are not 31 days in a month, but it is too small to read.). But it is correct and reliable. I don’t need a clever-clogs watch.

I prefer my ‘dumb’ watch. It’s a specialist in its field. It’s very good at doing the thing it was designed for. It’s also a piece of finely tuned analogue engineering, designed and perfected over centuries. It has class. It won’t be obsolete by next year either.

Watches come in a plethora of styles and types from smart slim analogue dress watches which just show the hour and minutes to a larger more robust analogue with timing functions plus a date window, for the adventuress outdoors type watches like the Timex Intelligent range which have functions such as hours minutes seconds & date plus a compass and temperature readout plus tidal times. All these have traditional hands for people who don’t like digital displays. In the digital watches you have all sorts of functions like timers alarms barometer temperature and compass functions found on the likes of the SUNNTO and G-Shock ranges.

All this information is available strapped to the wrist in a compact tough case for easy viewing.

Smart watches produced by Apple etc. have not done as well as some hoped but maybe the watch industry will lead the way in multifunctional timepieces of the future.

I find the smartwatch discussion interesting because I’m a tech geek who loves watches. I owned and wore a smartwatch for quite a while. I assumed I’d love it but honestly it just got on my nerves. I didn’t like the intrusion. I can just about cope with a vibrating phone in my pocket but a glowing, vibrating block on my wrist I couldn’t ignore. Plus a screen as a dial just doesn’t fill my soul with joy. Charging it up every couple of days also wore me down, like I don’t already have numerous household tablets, laptops and phones to charge daily anyway.

I think the only way I would consider trying one again is when the health measurements they take become more accurate. But even then I suspect I’d rather just wear a smartphone connected band of some sort.

I find the evolution of technology fascinating, even though I don’t buy many gadgets. I remember when electronic watches arrived and users were quite happy to press a button to make the red LED display show the time. Then there were LCD displays that displayed the time continuously and their owners said that the digital displays would soon take over from old fashioned analogue displays. The rest is history. I suspect the way forward will be dependent on marketing, what users find useful and the influence of tradition.

A definite selling point for a wristwatch, rather than smartwatch, is that it does not have to be charged. I wish my phone and laptops were like that.

Sales of smartphones did not live up to expectations and were seen by some as gimmicky and pointless. However, one person, Brian Davies, a photographer gave a number of reasons for keeping his which you can read @ http://www.thenorthsider.com.au-smart watches:useful or a gimmick?

Not surprisingly, the hassle of having to charge smartwatches regularly features in this and other articles. We do manage to put up with this with smartphones because the usefulness outweighs the hassle. I fondly remember having a Nokia phone that I charged at the weekend, whether it needed it or not.

If you have trouble locating the above website try: Are smart watches a gimmick? and scroll down to SMART WATCHES: USEFUL OR JUST A GIMMICK – THE NORTHSIDER – Dec.22 2014

I’m not that familiar with smart watches but the ones I have seen appear to have displays which light up like the early LED displays of the first quartz digital watches which also suffered from limited battery life due to the power drain of the display.

The other issue with digital display watches is the viewing angle for reading the time and again the good old fashioned hands wins. Call me old fashioned if you want to but why do people feel that they have to have everything constantly tethered to their phones and computers.

Even if smartwatches had low power LCD screens, communicating with a phone would drain the battery. Maybe they might be more convenient than a map on a phone when walking round town. I’m not interested, but I said that about smartphones many years ago.

There are a few things I liked about my smartwatch. Viewing a map on it while I walked around Leeds was useful. Controlling music functions. Being able to see who was phoning or messaging me while driving was useful too so I would know whether it was important enough to stop and answer. I also liked the vibrating function. I found I noticed it vibrating more on my wrist than my phone in my pocket. That said, my phone notifies me of a lot and as I mentioned before I found it invasive and annoying. It was even harder to switch off from it all with the watch buzzing constantly. Talking to someone and trying to seem interested in what they were saying was difficult with a flashing, vibrating notification machine on my wrist. Also, the screen was generally too small to do anything useful. The cons outweighed the pros. It’s been consigned to a drawer for the last two years. It’s a jack-of-all-trades and I want a specialist.

I just don’t get them.
You pay a lot of money for a smartphone only to pay a lot of money for something I would imagine is occasional.
And in miniature compared to the phone

Just had a friend come in to see me with his relatively new SEKONDA with tape wrapped around it, he decided to fit a new battery himself as it has a push fit case back and he has a watch press at home. Well he fitted the battery ok but obviously used the wrong size dies as he managed to break the glass and put a dent in the case back so it would not fit.

