Basic Watch Repair ~ How To Replace Your Own Watch Batteries & Save Money!!
Hmmm... on second thought....I guess this Guide should actually be titled: How Not to Open Watches to Change Batteries......& Save Money :)
Okay, So let me start off by saying that I am not a watch repair expert. If you have a beloved expensive or inexpensive watch then, by all means please take it to an expert jeweler that you trust to fix. But ~ if you would like to save some money and if your like me, a die hard do it yourself'r who is always trying to find ways to economize then read on my friend :)
I'm just a regular lady who likes to collect and wear watches. That is why, along with my husband and children, I realized that I have accumulated way too many nice watches that need batteries. And after going the retail route to replace 2 or 3 of them, I realized this could get kinda pricey. So, I thought it would be worth my while to buy the batteries in bulk and replace them myself.
After consulting the internet on the different types of watch openings** I sorted my big box of watches by how they open.
pop off backs
could not for the life of me figure them out
Prior to my great "buy watch batteries in bulk and replace them myself" idea, I had never opened a watch in my life. I figured it can't be that hard. I got my trusty coke bottle spectacles, a dull pin knife, and tilted the lamp shade, so I could see what was back there. I picked up one of my favorite watches ~ a nice clean gold watch ~ that I thought was a pop off opener and proceeded to change the lovely back into a scratched up mess. Turns out this one needed to be screwed off~!!
Now, I was feeling like such a dork. What was I thinking~~!! What's that old adage--using the right tool for the job -- or some such?
Anyway...I go back to the internet trying to figure out how to unscrew this scratched up mess of a watch, that I used to love. The back had no notches. I went to the mfg website there were no instructions there. So I googled some more and found this little gem "lay watch in palm of hand face down, apply consistent pressure to the back, and turn in a counter clockwise motion" Okee dokee, like a pickle jar, Right?.... Nooo, I could not run it under hot water..and then get one of my strong tall sons open it! I simply could not for the life of me get it open. Now my beautiful watch is so scratched and battered and it is looking ready for the scrap heap.
I dig in my heels, I am on a mission. I am determined to get this... Grrrr ~&.??darn&!watch isn't going to beat&*(!~..... OPENED...MYSELF!! I finally did what you should do right now, before you start messing with any watches, learn from my stupid mistakes, start searching and buying "the right tools" for the job! Duh ~ LOL!!
While searching here on eBay ~ I come across a squishy yellow ball watch opener that claims it won't scratch up your watch. It looked to cost between 8.00 and 15.00 bucks with shipping.
Being a consistent dork, I run to the playroom, dig to the bottom of the ball bin and come up with 5 different size rubber balls in various degrees of inflation. After about an hour of a very serious hand wrenching, a strong arm and upper body work out, grunting, growling & cussing under my breath, I was completely defeated. Needless to say my screw back watch was still shut tight.
I went to the computer and ordered a 25.00 watch repair kit (shipping included) with all the bells and whistles, the most valuable tools in the kit, in my opinion, are the notch wrench, watch vice (holder) and a pop off watch opening tool. By the way, that pop open watch tool works waaaaaaaay better than my dull pin knife!
I also ordered a 12.00 squishy yellow ball watch opener, (Honestly, I felt like a bigger dork ordering this thing, A twelve dollar ball??~~!!, but at this point I am so dang mad....and defeated.... what's one more dorky mistake?).
The kit arrives and I am able to open my Seikos, Bulovas and Casios with ease. But the screwback watches with no knotches are not budging, and I am not about to scratch up my other good watches. I put on my big girl patience panties and wait for that stupid 12.00 yellow ball thingy.
The ball watch opener finally arrives. I open the box and it is very, very squishy ~ kinda sticky soft, nothing in the playroom matched it at all. I read the illustrated instructions 5 times just to make sure I understand what to do. I placed my nearly destroyed gold watch in my hand I put the ball in the other hand and turned............................... I did not feel it working.........but when I lifted that silly ball off of my watch, the back was off and kinda stuck to the ball. It was Amazing!!! I proceeded to open 11 other watches with this tool, not a scratch on any of them. Two of the watches that I thought were screw off's, were actually opened from the front crystal. Live and learn.
You can really save some money buying your watch batteries in bulk. Right here on eBay I found great deals in wholesale watch battery catagory! I learned many watch batteries have a variety of names, but are in fact the same watch battery. Who knew? For example, I had 3 watches that held batteries that said they were the 377 model. I had 6 watches that had model SR626SW batteries, and I had 1 watch that needed a AG64 model battery. Guess what ~ Yep, they are all the same battery. I bought all ten for 5.00 bucks including shipping, now that's real savings~!! Considering your local drug store or super store is charging between 5.00 and 8.00 for a single battery of that type. No joke, check it out yourself!!
Here is the finally cost analysis on my watch repair mission. In all I replaced batteries on 35 watches. 4 were not working even after the battery was replaced. So 31 watches were repaired in all.
37.00 dollars for kit and ball opener, 15.00 for all batteries (that cost included shipping too!) So for about a 1.70 per watch, I'm tickin' like a champ. This cost will only go down with time, because I factored in the cost of the tools, even so, in my book this is a great deal!!
I do not sell watch batteries, or watch tool kits, I have no hidden agenda, I just had a really hard time finding a novice or expert for that matter, with hands on information. I hope someone can benefit from my "guide", it's all true, and don't be a dork like me, get the right tools for the job, even if is 12.00 dollars for a goofy soft rubber ball, by gosh, it's worth every penny.
**I'm not suppose to put outside links here but I found "How to open a watch case By Kevin James" very informative, google it!
Keywords: Pocket Watch Wrist Watch Repair Back Case Remover Opener Repair Tools Watch Wrench Screwback Case Opener Ball