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Watch battery replacement


#1

Hi All,

I am the new owner of about 20 small inexpensive watches that I
would like to connect to beaded bands - which I want to make and then
sell. Unfortunately, these watches all need to have their batteries
replaced. The local place charges $9 for each replacement. Is it
difficult to replace batteries in watches and what is a good source
to find them? I am a relative novice but do have quite a few tools.
How do I find out how to do this? Is it difficult to learn?

Many thanks,
Vanessa Weber
Jewels at Kenjockety
Westbrook, CT


#2

Vanessa -

Not a bad price for watch battery replacement; I charge $10 each,
though I give a volume discount. See if the local place can do
better, considering how many you have. If you have a reseller’s
license (tax receipt) they may do it for wholesale price.

The real cost of battery replacement is having to stock all the
batteries that could possibly be in the watch, and the liability
involved in opening the back, replacing the battery and closing the
watch without damage. Very easy on some watches, dang difficult on
others. And you don’t know until get in there. I’ve seen some
watches that had the stem almost cut off because the back was put on
the wrong way. Put your fingers on the coil and you might kill the
watch.

(Without seeing your watches) it might be that all you need is a
dull knife to lift the back of the case off, see what kind of battery
is needed, pray that they are all alike, and buy 20 of that kind of
battery.

If any of them need the back plate to unscrew, you will need a
special tool to get it off (pricey). I stock something like 200
batteries (close to 40 different types), $$. Some may require a watch
press ($20-$80, quality varies) to put the back plate back on.

Personally, if I were not in the jewelry repair business, I would go
to someone and negotiate a better price. It’s not worth it for an
individual to have all those tools and batteries around for a
one-time job.

best regards,
Kelley Dragon


#3

Vanessa,

I am the new owner of about 20 small inexpensive watches that I
would like to connect to beaded bands - which I want to make and
then sell. Unfortunately, these watches all need to have their
batteries replaced. 

It is not hard to do. I learned how on the job when some clue less
sales person started handing me watches. I used to mainly use a
pocket knife and a piece of leather (hand protection) to pop the
cases. A little screw driver or two is sometimes needed. (can even
be made from old scalpel blades) Stay away from the coil unless you
want a very small paper weight. The big problem is that while cheap
watches tend to use a very limited selection of batteries ya have to
buy them by at least the 1/2 dozen for a good price. Normal
suppliers although I can’t recommend any. There are watch people here
who have forgotten more than I ever learned.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#4

Vanessa- Stuller in La. offers many sizes really cheap. There are
vendors on Ebay as well. Never ever pay retail -look for someone
cheaper-always. There will be somebody selling for less.


#5

Inexpensive watches? Go to Walmart. Buy the battery, installation is
free. I wouldn’t trust them with a thousand dollar watch, but in my
experience, they’re pretty good with common low-end watches.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#6

in my experience, Walmart will only change batteries in watches that
they carry (and they sold it to you). That way, if they mess it up,
they can replace the cheap watch with a matching cheap watch.

All watches are easy, until you get to the one that isn’t. Then you
either do it right, or you pay for it. Since I’m in the business of
repair, I’ve got to do it right.

Kelley Dragon


#7

It’s not hard to open the back of a watch. The first time, take one
of the watches to a place that sells batteries and ask them to show
you how to open the back and read the size of the battery.

You can find watch batteries for far lower than $9 each online. Once
you know the size, do a google shopping search for that size
battery. The first seller on google shopping under "watch batteries"
sells 10 batteries for $2.71.

I made a nice beaded band for my own Timex Indiglo (I need to read my
watch in the dark) out of blue-green triangular glass beads, sterling
wire wrapping and a sterling clasp. I love it.

Mara Nesbitt-Aldrich


#8
in my experience, Walmart will only change batteries in watches
that they carry (and they sold it to you). That way, if they mess
it up, they can replace the cheap watch with a matching cheap
watch. 

In my experience, they’ll change any battery they have in stock, on
any watch, as long as they have the tools to do it.

They’ve certainly never asked me to bring the receipt for a
three-year-old watch.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#9
All watches are easy, until you get to the one that isn't. Then
you either do it right, or you pay for it. Since I'm in the
business of repair, I've got to do it right. 