Fortunately I had the correct mineral glass in stock which I fitted and I managed to push out the small dent in the case back which then fitted perfectly.

So instead of coming in to see me and have the job done properly at mates rates it has now cost him three times as much to have it sorted, I think this comes under the heading of DIY false economy.

I agree Robert. In my case it was an unsuspecting local jewellers assistant who fiddled with my watch. Is there an association of trusted jewellers that people can refer to so they can safely leave their watches for repair without worrying about the efficacy of the repairer? Maybe Which? could help to form one or look into it.

Hi Beryl, many qualified watch repairers are members of the BHI and advertise there qualification on there premises and in any literature they have printed. There are also many non qualified people who after some basic training are very able but this is where it becomes very hit and miss.
When I first entered the retail jewellery trade I was the only person
who had experience at the bench out of the staff of five and in the second company I worked for with a staff of fifteen.

Hello Beryl, just wondered how you got on with your Rotary watch ?

So when you go to any jewellery shop that doesn’t have a watch repairer on the premises you will have staff with varying ability performing a delicate exercise with very little or no training, that is why so many companies will tell you that the watch will have to be sent away for a battery because they don’t want to pay for training or having to deal with any problems due to staff incompetence.

I got quoted £10 for a £15 Sekonda.
Does this mean the rest of the watch is worth half of that ?
Great little watch but I’m not paying 2/3 thirds of the value for a battery.

You should be able to have your battery changed for £5 to £7 but if in a town centre it will be nearer the £10 to £15 due to the ridiculous high rents and rates which the small jeweller struggles to pay.

Ronnie – With an inexpensive watch, why not try changing the battery yourself? I’m not trying to do watch repairers out of business but it really concerns me that few are prepared to have a go at DIY these days. Some of YouTube videos are very useful.

Perhaps it’s time to buy another watch! 🙂

Mine is still going fine since I fitted an inexpensive branded silver oxide battery bought on eBay. I had to make a jig to unscrew the back. I checked it for leakage after about a year, as Robert suggested.

I have broken a few things over the years, one of them being my first watch – when I was a child. I was told that suspending the movement over paraffin would help in some way that I did not understand. It fell in the paraffin, which damaged the face. 🙁 It was no consolation that watch ran perfectly afterwards.

When I was given a watch with a stainless steel bracelet I used to take out the movement and put the rest in an ultrasonic bath and apply a little silicone oil where needed.

As mentioned before, you need to find a competent watch repairer that isn’t extortionate. A tenner is a little high in my opinion, even though I suspect if you bought it for £15 it was probably in the sale and isn’t a good representation of the value. I charge from £4.99 for batteries in the majority of Sekonda watches (and I’m in a prime town centre location). I can’t be the only reasonably priced competent watch repairer :/

You could do as wavechange suggests if you’re feeling confident. Most Sekonda watches shouldn’t be that hard but many contain the same kind of movement that Robert James was talking about before and can still be done wrongly very easily. Consult YouTube for some good guides. The worst that can happen is that you’ve lost a watch that cost you £15. IMO it’s not worth it though to save a fiver to potentially ruin your own watch. Find a well thought of watch repairer near you and use them.

Had a gentleman email me regarding his twenty year-old watch, apparently he had taken it to have a new battery fitted and after a few weeks it stopped again so he returned it to were the battery was changed and they fitted another one. Again after a few weeks it stopped again so he contacted me for an opinion on whether it was worth repairing, he brought it into me today so that I could have a look, as he passed the watch to me I noticed the glass was cloudy on the inside when I removed the case back all was revealed the battery had not been fitted properly as it was half in and half out of its aperture so after refitting it correctly the watch immediately started to work. So I removed the movement and cleaned the case in the ultrasonic refitted the movement lubricated the crown seal and case back seal and refitted the case back.
I asked were the battery had been originally fitted he told me Timsons.

Ahh, Yes . . . the well-known cobblers and key-cutters. Just the place to get your delicate and sensitive watch repaired!

