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Do Watch Batteries Leak? Top 10 Watch Battery Questions

Many of our modern watches need a battery in order to function. This means that your watch can be at risk to watch battery leaks.

This blog post will answer the top 10 most common questions that get asked about watch batteries. 

Take the time to learn about watch batteries and risks involved to your watch. So to help prevent your watch getting damaged by a watch battery leak.

Watch Batteries FAQs

  1. Do watch batteries leak?
  2. How long does it take for a watch battery to leak?
  3. What does a watch battery leak look like?
  4. Is it OK to leave a dead battery in a watch?
  5. Is it bad if a watch battery leaks?
  6. Do watch batteries leak acid and corrode?
  7. Where can I go to get a watch battery replaced?
  8. How much does it cost to replace a battery in a watch?
  9. What type of watches need batteries?
  10. What type of watches don’t need batteries?
Watch battery inside of a watch movement
A watch battery inside of a watch

1. Do Watch Batteries Leak?

Yes, watch batteries can leak.

All batteries, including watch batteries, gradually start to leak eventually. 

Watch batteries can leak a corrosive substance, which can damage your watch permanently. Alkaline batteries are particularly prone to leakages.

2. How long does it take for a watch battery to leak?

It usually takes between 3 to 5 years for a watch battery to leak. However, this does depend on the quality of the watch battery.

Yet, the average lifespan of the majority of watch batteries is between 3 to 5 years. Then they can start to leak. So you should change them before they go over this time inside your watch.

3. What does a watch battery leak look like?

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Battery leak inside of a Seiko Arnie (Source : Spencer Klein)

Here you can see the inside of a Seiko Arnie (Ref. H558-5009) that has a watch battery leak. It has corroded through the watch, and has damaged the watch’s movement.

4. Is it OK to leave a dead battery in a watch?

Many people leave a dead battery inside their watch, and the battery hasn’t leaked. You can get lucky and your watch’s dead battery won’t leak.

However, you could then get unlucky and end up with a dead battery that has leaked inside your watch.

If you want to play it safe it’s best to remove, and replace, a dead battery. 

If you plan on storing this watch for a while. Then take the battery out of your watch. So that there is no risk of a battery leak while your watch is in storage.

5. Is it bad if a watch battery leaks?

If a watch battery leaks inside of your watch, the amount of damage to the watch depends on the extent of the leak.

If the leak is a major leak, the battery leak will start to corrode the watch’s components that it comes into contact with. This can cause permanent damage to your watch.

If the leak is minimal, the watch’s components inside its case might be salvageable.

6. Do watch batteries leak acid and corrode?

Alkaline watch batteries can eventually leak a substance called potassium hydroxide.

This is a corrosive substance that can leak from alkaline watch batteries, and is more often called battery acid

It is an acidic substance and if it leaks from your watch’s battery. It will corrode through and damage your watch. Sometimes permanently damaging it. 

Which means that you need to be very careful when replacing a watch battery that has leaked. You should never touch it with your hands.

If you are unsure of how to do it yourself, it’s best to have a professional service your watch, and replace the watch battery for you.

7. Where can I go to get a watch battery replaced?

To get your watch battery replaced you should go to a watchmaker that services your type of timepiece. You can contact local watchmakers to check their services and price list.

2 watch batteries

8. How much does it cost to replace a battery in a watch?

The price of a watch battery change can range from as low as $15 up to around $100 and above. The higher price is for more niche and complicated timepieces.

9. What type of watches need batteries?

Quartz watch movements are powered by a quartz crystal and a battery. Solar powered watches are also watches that need batteries

This means that both quartz watches and solar powered watches need their batteries changed around every 3 to 5 years. To make sure that their batteries don’t leak and destroy the watch.

Learn more here between the difference of watch movements that need batteries and ones that don’t need batteries.

Watch battery inside of a quartz movement
Quartz watch movement (needs a watch battery)

10. What type of watches don’t need batteries?

Mechanical watches don’t need batteries.

Watches that use a mechanical movement, are powered by a wound mainspring and many other watch parts working together.

There are two types of mechanical watches, both don’t need batteries:

  1. Manual Mechanical watches : The mainspring in the barrel is wound by you winding the crown of the watch. This needs to be done on a regular basis to keep your manual watch ticking.
  1. Automatic Mechanical watches : The mainspring in the barrel of the watch is wound through a rotor. This rotor is turned and powered by you wearing your automatic watch.

You can learn more about the difference between watch movements that don’t need batteries and ones that do need batteries.

Inside a mechanical movement of a watch
Mechanical watch movement (no watch battery)

To Sum Up

If you have a watch that is powered by a battery, then you should have it replaced every 3 to 5 years. As batteries are corrosive and can permanently damage your watch if they leak.

Want an affordable watch that won’t leak?

Then check out our guide to the super affordable automatic watch collection from Orient called the Orient Bambino.

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