Replacing a Watch Battery

Category Watches
When your watch stops working, the first possibility is that the battery is dead. Although it is sometimes difficult to remove the back, you can replace the battery yourself. This is a page about replacing a watch battery.


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I always took my watches to the jeweler to have them replace the battery, at a cost of $8-$15. I saw watch batteries for the first time at Dollar Tree, and decided that I would try to replace them myself. Dollar Tree sold them 4 to a pack, which ends up being 25 cents to fix a watch.

Total Time: 5-10 minutes


  • watch
  • batteries
  • small screwdriver
  • toothpick


  1. Place your watch down on a towel, to protect the face.
  2. The hardest part is taking the back off. There is a notch someplace on the back. Stick a very small flat head screwdriver in and pry off the back.
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  4. Some watches have a plastic piece covering the battery. If yours does, remove it.
  5. Use a non-metal tool to pop the battery out. I used a toothpick. Look at the number of the battery imprinted on the top. That is the replacement battery to buy.
  6. Put the new battery in. Check to see that the watch works.
  7. Replace the plastic piece that covers the battery, if you had one.
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  9. Replace the back. You may have to press hard to push it back in.
  10. Make a note of which type of battery your watch uses, to make it easier next time.
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My watch battery suddenly went out on the weekend, so I looked for cheap watches and they were almost $10 and hideous. So I went to the 99 Cent Store and got myself a Betty Boop watch (They had Lucy ones, too, really cute.)

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 11, 2010

How do you change the battery of a Timex watch that takes a CR1216 battery?

By dg from MN


November 11, 20100 found this helpful

I take my watches where ever I am going to buy the battery and they install the battery for me. I usually do this at WalMart.

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November 11, 20100 found this helpful

Radio Shack will also install a new battery in your watch. It was closer than a drive to WalMart for me and I figured I saved it on gas in my car to have them do it and buy the battery there.

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November 11, 20100 found this helpful

FYI - Walmart will only change batteries in watches they sell. If you did not buy your watch at Walmart they will not assist you in changing your battery.


Another bit of info, when I lived in Maryland I found a jewelry store that would sell me a lifetime warranty watch battery. They installed it as well. It cost a little more, but every time I needed a battery I went back to them and got a new one installed no questions asked. That lasted 8 years and about 5 batteries until I moved away. I still have that watch and if I went back they would probably replace it again. God I loved that.

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November 12, 20100 found this helpful

Any jeweler shop will do it. I don't think I would trust an inexperienced Radio Shack employee to change a watch battery.

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November 12, 20100 found this helpful

I have to agree with those that go to a jewelry shop (my best experiences are with locally owned businesses) for watch battery replacement. Even if they don't have exactly what you need on hand, the good ones will find a replacement battery for you within days and will probably clean and shine the watch as well.

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March 17, 20110 found this helpful

Need watch batteries. I say Dollar Tree all the way. They have several different sizes all for just $1.00.

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February 11, 2011

I am looking for a replacement batterer for a Fossil wrist watch FS 2689 (250001). If the back is opened, do I need to replace the waterproof gasket?


By Andrew


February 11, 20110 found this helpful

I took mine to a watchman/jeweler. They only charge a few dollars for installation + battery.

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February 13, 20110 found this helpful

You can find directions on the internet for changing Fossil watch batteries, but I think you'd be better off having it done. I know, jewelers charge a lot. Maybe you can find an experienced repair person who charges less. Maybe a Batteries Plus store would know someone.

You do have to put that little rubber gasket back in, and if it's broken, you need to get a new one. Otherwise, your watch will no longer be water-resistant (no such thing as waterproof).

Some watches have notches on the back which are just for decoration, and those watch backs can be popped off with a thin knife blade, but I think Fossil backs have to be unscrewed.

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February 15, 20110 found this helpful

We take our Fossil watches to the Dakota Watch kiosk at the mall. They have to use a special tool to get the back off.

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February 17, 20110 found this helpful

Both of my daughters have Fossil watches and when contacting the company they were told that the warranty on the watch (usually lifetime) would be voided if the battery was not replaced by an authorized Fossil dealer. Yes, it's a tad pricey, but to keep the lifetime warranty I believe it's worth it!

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September 6, 2013

What size screwdriver is needed and what size battery is needed? The watch is a ladies small watch.

By Les C.

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May 13, 2007

I change the battery myself on my watches (I have a large collection). The only problem I have is the musical watches. I can change the battery for the music portion of the watch but I still can't get any music to play. The watch portion (time keeping) will be fine. The music portion is a piece that you have to remove completely if you want to change the battery for the time keeping portion of the watch.


It looks like I put that piece in the same way as it was originally but I don't know if I have to "do" something special to get the music portion of the watch to work once its been removed and put back. Can anyone help me with this?

Mary from Bakersfield, CA

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September 15, 2009

What is the simplest way to get the back off a wrist watch to replace a battery?