How true! I do an average of 25-35 batteries a day, 5 days a week,
for the last 24 years, and 99% of them are so stinking easy that I
think I could practically do ‘em blindfolded. Somewhere in between
all these I manage to size at least a few rings, and retip a bunch of
prongs, so I’ve gotta be fast. And just when I think I am the master
of the watch battery universe, I’ll get a big surprise. In my area,
I’m the ‘go to’ guy for watches and have people walk in my door on a
constant basis that say ’ Walmart, Target, mall jeweler, etc… sent
me here. I need a watch battery’. I also have at least 1(often many
more) a day that says ’ I need a watch for my battery’ and they never
realize what they actually said. We just say ‘Okay’. So, I end up
with loads of less than the easiest timepieces daily. After 24 yrs, I
have pretty well ‘seen it all’, and still get stumped. I see
everyone’s mistakes and am often put in rather sticky situations
after a place has actually damaged someone’s watch. I get to tell the
c/s what is wrong without causing them to go screaming at the
damager, who will,in turn, no longer send people to me. Ticklish
dance! Did anywhere from $10 cheapies and a bag of collectable
Mickeys, and onto a stainless steel Chopard today, but don’t ever let
them see you sweat.


#10

Whether or not they will do this must vary from store to store. It’s
good that there are some who provide service.

Where I used to work, we would get several customers a week who
needed a new battery and the local Walmart wouldn’t do it.

best regards,
Kelley


#11
take one of the watches to a place that sells batteries and ask
them to show you how to open the back and read the size of the
battery. 

And how much are you willing to pay for taking the merchants profit
from his cash register? I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s
what I am in business for- not teaching people to beat me out of a
sale. I CORRECTLY SELL and INSTALL batteries, not teach how to do it
yourself. Anyone who will teach you for free probably doesn’t know
the right way. Just another hack that was selling underwear, gas, or
luggage last week, and this week they are a watch and jewelry
professional.


#12

Hi Vanessa,

Replacing watch batteries as others have said is pretty easy, 90% of
the time. Taking the back off is usually pretty easy, unless it is
screw-on style, requiring a special wrench and vise. Getting it back
on is where the trick usually is, and is where the damage is usually
done. If it’s hard to get off, it’ll be harder to get back on.
Pressing the back with the watch on a flat surface is usually OK as
long as the crystal is flat and the table or bench surface is flat,
if it’s not flat, you will break the crystal. Press on the edges of
the back- not in the middle or it may bow out and make it that much
harder to snap in. Use of a back press is highly recommended for all
press-fit watch backs when possible. The money you will save doing
20 watch batteries yourself may allow you to buy a press, so that
might be an option. You can get individual batteries at Radio Shack
or Wal-Mart, or order them from any of the regular jewelry supply
houses, but you may have to buy multiples from a wholesale source.
For the savings of 20 batteries installed by a shop you might be
able to get an entire watch battery kit and be able to change them
for others at a profit. Most jewelry supply houses carry the kits.

The reason they cost 9 or 10 dollars is because of the tools
required, and to insure against the infrequent broken watch. There is
good money in changing watch batteries - until you break one (watch
out for Casio, Fossil and Gucci watches! Nothing but trouble, those
three. Some watches have a reset circuit you have to short out with a
pin or something too, an instruction note will be on the inside of
the back). Like Kelley, I offer a bulk discount, and would recommend
you find someone in your area that does as well, if you don’t want to
get a press and learn how to do it and don’t really care if you mess
one or more up. It’s best to learn on your own watches, sounds like
you have the perfect opportunity.

If you are planning on selling the watches with the new bracelets
you are making, adding in "The next battery for free with purchase"
or “Lifetime Battery” or something like that might be a great
marketing tool, and would only cost you pennies.

Once you get the batteries changed, pull the stems out while the
watches are not in use. That shuts the watch off and preserves the
battery.

Dave Phelps


#13

Oh, my. I hope nobody finds out I cut my own stones, and I learned
for free!

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#14

Where I used to work sometimes I needed to replace a battery which
wasn’t in stock. (ordering batteries was not in my job description,
they had a real moron do that)

A little note for the customer with the number and they walked 200
meters to Radio Shack for a $5.00 battery which I popped in for
free. Versus the normal $8 store price. Management hated me but
seeing a customer leave with a smile was always nice. They also
tended to come back for more than just another battery.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand