When changing a watch battery, the actual act is fairly simple, but there are many things you need to be aware of beforehand to keep from damaging the watch movement. First you need to be aware that only watches that have “Quartz” marked on them somewhere are battery powered. If your watch has a mechanical movement, there will be no battery to replace.
Then you need to determine what kind of watch battery replacement you are dealing with. You will almost always have to open you watch case back to be able to tell what kind of battery you have. Learn How to Open a Watch Back here.
You may encounter several different types of watch batteries during a repair and Esslinger’s Watch Battery Cross Reference Chart will help you distinguish between them and replace your watch battery successfully.
Silver Oxide Batteries
The most common type of watch battery that you will encounter. Most watches contain some type of silver oxide battery, and you can tell what it is by size. Silver oxide batteries are generally about the size of a M&M candy or smaller. You may encounter them in a watch case in one of two forms:
The first form is just held in place with a spring loaded arm. In this setting, the top of the battery will be almost completely visible, with only a small portion of one edge hidden by the arm. To learn How to Replace a Watch Battery without a Cell Strap, check out this article.
The second form you will find in a watch case back is silver oxide batteries held in place with cell straps. A cell strap is a delicate metal attachment in a movement that sits across the top of a watch battery and is held in place on either side of the battery well with small screws. Check out this article to learn How to Replace a Watch Battery with a Cell Strap.
Growing in popularity, particularly in big sport and digital watches with multiple features. You can recognize lithium batteries by their large size: they are generally nickel sized or larger and very thin. They are almost always held in place with a large latch strap to keep them connected to the battery plate. Check out this article to learn How to Replace a Lithium Watch Battery.
Watches that generally have special extra features or have less common features like talking or musical functions come in two different configurations as well.
In the easiest to recognize form, watches with two batteries have both batteries placed side by side in the watch case. They are held in the movement and held in place with a large latch strap, sometimes with a sticker with special instructions on it. Check out our article How to Replace Two Side-by-Side Watch Batteries to learn more.
The other form is a little trickier. In this form, one battery is stacked on top of the other battery and generally separated from each other by a plate or a part of the movement. Sometimes, you have to replace the first battery and try to start the watch up again before you realize that there are two batteries in the watch. Find out the trick to recognizing watches that have two stacked watch batteries when you learn How to Replace Two Separated but Stacked Watch Batteries.
Rechargeable Watch Batteries
Also growing in popularity in the watch community, and luckily for you because they are rechargeable they very rarely need to be replaced. However, eventually these batteries too will begin to wear down and need to be replaced. Rechargeable watch cells come in many variations and can be hard to replace.
The first article you should check when changing rechargeable watch batteries is this general article on a somewhat common method to holding these cells in place: How to Replace a CTL Rechargeable Watch Battery. This method is very similar to the lithium watch battery removing and replacement article, however you will encounter many watches that don’t match this straightforward configuration.
For more complicated rechargeable watch battery layouts, you can use this article for a reference. This article is designed to help you change a watch battery in a particular Casio G-Shock watch. Your watch may not have all the springs and plates that this one does, but you can use this article to help you change rechargeable batteries in other complicated watch movements. Learn How to Replace a CTL1616 Rechargeable Watch Cell in a Casio G-Shock, check out this article.
These are only a few of the ways to change watch batteries, use your best judgment when working on your watch – if it doesn’t look like any of these watch styles and you are unsure how to proceed, take your watch to a professional.