How Do You Solve a Problem Like Old Quartz Watches?

Chuck `em in a skip obviously! OK, I’m being flippant, but in reality, you often need to fit a new movement – assuming there is a compatible Miyota/Ronda. This can be pricey to do, which is why many people do bin old watches – a great shame as not all them are useless, some just need a battery and some TLC.

Tip Of The Day: Any older quartz watch that’s behaving erratically, showing symptoms like a twitching second hand, that freezes, then jumps 2-3 seconds in one go, is often a sign that the movement is on the way out. A new battery will only delay the inevitable, so if you love it, get a price on a movement swap.

Generally a quartz movement will last about 20-30 years, depending on how well it was made in the first place, plus how well the owner cares for their watch: Bashing it against stuff at work, or doing DIY, dunking it in swimming pools on holiday, or leaving it in sweaty kitchens – these can all kill a watch fairly rapidly. Even ladies lotions, creams and scent can see off a quality Citizen, Michael Kors, DKNY, Skagen, Armani or similar decently made fashionista watch.

This slow death-by-moisture even happens to Swiss quartz watches too, eventually killing off £1000 Longines, Omega, TAG, Rado, Tissot and many more, which is why I’m always wary about buying them in.

I once bought a slightly shabby ladies Omega for £60 at an auction and put a new crystal & battery in, cleaned it inside etc. It ran for a while, we cleaned it again, it stopped again, fresh battery…you get the picture. It’s in my spares/junk box under the sink – just in case the dial and hands ever come in useful – the rest of it is basically scrap.

Damage to the gold plating on a Swiss quartz often means perfume or scent has attacked it and wealthy ladies love to squirt that stuff on every date night! So, lesson learned there.


Hell yeah, we’ve got customers getting new batteries in a £10 Sekonda that’s 25 years old. Still ticking reliably. Some brands, like say Bench or ICE watches, don’t tend to last a quarter of a century, but you can get a decade from them. Not bad on a £20 watch I’d say.

Today I took a chance and bought in three fashion quartz watches; a Vostok with a tank on the dial, an unbranded Chinese gents, and a 2010 England footie themed watch. All dead, non runners. Customer wanted to trade them for a links swap job on his Citizen, which is normally a fiver in our shop – so I did the deal.

The Vostok and Chinese budget special ran fine. The Vostok still had its protective film on the crystal and caseback – never used! Result. The England watch howver ran for a while, then the second hand caught the minute hand at the twenty-to the hour position. Bent hand. OK, movement out..nope, pressing stem button did nothing, no resistance, no pressure. Hmm, OK…join the ladies Omega then in the dark side of the sink matey!

Tells the time, dummy buttons do nothing, clean as a whistle, new Renata battery in and yours for £8. I love to recycle just like the charity shops do!

That’s watch dealing folks – win some, lose some.


Leave a comment here, we don't judge!Cancel reply