Beatrice from Swift Current, CA


Replacing A Watch Battery

Take the watch to the Wal-Mart jewelry section and ask them if they could tell you what size of battery to purchase. They will open the back and replace the battery for you for probably around $2 or $3 dollars. If you do not want to do that then just use a sharp blade and pop it open. (07/06/2007)

By natasha

Replacing A Watch Battery

Walmart no longer replaces batteries in watches that were not purchased there, so if it's a brand they don't carry, they won't do it. They may show you how to take the back off. Slip a tiny flat tip screw driver, ones that come with eye glass repair kits are ideal, or any other thin strong blade under the slight raised area on most watch backs. A few more expensive and older watches have screw off backs. If there are three notches evenly spaced around the back itself, it will take a special tool to remove the back.

You may be able to remove a screw off type with needle nose pliers placed in two of the three notches and twist...righty tighty, lefty loosey. Then you of course buy another battery with same number as the old. Pop the old one out and replace with the new. Hardest part may be putting the back on again. Be sure to line up the stem notch with the stem again before pressing the back down or you may bend the stem, and it won't go on either. (07/09/2007)

By leslie

Replacing A Watch Battery

I use a thin bladed knife (sort of like an Exacto knife) to pry the backs off of my watches, but you have to be VERY careful not to slip. There are certain brands of watches that need a special tool (like my Fossil watch). Then it has to be taken to the watch shop at the local mall. (07/09/2007)

By Maryeileen

Replacing A Watch Battery

First I think it depends on if your watch is valuable or not as to whether you should attempt to replace the battery yourself because you can do some damage if you don't know what you're doing. Most of my watches were bought at Wal-Mart so I have them replace mine for a very minimal price of about $2.78. Any jeweler can replace a battery as well; however it will cost you more. If you don't still have the instructions to your watch to know what kind of battery it takes, you'd need to have someone or you yourself open the watch back to take a look at the current battery. If the watch is a fairly decent one, what the heck's the difference if you pay someone to change the battery and know that it's done right?

It's true that Wal-Mart doesn't want to change batteries in watches not purchased there. I asked why and was told because they don't want to be liable for any damage possibly caused if it's another brand they don't carry or a really nice watch. I just told the gal once that even though my watch didn't come from there, I trusted that she'd do a good job and to go ahead and do it, and she did! It depends on what clerk you get though because I was also turned down once too. Nearly every watch I own came from Wal-Mart though. I have a nice Disney watch I recently bought at a garage sale and I'm going to take it to a jeweler because I also need to add some links back in it to make it looser. I found a coupon to get a battery replaced for $6.95 at a jeweler in town. That's high compared to the Wal-Mart price but since I need the links put back, may as well, and I got this nice Mickey Lorus watch for only $7, which is a steal as those watches are expensive.

Good luck! (07/09/2007)

By Debbie Dzurilla

Replacing A Watch Battery

I use to work at the Walmart Jewelry Dept. and replaced batteries often in watches. There are some expensive brand watches, like Seiko, etc. that we could not touch, it takes a special tool to open them, plus the chances of damaging them. So, take a nicer, more expensive watch to a professional jeweler to replace the battery.

The regular watches, usually have a small "lip" to the edge of the back seal you can carefully "pop" off with a thin knife blade. Be careful not to slip though. You'll cut yourself, or scratch the watch up. Usually, we did all watches, but, the expensive ones, when I worked at Walmart. It's not hard usually, and the battery is around $3.00, if done for you. It's cheaper usually to know your battery size and buy it yourself and do it if your able. When you get someone to do it for you the first time, notice how easy it is, (some are not easy!) then get the battery number, and try yourself (if easy) on the next go around. You only need a battery usually at once a year, so keep your number in a place you won't forget it. Oh yes, if the back "pops" off easily, they usually pop back on easily with a firm two thumb push. (07/10/2007)

By Glinda

Replacing A Watch Battery

I've replaced batteries in my watches for years without problems. Then I read the fine print on warranty and discovered it is void if you replace the battery yourself and was told it was because you can mess up the "water resistance". So, had a nice Timex Stainless Steel watch I took to the Walmart where I bought it when it needed a new battery (it was running slow, but still running), they replaced the battery and handed the watch back to me and it had quit working. Walmart refused to replace the watch, saying the woman said she didn't do anything to it.

So, I had to buy another watch (not at Walmart this time) and when it came time for a new battery, I did it myself. No problem getting the cover off or battery out, the new battery slipped right into place and cover went right back on and I re-set the time. Then I discovered the watch was running backwards, the hands were going counter-clockwise! I tried taking the battery out and putting in in again, but it still kept running backwards, never did figure out what was wrong with it or if it could be fixed, just bought another watch and next time it's going to a Jeweler for the battery. Boy, talk about turning back time! (07/13/2007)

By Judy = Oklahoma

Replacing A Watch Battery

Some Timex watches do not have a place where you can put in a knife blade and pop off the watch back. In that case take a flat blade jewelers screwdriver and grind or file the tip to a knife edge. Mount the watch horizontally in a vise with the back facing up. Position the screwdriver edge on the parting line between the back and the case and tap the end of the screwdriver gently with a small hammer. The back will pop off! (03/31/2008)

