Looking for Trouble

June 1998

Timepieces:Education & Repair

Looking for Trouble

You've changed the battery, but time stands still. Here's how to find and solve the problem

by David A. Christianson,
Certified Master Watchmaker

You've replaced the battery and the watch still doesn't run. Now it's time to test your sleuthing skills.

The approach differs, depending whether you have a quartz analog watch or a digital. Here are some guidelines.

Diagnosing the Problem: Quartz
An electronic quartz watch analyzer will determine the problem without requiring you to open the watch case. Analyzers cost $90 to $375 and are available from watch supply companies. But many retailers don't have an analyzer, so it's critical to know how to detect problems manually and which corrective action to take.

The most common problem - after battery replacement - occurs when the second hand jumps back and forth but does not advance. The new battery is trying to drive the watch, but the gears are blocked. This is a sure sign the watch needs to be cleaned. The inside of the watch can be contaminated because of a leaky gasket, cracked crystal or dried lubricant (always clean away any contaminents while replacing the battery).

Remove the case (see Professional Jeweler,March, p. 66) and clean the inside with compressed air. Keep the air from the coil (brass-colored wound wire). If the problem persists, refer it to your watchmaker or repair service.

Diagnosing the Problem: Digital
If the watch is digital, you have only a few options (after battery replacement), and all require the services of a professional watch repairer:

  • If the watch runs but you can't set the time or change functions, the buttons may be filled with dirt and must be disassembled, cleaned and lubricated.
  • If the contact switches that the buttons actuate are corroded, they must be derusted or replaced.
  • If the watch doesn't run, there are several possibilities. The AC must be cleared (see Professional Jeweler,May, p. 102), or the battery controls or internal contacts must be cleaned. Sometimes the electronic circuit deteriorates, so the circuit or even the entire movement must be replaced.

Setting the Watch: Analog
Set the time and date before returning the watch. It's another attention to detail the customer will appreciate.

If the watch has an hour and minute hand (or with a second hand), simply pull out the crown and turn it to set the hands. If you can't pull out the crown, don't grab it with pliers. The stem is likely rusted and/or the crown is so packed with dirt it won't move. Refer this to your watch repairer.

Many water-resistant sport watches have a screwdown crown. Unscrew the crown first before setting the time.

If the watch has a calendar, it probably has a two-position stem. Pull the crown to the first click to activate the calendar setting. Pull to the second click (all the way out) to set the hands.

If the watch has a day/date feature, turn the crown in one direction to change the date, the opposite direction to change the day. With an older watch, you may have to use the first position to change the date, but the hands must be manually run around the dial a full 24 hours to change the day. Some even older models require you to turn the hands to change the date andthe day.

One very important point when setting an analog watch with a day or date: turn the hands around the dial until the calendar changes. This establishes midnight for the watch. Then count each hour to set the hands to the correct time. Noon is 12 hours past midnight. To set for 2 p.m., turn the hands past midnight, watch the date change, continue 12 more revolutions to noon and then on to 2 o'clock.

It seems simple, but customers often don't know how to set their watches. Your expertise in this simple procedure can establish their trust in you.

Setting the Watch: Digital
Digital watches can be difficult to set. In general, look for the "mode" button, push it two or three times in succession and continue to hold down this same button.

The watch is ready to set when the digits on the face start to flash. Usually the hours flash first. Push one of the other buttons (often noted as "set") to set the current hour. When the hour is set, push the original "mode" button and the minutes flash. Follow the same procedure for the month, date and day.

There are many variations in digital watch-setting procedures. If you're not familiar with setting the watch, contact the supplier, your repair shop or the nearest watchmaker.

David A. Christianson is fourth-generation owner of Christianson Jewelry, Kendallville, IN. Address questions, suggestions and comments on his monthly column to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102, email to askus@ProfessionalJeweler.com.




Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


 

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