What To Do When Your Watch Stops Working

So you just got yourself a luxury timepiece, let's say a Fossil Watch, Great!.  

A few months pass and your watch stops working.  


FUN FACT: Mechanical watches are designed to last a lifetime, and if taken care of they can last multiple lifetimes.

You are probably thinking 🤔 How do I get my watch to work again? 

Well, there is no one way to answer this question because there are many reasons why your watch might stop working. 

It comes down to one major consideration, the watch mechanism. 

Understanding what kind of watch mechanism is the key to resolving any issues to most watch problems. 

Check out my previous post on the difference between automatic, quartz and other types of watches here. 

So, how do you fix a watch that stops working? 

Troubleshooting Automatic Watch when it stops working.

Automatic watches depend on either self-winding or manual winding to recharge their power reserve, and without it, they will unwind and stop.  

For self-winding automatic watches shake it rigorously until you see the engine start swinging if visible. 

Although, if it is manual wind, use the winding knob and wind for the 30s to 1 min or until it starts to wind again. 

For watches that use batteries like smartwatches or quartz, you need to check the batteries. 

Although it is the most common reason, we don’t advise you to try to replace the battery on your own 

If your watch stops working, an orologist will check the battery first and the state of the contacts to the battery, and if it is a dead battery, they will usually be able to replace the battery there. 

Some other issues that may result in a non-working watch could include: 

Damages: water, physical resulting from improper or poor handling and maintenance. 

Damages caused by water: 

Want to know what happens when water gets into your watch? 

Many people think because they have the words "Water-Resistant" written on the back of the watch they automatically can submerge the watch or become immune to water damage.

what does water-resistance mean?

A watch stamped with "Water Resistant" means that it is humidity-protected. It can endure a few water splashes from washing your hands or being caught in the rain. However, water resistance does not mean you should swim or shower with your watch on.

For every "Water-resistant" watch, they are a level of tolerance to water they can stand in terms of resistance and this is usually not taken into consideration by watch owners or collectors.

Pop-quiz: how resistant is my watch?

Let us do a quick exercise, check the specifications of the watch you are wearing and in the comment section share with us the water-resistance limit.

Water damage is incredibly corrosive. Freshwater doesn't corrode as quickly as saltwater, with salt water we're talking about days before it corrodes the movement. If you wait and the watch rusts inside, this will destroy the watch.

Remember that watch movements or mechanisms are comprised of metal materials and metal gets degraded with rust as such allowing water to get into your watch could allow for these components to rust and eventually damage the movement of the watch.

Damages caused by everyday activities: 

Many people use their hands a lot, a whole lot that is. if you utilise your hands daily and for almost everything, there is a good chance of you getting your watch damaged.

 If you fall into this category of people you should expect several physical damages with watches. This can range from everyday activities at your office or workstation causing something inside the watch to become loose or broken due to the repetitive activity, 

Depending on the extent of physical damage, the watch may need to be shipped to the manufacturer after being taken to a jeweller.

Damages caused by Poor Handling: 

Any time the watch slams against a hard surface, it can potentially cause damage, this includes when it is being worn and collides with something hard. usually we have scenarios of closing the door on your watch or a baby tearing off the watch from its strap. all these can contribute to poor handling thereby leading to damage.

According to govbergwatches

there are more reasons why your watch may get damaged, list below:


Incorrectly setting the functions on your watch can also cause damage to the movement and gears. Setting the date during the “danger zone” period can cause a misalignment of the date window and broken parts in the movement. The danger zone of the watch set is between the hours of 9 pm and 3 am. During this time the gears are in motion to switch the date.

If the date window is misaligned, you may begin to see the date change early or even after midnight rather than right when the watch hits 12 am. Refer to the watch instruction manual for safe times and safe date-changing procedures. Typically, bringing the hour hands to the lower half of the dial avoids the “danger zone.”

The functions aren’t limited to only date changing. Improperly setting any complication on the watch can cause damage to the movement. Additionally, setting the time backwards rather than forwards can damage the mainspring.


A magnetic field may seem like an unknowing culprit that can damage your watch. The escapement can begin to act erratically and can even seize up. If you’re not familiar with the escapement, it regulates the oscillations of your watch and helps keep proper timing. Avoiding putting your watch on radios, speakers, and electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets is the best way to avoid damaging the movement. Some watches were specifically designed for high magnetic fields, such as the Rolex Milgauss and Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra.

Watches that have high anti-magnetic features are labelled with their Gauss rating. A Gauss is a unit for measuring magnetism. With the advancement of watch technologies, some brands are using alternative, non-magnetic, materials inside their movements."

Production Error: Resulting from defects in production lines which is not uncommon. such issues when spotted or brought to the attention of the manufacturers are usually easily recalled or replaced and on rear occasions, such batches are discontinued.

If you have ever seen the inside of a luxury watch, you know that many teeny-tiny gears and pieces are required to make your watch tick. In this way, because there are so many small parts, and we are only human, sometimes the parts could have not been set up correctly. When this happens, the small pieces may become detached or moved around, causing the watch to stop working. A simple trip back to the manufacturer may be all that you need to fix this problem. 

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