Common Watch Problems and How to Fix Them

You’ve got a problem with your watch. You’re handy. You’re pretty sure you can fix it yourself… but have you asked yourself “how do I fix my watch?”

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Watch problems and issues might be more common than you think. Here are some common issues and tips on how to fix a watch.

Before you begin, it’s important to understand that fixes done by anyone other than a watch-repair professional can affect the worth of your watch. The resale value of a luxury watch is highest when you have service records and its best that those services are performed by the manufacturer. But if that’s not a concern – roll up your sleeves and try to learn how to repair a watch!

How to Open a Case

It all starts with opening up your watch. A few exceptions aside, there are four kinds of watch cases you will encounter when you’re learning how to fix a wrist watch.

1. Snap-Back: To open a snap-back case use a penknife or similar thin, flat blade to pry open the case at the raised lip with a twist of the blade.

2. Screw-Back: You’ll want to pick up a screw-back removal tool for this type. The tool looks like a pair or pincers. It slips into slots at the edges of the case. Twist counterclockwise to open, finishing with your fingers after the tool has loosened the cover.

3. Case with Screws – These cases typically have four Phillips head screws, which can be removed by a small screwdriver.

4. Swatch-Style case: You can twist the ports open with a coin. You don’t actually remove the cover of the sealed case but do get access to the battery.

watch case

My Watch Has Stopped Ticking

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Wondering how to fix a watch that stopped ticking? Your automatic watch has stopped working? Hint, it’s probably the battery. This may sound like a simple watch fix, but it’s something you might overlook. Make sure you check the battery. Many watch batteries have lives of about two years. That number can go up to three years or more with a quartz watch that’s designed to run longer. But chances are if your watch has stopped, you need to replace the battery.

The case removed, you can see what’s holding the battery in place. It is possible to access the battery with either a spring clip and loose installation. Many batteries are held in place with a screw and cover that will require a small screwdriver. It’s best to use non-conductive watch tools to avoid damaging your watch with an electric shock. The same is true for the tweezers you’ll want to use for removing the battery. Plastic is best to avoid shock. Check the position of the writing at the back before removing the battery. You want to set the replacement battery in the same manner.

Rado True Automatic

The information on your old battery will tell you what replacement you’ll need. Even the most common watch batteries will eventually go out. A new watch battery can be purchased at an electronics store or drugstore, as well as online. Use the same plastic tools to set the new battery in place and your watch should spring back to life. The connection might be damaged or upside down. In the latter case, you may have to take it to a watch-repair shop. If it’s an extra pricey watch, you might want to get some help from the professionals too.

The Second Hand is Skipping

Did your automatic watch movement stop working? Is it skipping? This indicates that your battery is at the end of its useful life. It’s also a warning to address the issue as soon as possible. An ailing battery could leak acid into your watch and do damage.

If the second hand is locked in a back-and-forth movement in one spot, there’s likely an issue with the movement that’s beyond a simple home repair.

watch dial

My Watch is Running Fast (or Slow)

Do nothing. This isn’t necessarily a watch problem. It’s common for watches to gain or lose a little time every day. While the changes are tiny and incremental, over time it can make it seem like you have a big problem. It is unlikely that you are losing more time than a few seconds every day.

The Buttons Won’t Bounce

If buttons on your watch don’t pop out after they’re pushed in, the most likely culprit is dust. Even though your watch case is sealed, dirt can accumulate over time and get lodged in the springs that make the buttons pop out. Professionals use ultrasonic cleaners to safely remove the dirt. But you can use plastic tweezers and a tiny piece of absorbent material to remove the dirt. If you can’t easily access the tube that contains the spring, take it to a professional. You should not touch the spring with your fingernails as oils could be introduced to the tube.

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Timex watch

Smartwatch Solutions

I’m Always Recharging

Much like your mobile phone and tablet, if your watch isn’t holding a charge for long you should look at what’s draining the battery. Remove apps you don’t need. Turn off features you aren’t using and dim your screen’s brightness.

Voice Command Problems: If your smartwatch is having trouble recognizing voice commands, it could be background noise. Make sure your voice isn’t competing with other sounds. Some trial and error with tone and pacing will also be needed to make your voice commands instantly recognizable.

Apple watch

I’ve Got a Sticky Apple

The crown on the Apple Watch is notorious for sticking and ceasing to register each click. Turn off the watch and pour warm water on the whirligig for about 15 seconds.

Bluetooth Won’t Connect

Simple as it sounds, turn your Bluetooth off and on again to reconnect.

But perhaps the best advice when attempting to repair your own watch is caution. Home maintenance can save you a few pennies, but could result in serious damage that could lead to hefty fines.

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