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Troubleshooting Damaged Watches

Automatic & Mechanical Watches

These watches are built to last but should your watch not perform as you expect, the following guidance may help indicate what needs to be done to get it back to its full glory.

Watch Movement Issues

My watch has been dropped and has stopped working?

The most common breakage when a watch is dropped is damage to the balance staff which is the axle of the wheel that is responsible for the ticking noise you hear. If the axle has broken it will need to be replaced by an experienced watchmaker or reputable jeweller.

My automatic watch stops when I take it off my wrist?

First of all this is a common issue with automatic watches and could point to a couple of things. An automatic watch winds itself transferring the energy of movement into the watch to do so.  They require a good amount of activity to wind up fully and a lot of the time there may not have been enough activity to have the watch fully wound as the watch wouldn't have built up enough power. If you imagine winding a mechanical watch by half a turn and leaving it, that wouldn't last long either.

If you have been really active and you know for sure its not a lack of movement then the main spring may be the issue as these can become worn and stop working properly after a couple of years and the main spring will need to be replaced.

Watch Timing Issues

My mechanical watch is running slow or keeps stopping?

Most commonly this is due to lubrication inside of the watch. Watches are finely tuned and it doesn't take much to throw them out a little after a few years, just like cars and other machinery they need to be maintained. If your watch is running slow we recommend having your watched serviced by a skilled watchmaker or reputable jewellers.

My watch keeps running fast and gaining time?

One of the most common causes of this is the hairspring as over time, lubricants can cause this to stick or if the watch has been dropped, the hairspring may have fallen out of alignment. 

Its also possible that the watch has become magnetised from a magnetic field. All of these issues can be rectified by a watchmaker or reputable jewellers.

My automatic watch is running slow 

Automatic watches need to be wound to start which can be achieved by manually winding it at the crown or by wearing it long enough to wind the mainspring with plenty of movement. If you regularly wear your watch, most automatic watches run for around 36 hours after you take it off so if the watch is fully wound and running slow, this points to the watch needing a spot of maintenance.

We recommend that you have your movement serviced every few years if you wear it daily, less so if its not always worn and exposed to life.

I can continuously wind my watch, it never stops winding?

This probably indicates that the mainspring is damaged. Watches generally have a sticking point that you can sense and feel when the watch is fully wound up so when it allows you to keep on winding, the mainspring will have to be replaced and the rest of the watch will need to be serviced/maintained.

Watch Dial Issues

The Crystals keep fogging up?

The prime suspect here could be the gaskets as they are responsible for making your watch water resistant.  Its also likely that the watch has been exposed to moisture whilst the crown was unlocked. You may even need the gaskets, crown and crystals replacing requiring a complete maintenance overhaul to get it back to it's best.

The chronograph on my watch doesn't reset?

Over time most chronograph watches do this and its a common query that can be fixed with a manual reset of the chronograph hand by a watchmaker.

Quartz Watches

My watch movement has stopped running? 

The first thing to check is whether the battery has ran out, this should be the first port of call as most batteries give you two years of accurate timing before starting to wain, especially if your watch has a seconds hand as this is more power hungry.

The seconds hand is stuck in one spot and just shakes back and forth?

There can be several things that can cause this which can all be rectified with a service by a watchmaker. Battery powered watches sometimes lack the power to push past any internal obstructions so will need further investigation to see whats causing this to stick.

My watch works until I put it on and then it stops working? Is it allergic to me?

As crazy as it sounds this is more common than you think! Watches expand when the temperature becomes hotter and could be the cause as just the heat of our wrist can raise the temperature of the watch that has been programmed to be at maximum efficiency at room temperature.  

The impacts of expansion can result in damage to the circuitry which will need to be replaced or repaired depending on the severity. Wither way it needs to be inspected by a skilled watchmaker or reputable jeweller.

My watch stops every day at midnight? 

The likely issue here is a problem with the mechanism that changes the date inside of the watch which will need to be inspected by a skilled watchmaker or reputable jewellers.

Timing Issues

The seconds hand on my watch jumps or skips several seconds as it goes around?

This is a strong indication that the battery is on its way out as the circuitry detects a weaker battery which causes this erratic behaviour. Consider it to be that your watch is telling you to replace the battery.

Battery Issues

My chronograph watch battery regularly runs out?

Using all the functions on some watches can make them very power hungry, especially using chronograph along with stop watch functionality or just general multifunctional. This is just the nature of some labour intensive watches. If you're only getting a couple of days then this should be queried with the manufacturer as part of your warranty.

Do I have to replace my watch battery every year?

No, we wouldn't advise you do as quartz watches detect when the battery is low and alerts you with a jumping seconds hand which is known as end of life feature.  There isn't any harm in replacing the battery every year but there isn't a need to as the watch will advise you when its time to freshen up the power.

How long do batteries last?

This varies greatly across batteries but a quartz battery should last at least one year on a multifunction watch or any power hungry watches whilst it will last longer on a watch that only has two hands and no seconds hand.

Display Issues

My digital display has gone black?

This could be the result of the watch being dropped or suffering a major shock where the digital display can become cracked. This is generally not good news as repairs can be expensive and its sometimes more viable to replace the watch.

If its a high end watch and worthy of the repair, you can send it to your watch manufacturer who will have team of service engineers.

My digital display is only showing a part of it, I can't see all of the numbers?

Inside the watch there are little contacts that connect the digital display and these may be damaged or they may have corroded which prevents enough voltage to reach the display so it only partially shows. These can only be repaired by your watch manufacturer and most of the time it would be less expensive to replace the watch unless it has sentimental value or was an expensive purchase and is worthy of the repair costs. 

Button Issues

The buttons on my watch are not working, when I push them in they stay pushed in or/and they won't push in at all?

Push button watches have a stem that moves in and out of a tube within the watch and a tiny spring is responsible for pushing the spring back to its starting position. Dirt can stop this from working along with corrosion and it may just need cleaning or the spring replacing.