5 Reasons Why Your Watch Stopped Working

Author Andrew Johnson
Date Jan 1, 2021
Why Did My Watch Stop Working? Longs Jewelers

When you own a luxury timepiece, it’s not uncommon for it to occasionally slow down or stop working entirely. Although it may be distressing when it first happens, especially if you splurged on the timepiece, sometimes there is a simple fix.

Before you ask yourself, “why did my watch stop working?”, it is important to read up on what factors impact the performance of your watch.

Sometimes, the watch has issues because of age which means the lubricants have become dry or certain pieces have worn down from years of use. However, there are many other reasons why a fine timepiece stops performing. Here is an overview as well as a bit of insight into how a watchmaker might be able to fix it:

The most common reason a watch stops working is the battery

First, you must establish whether your watch is battery (quartz) or mechanical. The easiest way to check this is whether the “seconds” hand ticks across the dial or sweeps. If it ticks, this usually means it’s a quartz watch, and if it sweeps, it's mechanical. It’s worth noting that quartz watches are usually a lot easier (and often cheaper) to get running again whereas mechanical watches require far more attention which we will investigate later.

The most common reason why quartz watches stop working is that the battery is dead. Not all fine watches use batteries, but when they do, they should last for at least 2 years. However, just like cars or any other piece of machinery, there are a few factors that affect your watch battery life.

How long should a watch battery last? On average, it should run you about two years, but this can vary depending on factors like function and age. Some factors that affect the life of your battery are:

  • If your watch is digital or not
  • The size of the battery
  • What functions your watch has and how often you use them
  • How often you use the chronograph function (Leaving it running will cause the battery life to decrease rapidly)
  • Has your watch been in extreme temperatures for a prolonged period of time

If your watch stops working, a watch service technician will check the battery first and the state of the contacts to the battery, and if it is a dead battery, they will usually be able to replace the battery there. Although it is the most common reason, we don’t advise you to try to replace the battery on your own.

Instead, try to find a skilled watch repair shop. Here at Long’s, these are repairs we do regularly. After a quick consultation with one of our experts we will be able to change the battery while you wait, however if the reason your watch stopped is not the battery, removing the battery yourself might damage other functions of your watch.

4 other common reasons your watch stopped working:

1. Water Damage

Did you know that even a single drop of water inside of the watch will completely affect how the watch works? The tiny parts of the watch gears will become rusted when exposed to the water and will stop working over a short period of time, so much so that the gears and parts will not be able to be repaired, but will need to be replaced. This is sometimes due to seals within the watch failing or if submerged in water with the crown out.

2. Physical Damage (aka Impact Damage)

When you use your hands daily and for almost everything, some physical damage can be expected with watches. Most light bumps will only cause aesthetic damage, however a significant impact such as dropping your watch can cause severe damage to the internal mechanics of your watch which will stop it from working. Some brands do make their cases shock resistant however if you have recently dropped your watch and it has now stopped working, this will more than likely be the cause.

When reviewed by a watchmaker, the watch may need to be sent to the manufacturer, depending on the extent of the physical damage. Check out this article to get an idea about much your watch repair should cost.

3. Unauthorized Repairs

Watches are intricate, and a repair by an unauthorized watchmaker can be the reason an automatic watch keeps stopping. If you have ever seen the inside of a luxury watch, you know that there are many gears and levers that are required to make your watch run. Because there are so many small parts and many are specific to each watch brand, if the original parts have been replaced by third-party companies they may not run as intended. A simple trip back to the manufacturer may be all that you need to fix this problem. However, it is worth noting that any watch repair which is done by a non-authorized dealer will void your warranty, so we would always recommend getting it repaired officially as it will reduce the long term costs of your watch.

4. High Electrical Currents

If you have ever read through the Internet after searching “Why did my watch stop working?” you will notice that you come across these obscure-sounding stories of people who are convinced that they can’t wear watches because “the watch stops working when I wear it” - in other words, every watch they try to wear just dies instantly. In some very rare cases, people will put on a watch and it will just stop ticking. This phenomenon, as weird as it sounds, is due to high electrical currents in a person’s body. Depending on the level of electrical currents in your body, or if you have ever been exposed to electricity, you may have an effect on the battery life of your watch and if it works or not.

How much should your watch repair cost?

Consult with one of our watch experts to find out the costs involved in different watch repairs. This helpful article may also provide some guidance so that you know what pricing to expect before coming in.

If you are interested in finding out exactly why your automatic watch stopped working, stop by any of our five retail locations or click here to schedule an appointment and have one of our Long's watch specialists ready to look at your timepiece.

You can also learn more about our watch repair services in the Boston area.

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