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How Long Should My Watch Battery Last?

The above question is a tricky one—and is not uncommon for us to hear at TimesTicking. It’s also not uncommon for the first battery in a watch to last longer than its replacements. So ahead, we’re going to break down this topic to help clear the air. Quartz or battery-operated watches all have their own unique branding and story—but there are some good rules-of-thumb to look out for when considering (or owning) a battery-powered movement.

The First Battery Lasts the Longest

The first battery in a quartz wristwatch will typically last around 4-5 years. There will always be exceptions to this generalized statement—certain digital watches come to mind (Casio, for example)—so any statement of longevity should be taken with a grain of salt. Speaking on further consideration, every battery following the one installed by the manufacturer will expire more quickly; It is not a battery issue. In fact, it’s normal for any watch movement to experience degradation over time. As the movement wears down, it requires more energy to retain the same function. So, instead of 4-5 years (or more), all following batteries will typically last around 1-2 years. This is of course dependent on the age of the watch, and the general health of the movement inside.

Resealing The Watch

Quartz mechanisms, like any mechanism, degrade with time (as we’ve established). It’s important to reseal a wristwatch to protect the movement from an early death. All quartz movements will eventually find their end date—but that can be postponed quite a bit with regular maintenance. It’s important to protect the movement from all forms of dust and moisture. Whether the timepiece is dive certified or an inexpensive fashion watch, its seals will help protect the movement. This ultimately helps with battery efficiency in the watch—keeping things ticking for much longer.

Other Forms of “Quartz” Watch

Kinetic and Solar watches have their own special lifespans. Energy cells in these watches can last decades, but must remain charged. Though these battery-like cells last much longer, maintaining a charge is paramount to a longer lasting movement. With Kinetic watches they must be worn or wound frequently to retain a charge. With Solar, it’s important to leave them near a natural light source—they charge via the dial. While these solar cells and/or capacitors last far longer than a typical quartz-watch battery, a careful attention to their needs will also keep them ticking longer. Some manufacturers have covered these special energy sources in the past—but they are often not under warranty. As an owner, one must pay close attention to the winding or sunlight the watch receives. Solar and Kinetic watches require some intervention to remain running.

Final Thoughts

Watch battery life can vary between individual timepieces. Similarly, individual people have unique needs that don’t always match up to the general public. If yourself or anyone you know is experiencing frequent battery changes (in their watch, of course), it may be time to consider the age of the movement—it could need replacing. This can be easily checked by a watchmaker equipped with a battery testing device. If a watch battery is fully charged, it could mean that favorite timepiece needs more TLC to keep ticking. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important to remember that new batteries don’t last as long as the original. Hopefully today’s post has been informative and helpful.

Times Ticking has been in operation for more than 30 years, since 1982. We have performed watch repair for customers both locally and internationally. If it Ticks! We KNOW it! Our team of watch repair technicians have a combined experience in watchmaking of over 120 years.

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