The above question is a tricky one—and is not uncommon for us to hear. It’s also not uncommon for the first battery in a watch to last longer than its replacements. In this article, we’re going to break down this topic to help clear the air.
Upon purchase of a new watch, the battery should last up to 2 years as a standard benchmark, on older watches we estimate 14-18 months. If your battery doesn’t last this long then find out the reasons why below.
Quartz or battery-operated watches all have their own unique branding and story—but there are some good rules of thumb to look out for when considering a battery-powered movement.
The first battery in a quartz wristwatch will typically last around 2-3 years. There will always be exceptions to this generalized statement—certain digital watches come to mind (Casio, for example)—so any statement of longevity should be taken with a grain of salt.
Watches with functions such as; alarms, chronograph/stopwatches, LED displays, etc. will drain your battery faster than a standard analog watch.
Be careful not to leave the chronograph running permanently as this can drain the battery up to 40% faster! Water damage, corrosion and the age of your watch will also influence the frequency of battery changes required.
The older the watch is the more the lubricants inside degrade and try to slow the movement down. Also remember that you never know how long the “new” watch has been stored with the manufacturer or retailer before purchase, making battery life prediction difficult.
Speaking on further consideration, every battery following the one installed by the manufacturer will expire more quickly; It is not a battery issue. In fact, it’s normal for any watch movement to experience degradation over time. As the movement wears down, it requires more energy to retain the same function.
Depending on the quality of the battery used, your replacement should last up to 18 months; the lower the quality of the battery brand and the longer the battery has been stored before fitting will greatly affect its life expectancy.
Lithium Ion batteries are designed to last much longer than conventional batteries. These are often found in watches with glowing backlights or multiple functions; the complex makeup of these cells gives them an impressive life expectancy of 5 years or more.
As with all watches but especially those worn in water i.e. swimming or scuba diving, we would always recommend having your watch pressure/seal tested alongside the battery change.
Watch battery life can vary between individual timepieces. Similarly, individual people have unique needs that don’t always match up with the general public. If you or anyone you know is experiencing frequent battery changes (in their watch, of course), it may be time to consider the age of the movement—it could need replacing.