Ah yes, the old ‘lifetime battery’ haha

I find small( maybe family run) are the best to use in most cases because they need and want to keep your custom The workers in multinationals are only workers and to many it is just a job so do not care if you go elsewhere But some are caring and try to help if they can Vote with you feet it is said

Well I don’t know whether to laugh or feel insulted, a young lady came in today and produced a Skagen watch from its box explaining that it was a birthday present for her and she was struggling to adjust the bracelet and would I be able to help, I obviously said not a problem, she then proceeded to try to tell me how to do it even though she hadn’t got a clue what she was talking about I explained I was familiar with that type of bracelet and it wasn’t a problem she then proceeded to open the instruction booklet to show me how the clasp worked for shortening at the same time as asking if I had heard of the brand. I explained I was more than familiar with the brand as I deal with them on a regular basis but I don’t think she was really listening and during all this nonsense I had adjusted the bracelet which then fitted her perfectly. Then she had the gaul to say your not going to charge me for doing it are you. I just politely told her to leave.

Haha, if I had a pound for every customer who told me how to repair their watch I could retire. I’m not sure they understand how they sound. I’ve been told jobs are ‘easy’ plenty of times. My response on a bad day is to smile, hand the watch back to them and say, “You do it then”. It comes back to the aforementioned ignorance. Luckily most people understand this but we’re always going to get a few 🙂 Just take solace in the fact it’s not just you that experiences this.

As a young man, I took my parents’ TV into a repair shop and explained what was wrong to save their time and our money. My suggestion was dismissed as unlikely and I was told ‘not to tell my grandmother how to suck eggs’ – an expression I had not heard before. It turned out that my diagnosis was correct. The customer is often wrong but not always.

That’s not telling them how to repair it though. That’s telling them the symptoms which would be expected. Them telling you that it’s unlikely is not the same as telling you you are wrong.

I (politely) explained which parts needed to be replaced, having tested them beforehand. Had I known where I could buy spares, I would have done the repair myself. Nowadays there are more companies that will sell to the general public.

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Duncan – A few years ago, a TV repairer charged me for a new inverter board for my LCD TV. Upon checking, I found that the board had not been replaced, since I recognised a couple of suspect connections that I had re-soldered when trying, unsuccessfully, to do my own repair. When questioned, they said it was a ‘mistake’.

Fair enough. What percentage of T.V. repair customers do you think have that knowledge? Or for that matter how many times do you think I’ve been told something about a watch repair that I didn’t already know? How many times do you think the customer was correct? I’d suggest that it’s such a small number it’s statistically insignificant. Imagine how much time and money would be wasted taking the advice of people that for the most part don’t have the required knowledge.

I absolutely agree. I expect there are more self-styled experts these days thanks to information available in the internet. Maybe charge them twice the rate for time spent in worthless discussion. 🙂

Haha, maybe. I did once have a customer who insisted on me taking a specific number of links out of her Breitling watch. I told her it would be too tight for her wrist and I mischievously suggested that I would have to charge her twice if I had to do what is a pretty awkward bracelet adjustment twice due to her insistence on doing it her way. It was too tight and she sheepishly admitted it and apologised. I readjusted it for her free of charge as she was honest and sweet about it but I’ve had any number of customers over the years who have had their watch turn their hand blue through lack of blood circulation but insisted it fitted well to save admitting they were wrong. Customers eh? 🙂

Apparently (false) self-diagnosis using the internet is costing the NHS £460 million a year (from memory). However, a doctor recently sent a friend to a hospital dermatology dept to investigate what transpired to be a blood blister. Should we all be ultra-cautious?

It is useful, if you are so inclined, to try to diagnose a problem with anything – car, watch, washing machine, health – so at least you might have a more informed discussion with the real expert and be prepared for the cost or consequences of what might be entailed. But it needs to be done in a cool, considered and responsible way.

I think people always need to be cautious when eliciting any kind of professional help, due to the number of cowboys making a fast buck (I’ve been informed by a member of my staff that no less than three customers have brought in watches that have been ruined at other watch repairers/cobblers/jewellers just today alone). As malcolm r suggests, this should always be done with some tact or you risk being insulting. I always try to judge people based on their actions rather than my (normally correct) paranoia. Once I find them to be incompetent only then should I treat them as such.

That said, experts can be wrong but at the end of the day they know more than us about their field.

Re the tight bracelet: 🙂 🙂 🙂 Although I encourage most people to have a go at fixing things for themselves, I don’t include the over-confident or those who are right-handed but seem to have two left hands.

Absolutely. I have the utmost respect for anyone trying to expand their capabilities. I have basically rebuilt my home’s interior including wiring, plumbing, boiler repairs, joinery, plastering, brickwork, carpet fitting etc. and I enjoy learning new things. I’m also a proper dab hand at PC design and repair. But I also know my limits. That’s when I enlist the help of a pro.

A good way to start is to try to repair items that would otherwise be scrapped. There is nothing to be lost and it is rewarding to succeed.

