Electric WW Quartz Watch Slow


Registered User
Aug 14, 2009
Harrisburg, PA
I recently replaced a battery in a quartz watch for a friend. I verified the battery voltage was what it was supposed to be prior to putting it in the watch. Before returning it, roughly 10 hours, it seemed to keep time.

The next day my friend called to say that it lost about two hours overnight. She reset the time and found it lost significant time in 4 hours of running.

What can cause this? She mentioned she only wears it sporadically so I don't know how the watch performed prior to the battery being drained.



Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
Is it very easy to set time? I do not work on quartz movements but it should have some type of canon pinion that may slip on its arbor!


Staff member
NAWCC Member
Jan 12, 2017
New York State
Maybe it's just a bad battery, that happens.


Albert Antonelli

NAWCC Member
Jan 8, 2011
The watch is loosing time, what is the movement caliber, depending on what it is sometimes it is cheaper to replace the movement, it would help if you post a picture of the movement so we can help u, if it is some of the newer quartz watches u will have to dissacemble the watch to tighten the cannnon drive wheel, however like I said sometimes it is cheaper to replace the movement and still save face. Good luck and my two cents worth.


Registered User
Apr 20, 2013
Linköping, Sweden
It always makes sense to check the simple things. It is important to put the date the battery was fitted on the battery. This helps you if it was your battery and should also help you if others did the same. It also makes sense to test the battery under load. Watch batteries are designed to deliver full chage right up to the end of their life. The point when they can no longer deliver full charge is the time to change them. I devised a simple method of doing this by wiring a lightbulb from a digital watch into my Citizen multi-tester battery voltage test. I check the battery voltage then I press a button and the light comes on. When this happens, if the voltage drops from 1.5 to 1.3 or less, I know the battery no longer has the guts to do the job. Unless it is a lithium battery, all such watch batteries have a shelf life of two years. The manufactures put a code on the back of the blister pack and your supplier should give you a chart of these codes and what dates they relate to.

It also pays to ask the customer had anything happened to the watch recently. Had it received a knock recently? Did you look for recent water entry to the watch? Did you clean and tighten the battery contacts before fitting the battery? What was your estimate of the quality of the work done by the last person who fitted a battery?

If the battery tests OK then the problem is likely to be the watch itself. Try examining the hands. Are they too close to each other or is the sweep hand too close to the glass? Is the hole in the centre of the dial, off centre in relation to the hands? If when the movement is removed from the case it sudenly starts keeping time correctly then the problem is likely the hands or the dial.

In quarttz watches, it is more important that canon pinions or hour wheels are sloppy rather than tight.
It can be surprising that a quartz movement not functioning properly may be brought back to life with an application of the correct oil to bearings on the top plate only. Such movements actually need a full clean and oil but in general it is far less costly to the repairer to change the movement. Many movements cost less than the retail pice of a watch battery.

A faulty circuit can cause a watch to lose or gain but it will not run acurately for 10 hours. In such instances replacing the resonator is possible if one is available and the repairer has the skills but again a new circuit or whole movement are the less costly options. A faulty circuit can simply be sediments left by moisture or a loose screw. Checking the tightness of the screws holding the circuit is always something to look at.

Ladies and gentlemen! Allow me to introduce the SAMPLE mnemonic. It's used to quickly get a grip on a situation in emergency Healthcare. It just occured to me that it can just as well (almost) be applied to taking on a repair of a Watch. With some modifications, I must admit. Here is the original thing:

  • S – Signs/Symptoms (Symptoms are important but they are subjective.)
  • A – Allergies
  • M – Medications
  • P – Past Illnesses
  • L – Last Oral Intake (Sometimes also Last Menstrual Cycle.)
  • E – Events Leading Up To Present Illness / Injury
The one corrected for watchmaking would probably look something like this:

  • S – Signs/Symptoms - what seems to be the problem? (loosing/gaining time? stops?)
  • A – Allergies - what makes the Watch act up? Any position in particular? (Here, there might also be an opportunity to check the integrity of any case back platings so that the owner doesn't in fact develop an allergy to the Watch! Nickel salts are nasty in the long run.)
  • M – Medications - is there anything that makes the Watch run better? Only stops when you wear it, keeps time when it's warm etc.?
  • P – Past Illnesses - Previous, more or less competent watchmakers? :)
  • L – Last Oral Intake (Sometimes also Last Menstrual Cycle.) - when did you last wind your Watch? Or in this case: when was the last battery replacement?
  • E – Events Leading Up To Present Illness / Injury - Did you drop the Watch? Exposed to rain or other forms of water? Daily wear and increasing problems with timekeeping?


Registered User
Dec 7, 2011
sydney Australia
The most common problem is a leaking battery, the other is dirt from the case falling into the movement, usually by hamfisted mall battery changers, generally this will need a service or a new movement.
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