Why Do Watches Stop Working? [Fully Explained + Solutions]

If your watch isn’t functioning properly, then the watch itself is nothing more than a rather odd bracelet. Even watch experts with a vast collection of watches aren’t immune to unexpected issues.

Watches stop functioning because of a mechanical failure or interruption within the inner mechanisms of the watch. There is no single reason why your watch stopped working, but rather a plethora of issues that you could be having.

We’re going to be talking about the most common problems (and their solutions) in this article.

By the way, the best way to avoid problems with your watch is buying a high-quality watch in the first place!

Citizen and Invicta are some of our favorite affordable luxury watch brands. They make awesome watches that are unlikely to break on you!

Your Watch Stopped Working with a New Battery?

The average modern watch requires a battery. In theory, a new battery should function properly for a long time – unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Watchmakers encourage replacing your watch battery every 2 years. Though, sometimes the battery still doesn’t work.

If your watch isn’t working properly, first ensure that the watch battery is good. Sometimes a battery can simply be a dud. In fact, batteries not functioning the way they should is more common than you might think.

Place the watch battery in the watch properly, making sure that the positive and negative sides of the battery are making good contact. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can take your watch to a professional jeweler to get the job done.

In order to protect their inner workings, quartz watches are designed to stop ticking if they aren’t sealed properly, so adjust the stem of the watch to make sure it is completely pushed in.

The set stem, if not completely pushed in, will cause the watch to be entirely inoperable.

Moreover, something inside the watch may be interrupting the electrical connection, whether that’s water damage, dirt, or a broken gear.

A watch’s inner workings are insanely intricate, meaning any slight interference can stop your watch from operating.

If all else fails, there are those trained to fix this exact issue.

With a tool as intricate as a watch, sometimes it’s not possible to fix with untrained hands. Have your watch brought in to a watch professional to receive help from an expert.

Your Watch Keeps Stopping and Starting: What’s Going On?

Watches that stop and start rather erratically aren’t functional, as they don’t keep time the way they should.

There are many potential issues here, the most common of which is a problem with the electricity or power of the watch itself.

Inside of a watch that is not working properly

Also, the battery may be the issue. Although frustrating, some batteries are simply duds, even right out of the box. Whether it’s a manufacturing failure or the battery is beyond its shelf life, some new batteries just don’t work.

It may also be a mechanical failure from water damage or simple mechanical damage. Mechanical failure can have a range of impacts depending on what’s broken and how it’s been broken.

Again, after taking these steps into account if your watch is still being erratic, a professional is your best option.

Static Electricity Stopping Watches: Fact or Fiction?

Static electricity is a stationary electric charge. Caused by friction, it most commonly causes visible sparks, minor shocks, crackling noises and attraction to hair or dust.

There’s an idea floating around that built-up static electricity has enough energy to hurt your watch – however, this is not true, as static electricity can’t provide enough of a charge to stop a watch.

Did Your Watch Stop Working?

With your watch stopping completely, there’s a lot of potential problems that could be at stake (I know this may not be what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth. Watches are complicated!)

The complexity of a watch makes untrained diagnosis difficult. However, there are a few steps one can take before heading to get your watch serviced.

Mechanical Watch Stopped Working

Check the source powering the watch which, in the case of mechanical watches, the wound mainspring. The first thing to check is whether it needs to be wound. Mechanical watches will have a power reserve of a day or two depending on the manufacturer, model, and brand.

The power source is the most common cause of a watch completely stopping.

fixing a broken watch

However, if nothing is wrong with the power source, it is most likely a problem with the inner workings of the watch including gears, springs, connectors, and any range of tiny subtle parts.

Issues within the watch can be caused by anything from dust, to water, to wear and so on. It’s difficult to diagnose, let alone fix by yourself. In this case, it’s best to consult a watch professional.

Quartz Watch Stops Intermittently

Quartz watches use a quartz movement to operate the watch, powered by a battery.

This is a rather frequent problem among the collector’s community.

The most common concern for a watch to stop intermittently, especially a quartz watch, is an interruption with the electronic circuit. Unfortunately, there are many aspects that could cause this problem.

The battery is most likely malfunctioning (yep, the battery is usually the culprit with a lot of watch related problems.)

The simple fix to this is to replace the battery with a new one and ensure it’s been placed properly.

Another potential cause of a circuit malfunction is the set stem. Quartz watches are designed to stop working when the set stem isn’t completely in place.

However, with the natural movement of your wrist, you may be pushing it in and out accidentally, resulting in erratic stopping and starting. Learning how tight a watch should be on your wrist (and how to adjust one) is a very useful skill.

Your watch will fit more comfortably, and it’ll probably last longer too. Luckily, I wrote a pretty awesome guide to teach you how tight a watch should be on your wrist for optimal comfort.

It could be some kind of internal damage causing an interruption such as water, or dust. Even a single droplet of moisture will impact a watch’s operation.

Believe it or not, some watches aren’t water resistant to anything beyond sweat, meaning that getting caught in the rain could cause electricity interruptions, rusting, improper weight on gears and so on.