10 Most Common Quartz Watch Problems and How to Fix Them

Issues With Quartz Watches[quads id=1]Its easy to forget about taking care of your quartz watch. Your precious time piece needs to be serviced if you expect it to last a long time. Some folks often think of quartz watches as lasting forever (8 to 10 years), but without the proper maintenance it won’t make it that long.

We decided to do some research online and compile a list of the most frequently reported issues with Quartz watches. Its important to know that will you can fix some of these on your own, but its best to use a repair shop if you are not under warranty and a service center if you are. Any unauthorized work not done by a service center can void your warranty.

Here are the 10 most common issues reported with quartz watches. There are certainly other issues reported, but these are the 10 our research found to appear the most frequently.

The Watch has Completely Stopped

9 times out of 10 this is a battery issue. Most watch batteries can last up to two years, but some quartz watches can extend pass three or more years in battery life.

FIX: If your watch has stopped working you can find a watch technician near you that can check the battery for you.

The Second Hand is Jumping in Intervals

This is often an alert for the owner that the battery is almost dead. Watches that do this have a special electronic circuit that determines when the battery is almost drained. The watch will make the second hand move awkwardly to let you know it’s time for battery replacement.

Fix: If you replace the battery the second hand will return to its normal state.

The Buttons Don’t Work Properly

The push buttons are mounted onto a stem. The stem is encapsulated inside of a tube which resides inside of the watch interior. At the bottom of the tube there is a tiny spring that pushes the buttons in and out as you press them. Over time dust, dirt, and corrosion can build up inside the tube preventing the button(s) from returning to their starting positions.

Fix: Bring your watch in for service and ask for them to replace the springs in the buttons.

Replacing the Battery Before It Has Reached its End of Life

Some people replace their battery before it has reached its end. The problem with replacing your battery before it reaches its end of life is that you have to break the seal on the back. This is a particular problem with water resistant watches. Once you open the casing you break the factory seal and need to have a water resistance service perform on it.

Fix: Don’t change your battery until it as actually dead

The Chronograph Function Shortens Your Battery life

When you use the chronograph function it is a battery drain and can shorten your total battery life to under 1 year. Watch batteries are built for time and date keeping, extra functions like chronograph require extra power and work from your battery. A frequent issue is that people forget to stop the special functions like the stop watch when they are done using them, which keeps the battery working overtime.

Fix: To save power and get better battery life turn off the chronograph function immediately when you are finished using it.

Watch Runs When It’s Not In Use, But Stops When You Wear it

Quartz Watch IssuesThis is a common problem associated with the circuitry inside the watch. When your watch is at room temperature it functions normal because all the circuits are on their contact points. When you put the watch on your body heat causes a small raise in the internal temperature of the watch and expands the circuitry inside breaking the contact points. When it returns to room temperature it starts running again.

Fix: Bring your watch into a service technician for maintenance and ask for the circuit to be replaced.

The Alarm Stopped Working After It Was Serviced

The cause of this issue is normally one of three things; the alarm’s contact spring is not positioned correctly, the case backing is not on correctly, or a problem exits with the alarm contact plate. All three of these are an easy fix, but will require you to have a service technician look at it.

Fix: Return your watch to the service technician and explain that the alarm stopped working after maintenance was performed.

The Second Hand Ticks Back in Forth With No Progress and The Watch Has Stopped

This is normally a watch maintenance issue. Essentially the watch is working from an electronics standpoint, but something is wrong mechanically. There are a variety of issues that can cause these symptoms.

Fix: Bring your watch into a service technician for maintenance. This usually can solve this issue.

The Display Has Turned Black and Numbers are No Longer Visible

This is a symptom of extreme shock to a quartz watch. Often the result of being dropped, stepped on, or banged against something. What has happened is the digital display has two thin pieces of glass and it has cracked allowing air to leak in and damage the conductive fluid. This is a very expensive repair.

Fix: The best alternative is often to replace the watch, because fixing it costs more than the watch value.

The Display Only Shows Partial Digits and Letters

This is often the result of a shock to the watch like a drop that caused the internal circuitry to be damaged. It’s also possible that the contact points have become corroded. What is happening is that not all the contact points on the display are receiving the proper power from the battery. Fixing this can cost more than the value of a low to mid level watch

Fix: For a less expensive watch replacing the watch is the best alternative. For a high end watch it may be worth sending it into a manufacturer’s service center where the cost should be less than the watches total value.


Most items on this list are fixable. The best way to avoid most of them is to be carefu with your timepiece and keep up your self maintenance and regular servicing. If you take care of your watch it will last and look fantastic on your wrist every time you sport it.

You may also like...