Beware electrical goods. You need some knowledge. In general, though, we learn by trying and making mistakes.

Of course, but it’s not difficult to learn how to work safely. Avoiding electrical goods or working on battery-operated equipment might be a good start.

When a customer comes in with a watch that is not working they usually say they think it might be the battery as it just stopped, I always ask has it been losing time or did it show any other misbehavior when it was working and also when was the battery last changed. When a mechanical watch is brought in I will again ask questions regarding any previous problems/behavior which help towards a diagnosis before the back is even removed, this question/answer session can give a good indication of the problem allowing me to hopefully go straight to what is causing the problem or at least points me in the right direction to finding the fault.

It is only when someone who obviously doesn’t know what they are talking about and also speaks to me as if I’m a numskull that I get a little upset, I think I have only once been pushed into asking a customer “who is supposed to be sorting this”

Maybe it’s time to head to the workshop and leave the customer reading a magazine. I’m surprised that watches are not designed to allow the battery voltage to be checked without opening the case.

To an extent this can actually be checked with a little device we have. It only acts as a guide though, as does an actual voltage test of the battery. Generally the best way of knowing if a watch works properly is by fitting a battery and seeing if it works. Notwithstanding other possibilities (loose hands etc), if it doesn’t work it’s probably in need of a service/new movement.

Also, regularly checking a cell’s voltage would drain it quicker. With my OCD-like tendencies I’d need a new battery every 3 months 🙂

What I had in mind was a way that anyone could check the voltage. I’ve just remembered that the second hand of my watch moves at two second intervals when it needs a new battery, which is helpful.

Yes, ‘the low battery indicator’ is a function of a better quartz movement. It’s worth noting that your battery should be changed as soon as is practical once this happens. This usually means the cell has run out and will start to leak. I successfully managed to save an Omega a couple of days ago where the customer had waited until the second hand had stopped ticking completely before bringing it in. The leaked acid burned through most of the contact causing it to partly snap and made a horrific mess. I wouldn’t be surprised if that comes back in for a service very soon.

I agree that it’s important to remove discharged batteries promptly, whatever they are used in. I have just found a corded phone that I forgot to remove the batteries from and it is wrecked.

I assume that watch batteries are generally silver oxide, in which case the electrolyte will be potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide – strongly alkaline rather than acidic.

Yes, that’s entirely correct. Watch batteries are usually silver oxide however most digital watches as well as some analogue take a 3V lithium battery. Some watches use both types or more than one of each.

I’m intrigued about watches having both silver oxide and lithium cells. I would be grateful if you could explain the reason.

You get them in 2 part movements, usually dual display (analogue and digital), but also in watches that play tunes or have built in ‘light shows’. Just half an hour ago I had an Accurist watch in with both in.

Thanks for that. Hopefully owners will know to turn there watch onto silent when in a meeting.

Haha, yes. Those types are usually started with a button that isn’t connected to the timekeeping section so it shouldn’t happen unless the button is caught accidentally. Having said that, who wouldn’t enjoy a short blast of the Star Wars theme tune or random bird sounds during a meeting? 🙂

At the start of AOB would be a good time. I get fed up with people wanting to extend meetings because they could not be bothered to ask for items to be put on the agenda. I shall be watching and listening. 🙂

Well it must be something to do with the position of the moon, had a gentleman come in asking if I was able to supply and fit a new battery into his TAG Heuer chronograph and perform a pressure test, I said yes not a problem and gave him the price for the job and told him it would be ready in approximately forty five minutes. He then asked if I had done many battery changes and was I familiar with TAG and I won’t scratch the case will I as he stood next to the large plastic boxes containing three hundred brand new never worn watches I had just completed changing batteries in for one of my trade clients. I wasn’t quite sure what to say other than yes I’ve had a bit of practice and no I won’t scratch the case of his watch.

It is good to hear stories from the other side of the counter. Shopkeepers have to be excellent diplomats and abide by the law that says the customer is always right even when they’re wrong.

Never worked in a retail situation but when we sometimes help friends out with their little cliff-top cafe we do seem to encounter some very odd people. Most are very nice but when the outside temperatures rise some become rather irascible.

When standing in the queue at customer service desks I have often felt very sorry for those who have to put up with aggressive and often ill-informed members of the public.

Hi John, I must admit I do like a bit of banter with customers while they watch me open and hopefully fix there timepiece and generally they enjoy a little humour but on rare occasions someone will come in all tense and serious possibly having a bad experience elsewhere, oh well that’s life.