How Much did you say ??????

DarkTari's picture

Okay, been a while since I've visited.  My daily driver conked out last week (Accutron Breckenridge) so I took it to Jareds Jewlers.  They told me $75.00 to replace !!!! WTF ???  Was "informed" that since it is a waterproof watch, the seal would need to be broken, resealed and tested..... and they would have to send to out !!  I said I still don't see $75.00 in that explaination ...  What do you guys think ?  Now I replace my and friends batteries all the time.  I will just need to get a smaller driver.

Posted November 27, 2013 - 11:54pm

I am sure your Jeweler is playing it safe, and there is probably $20.00 shot right there in postage/handling. In-house service is a thing of the past with most "Big Box" stores.

If you are comfortable in changing a battery yourself, you can probably have it running again for less than a $20.00 bill with a new case back gasket. If you are always playing in or near water, then maybe having the peace of mind that it is indeed waterproof might have merit.

Some of these newer high end battery powered watches get to be a bit more tricky to work on verses the cheap quartz movements or the early Accutron watches, they will sometimes hide the battery under a plate where you need to remove a series of screws, and need to use a plastic tweezers when removing/installing so you don't short anything out,  so if you feel comfortable doing it, why should have everything you need.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted November 30, 2013 - 12:17pm

Panel Member

That seems a bit steep for a battery change, but I know where they're coming from. If they have to send it out, it always gets marked up big time.

Be glad it isn't a Hublot Big Bang, I heard a quote of $450 for a battery, and a shipping trip across the USA. Most places, particularly dealers, will now change the gaskets and do the pressure test as a matter of course for the watch, especially if it has any kind of rating. They don't want to be on the hook if your watch leaks. The more skookum the watch, the higher this charge is. I should add the following, however, for wearers of vintage watches:

A Vintage Accutron, regardless of whether it has a new gasket, is far from waterproof. I tell my customers, just for the sake of preservation of their vintage treasures, stay away from water, steam, etc. Waterproof is a term that can no longer be used, water resistance is indicated by a pressure or depth rating. These ratings are static, and moving through water automatically cranks up the likelihood of leakage, and that means for swimming, you need screw down crown and a minimum 50m rating, or 5ATM. 

If there is NO rating, but merely the words 'water resistant', that means accidental wetting, no submersion. This is a modern standard, and does not necessarily pertain to vintage watches. When in doubt, keep your watch dry.

Finally, a word about changing batteries yourself:

NEVER touch the battery with your bare fingers. NEVER touch the movement with your bare fingers. As mentioned, use platic or Delrin tweezers to handle the battery, and wear fingertip protection in the form of finger cots. If you are somewhere getting your battery changed and they are NOT using cots or are touching the battery with bare fingers, they are doing it wrong, and your battery may leak, or at the very least, have a considerably shortened life. This is a pet peeve of mine, I get watches daily with greasy fingerprints etched permanently into the plates, and filthy batteries, many of which have leaked. To this the customer invariably tells me the battery 'didn't seem to last very long.' Quartz movts are very fragile, and the smallest bit of dirt will stop them, and even low magnetic fields will kill them. Finger oils and sweat will corrode their thin plates, and the body's inductance will impair the function of a battery, along with corrosion on the surface. You can get some silicone gasket conditioner and rejuvenate your existing gasket, vastly improving its water resistance.

Happy battery flipping, always remember to wear protection. 





ArchieGoodwin's picture
Posted November 30, 2013 - 1:25pm

"...always remember to wear protection." 


Nice one.  That brought a giggle.

Thanks for some battery handling/changing tips Rev Rob.  As a watch collector newbie, I've been learning some small things here and there, and am always in need of experienced information.  Your tips above brought to light some practices I need to be aware of. 

I've purchased, and continue to purchase varied tools for working on my watches.  I originally bought one of those inexpensive Chinese made battery changing tool kits, which work but changing a few of the tools out for quality made items is better for the long run.  I have a nice midrange set of watchmaker screwdrivers, several caseback removal tools (including finally bagging two Accutron "L" wrenches), tweezers, battery tester, bracelet sizing tools, and a decent array of different batteries which I purchase online.  At this time I'm only doing battery installation, bracelet sizing, and in one instance pressing/glueing on some stray hour markers on a dial.  Performing your own battery changes will save you quite a bit, and is well worth the trouble.  Most batteries can be purchased online for $5.00 - $10.00 for a 5 battery strip, delivered. 

Most changes can be done in minutes.  I change batteries for friends, and the last time I had 8 different, large modern quartz watches.  Brands like Calvin Kline, Fossil, and the like.  They were all large watches, in the neighborhood of 45mm plus, but most if not all had teeny little quartz movements held in the center of their large cases by a plastic "guard" of sorts.  Toughest change I've had to date was a friends older analog G'shock, which had a very stubborn battery strap, and was a pain to set.

Get in there DarkTari!  You'll enjoy performing the changes yourself.