By mannyk

Replacing A Watch Battery

Change Timex (Easy Reader) watch battery how to:

First; to open the watch, look around the edge of the case (back) for a very lightly etched triangle shape - which points to the not very large slot into which to insert the point of a pen knife (thick enough, but not too thick) to pop it open. You will likely find the point at one o'clock, if the stem is nine o'clock - probably adjacent to one of the wrist band holding arms. This is because the opening for the knife point is so insubstantial that you really need to lean the back of the knife against one of the band arms for leverage to pop the watch open. (Try to remember to line the insert slot - triangle point - up against one of the arms when you pop the watch back closed -- so you can open it again.)

Second; closing the watch back up; the big problem. If you try squeezing the back into the case from both sides you will end up in eternal see-saw with one side popping out when the other pops in. The trick is to start with both thumbs together on one side and gradually work them around the back in opposite directions, without letting either side come up (this takes fierce pressure) until both thumbs meet again on the opposite side, at which point that side will pop in without the opposite side popping out.

This takes so much pressure that I faced the crystal down on a paperback book (to give the crystal a little protection with the little give on the part of the book) and used the weight of my body to keep both thumb points fully pressed in as I worked my way around to the other side. (04/20/2008)

By Denis Drew

Replacing A Watch Battery

I have been fighting with a Timex watch back trying to get it back in and after reading the advice about moving your thumbs around from one side it popped in without any fuss. Thanks! (06/01/2008)

By Zeek Patoonski

Replacing A Watch Battery

After replacing the battery on a Timex I struggled to get on back on also. Here is how I finally got it back on. I got a pair of vice grips and two pair or pliers. I lined up the stem notch on the back, then put some folded paper towels over the back and the crystal, then clamped the back near the stem in the 3 position with the vice grips. Then, again using folded paper towels to protect the watch I clamped down with the two pair of pliers, one in the 5 position and one in the 10 position. The back snapped back into place with ease. (07/20/2008)

By Jamey Firnberg

Replacing A Watch Battery

After working at this for half an hour I read other sites that spoke of using a vice tool and getting the back centered "squarely" in place and applying pressure. Using that knowledge I put the Timex watch on the corner of a dresser with the band wrapped around the corner then pressed on the back with the palm of my hand.

Cover easily snapped back into place.

Picture of position on dresser follows.

Good luck. -- Carolyn B (07/22/2008)

By carolyn

RE: Replacing A Watch Battery

Replacing A Timex Watch Battery

A small wood chisel works to get the back off a lady Timex. There is a small wedge point about 1/8 inch long. Hold down the other side of the back with a piece of wood - feels safer. Try a CR1216 battery - $4.99 Radio Shack.

Place the watch face down on a plastic foam meat tray. Get a 3 or 4 inch screw C clamp. Place the tray and watch on the C of the clamp and turn to screw to press down the back of the watch. It slips into place before you can crack the plastic crystal. (09/06/2008)

By Carl

Putting the back of watch back on.

After I replaced the battery on my Timex watch, we could not get the back cover on. We'd push and one side would pop it but then the other side would pop off. We got pliers and pressed and when the other side popped out, we got a 2nd pair of pliers and pressed and it worked. (12/03/2008)

By cw

Replace watch battery now it won't work!

I replaced the battery in my dad's Timex watch and I can't get it to work now. Someone said that you have to "reset' some watches. How do I do this? The indiglo light works, but not the watch. I even tried two more new batteries.

Please help,
Don (12/22/2008)

By Don

Replacing A Watch Battery

My Casio watch has an indiglo backlight. Believe it or not, the watch actually has TWO batteries. The top battery (the first one you see when you remove the back cover of the watch) is for the backlight. Ends up that there is a second battery hidden underneath! This second battery actually powers the watch's timekeeping functions, turns the hands, etc. So, check to see if your watch actually has TWO batteries. I had the same problem as you and was scratching my head why the watch still wouldn't work after I changed the battery, but the backlight was okay.

Good luck!
Paul (12/27/2008)

By Paul

Replacing A Watch Battery

Replacing A Watch Battery

The back of a Fossil watch spins off. The store has a special tool for this but you can use the flat end of a screw driver to spin it. Carefully use the indentions on the back as points to apply pressure. This takes a little time and results in a few scratches on the back of the watch, but come on its the back. Once you get the back off the battery is in plain sight. (01/26/2009)

By jon

Replacing A Watch Battery

Thank you to Jamie Firnberg for the idea on using vice grips. It worked for me, after messing around for 30 minutes on trying to squeeze the back onto my Timex with my thumbs. (08/23/2009)

By Pierre Godefroy

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November 11, 2010

I purchased a Sharp men's bracelet watch on clearance for $7. The original price was $15, but it doesn't run. I am thinking that it needs a new battery. Where can I purchase a not too expensive battery for it?

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