Were you going to change the battery in your watch yourself? Don’t know what battery is needed to replace the old one in your watch? Doesn’t know if a jeweler should replace the battery or you are capable of doing it yourself? Don’t sweat it. I will do my utmost to help you get an understanding of which battery your watches use and how to replace them. This post will have a complete guide to batteries in quartz watches.
All watches don’t use the same battery size and type. The most commonly used batteries in watches are 371 and 377. The most common sized watch battery is 9.5 mm in diameter and 2.1 mm in height (battery code 371), and 6.8 mm in diameter and 2.6 mm in height (battery code 377).
A battery conversion chart (as seen below) can be used to figure out which battery fits in your watch.
Replacing a battery in a quartz watch, regardless of quality, is not easy if it’s the first time you are opening the back of a watch. I am going to show you and guide you to change the battery yourself and how to identify the right type and size battery to replace the old.
What Size Battery Does a Quartz Watch Take?
The batteries used for watches are often called watch batteries or button cells. You have properly seen them before in your kitchen weight or your kids’ toys. It is the small cylinder-shaped which has a typical size of 5 to 25 (0.197 to 0.984 inches) mm in diameter and 1 to 6 mm (0.039 to 0.236 inches) tall.
The size of the battery needed for you watches depends on what the watch is made for. When looking for a battery to your watch, the size is not what is important. Regardless of the size of your watch, if you read the battery conversion chart, you can see all kinds of battery codes.
The manufacturer of the watch determines the type and size of the battery. Consult the watch manual to find the correct battery type. When you have the battery or know the battery’s code, you can purchase a replacement. In case you can’t find the required battery, lookup battery conversion charts.
The codes are the names the manufacturers give their batteries. E.g., one of the most commonly used watch batteries is called 371. If you see in the watch’s manual that you need to replace the 371 battery with another 371 battery, you can actually use several other batteries. 371 is just a name used by one manufacture of batteries.
In the huge table below is a full overview of all the most common battery codes. This chart should be more than enough to find the required battery for your watch. Let’s take an example together, so I make sure you understand what I mean:
- In your watch manual, the manufacture says the replacement battery should be the battery type 357.
- You go into a jeweler or other store trying to find a 357 battery.
- To your disappointment, they don’t carry any 357 batteries. Is your quartz watch now garbage? Absolutely not!
- You look up a battery conversion chart (like the big one below) and find your 357 battery code. If you are up for a treasure hunt, you can look all the numbers through, OR you can simply press CTRL + F on your keyboard and search for the known battery code.
- You are now very happy because you can use: SR44W, D357, J, V357, 288, SB-S9, and SR44.
Diameter x height
Diameter x height
|Voltage (V)||Battery codes|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 5.4||0.457 x 0.213||1.55||357, SR44W, D357, J, V357, 228, SB-S9, SR44|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 4.2||0.457 x 0.165||1.55||386, SR43W, D386, H, V386, 260, SB-B8, 280-41, SR43|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 3.05||0.457 x 0.120||1.55||389, SR1130W, D389, M, V389, 626, SB-BU, 280-15, SR54|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 2.05||0.457 x 0.081||1.55||391, SR1120W, D391, L, V391, 609, SB-BS, 280-30, SR55|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 1.65||0.457 x 0.065||1.55||365, SR1116W, ZA, V365|
|Silver Oxide||9.5 x 3.6||0.374 x 0.142||1.55||380, SR936W, V380, 280-74, SR45|
|Silver Oxide||9.5 x 2.73||0.374 x 0.107||1.55||399, SR927W, D399, W, V399, 613, SB-BP, SR57|
|Silver Oxide||9.5 x 2.05||0.374 x 0.081||1.55||370, SR920W, D370, ZA, V370, 620, SB-BN, SR69|
|Silver Oxide||9.5 x 1.65||0.374 x 0.065||1.55||372, SR916W, D372, V372, 280-61|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 3.6||0.311 x 0.142||1.55||392, SR41W, D392, K, V392, 247B, SB-B1, SR41|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 2.6||0.311 x 0.102||1.55||396, SR726W, D396, V, V396, 612, SB-BL, SR59|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 2.1||0.311 x 0.083||1.55||361, SR721W, D361, X, V361, SB-BK, SR58|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 1.65||0.311 x 0.065||1.55||SR716W|
|Silver Oxide||6.8 x 2.6||0.268 x 0.102||1.55||376, SR626W, MA, V376, 619, SB-BW, 280-72, SR66|
|Silver Oxide||6.8 x 2.15||0.268 x 0.085||1.55||SR621W, SR60, SR60|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 5.4||0.457 x 0.213||1.55||303, SR44SW, D303, A, V303, SB-A9, SR44|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 4.2||0.457 x 0.165||1.55||301, SR43SW, D301, D, V301, 226, SB-A8, 280-01, SR43|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 3.6||0.457 x 0.142||1.55||344, SR1136SW, D344, V344, 242, SR42|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 3.05||0.457 x 0.120||1.55||390, SR1130SW, D390, V390, 603, SB-AU, 280-24, SR54|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 2.05||0.457 x 0.081||1.55||381, SR1120SW, D381, V381, 317, SB-AS, 280-27, SR55|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 1.65||0.457 x 0.065||1.55||366, SR1116SW, D366, V366, 608, 280-46|
|Silver Oxide||9.5 x 3.6||0.374 x 0.142||1.55||394, SR936SW, D394, LA, V394, 625, AB-A4, 280-17, SR45|
|Silver Oxide||9.5 x 2.73||0.374 x 0.107||1.55||395, SR927SW, D395, V395, 610, AB-AP, 280-48, SR57|
|Silver Oxide||9.5 x 2.05||0.374 x 0.081||1.55||371, SR920SW, D371, V371, 605, SB-AN, 280-31, SR69|
|Silver Oxide||9.5 x 1.45||0.374 x 0.057||1.55||SR914SW, 280-76|
|Silver Oxide||9.5 x 1.65||0.374 x 0.065||1.55||373, SR916SW, D373, WA, V373, 617, SB-AJ, 280-45, SR68|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 3.6||0.311 x 0.142||1.55||384, SR41SW, D384, V384, 247, SB-A1, 280-18, SR41|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 3.1||0.311 x 0.122||1.55||329, SR731SW, D329, V329|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 2.6||0.311 x 0.102||1.55||397, SR726SW, D397, N, V397, 607, SB-AL, 280-28, SR59|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 2.1||0.311 x 0.083||1.55||362, SR721SW, D362, S, V362, 601, SB-AK, 280-29, SR58|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 1.68||0.311 x 0.066||1.55||315, SR716SW, D315, HA, V315, 614, SB-AT, 280-56, SR67|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 1.29||0.311 x 0.051||1.55||346, SR712SW, V346, 628, SB-AH, 280-66|
|Silver Oxide||6.8 x 2.6||0.268 x 0.102||1.55||377, SR626SW, D377, BA, V377, 606, AB-AW, 280-39, SR66|
|Silver Oxide||6.8 x 2.15||0.268 x 0.085||1.55||364, SR621SW, D364, T, V364, 602, AB-AG, 280-34, SR60|
|Silver Oxide||6.8 x 1.65||0.268 x 0.065||1.55||321, SR616SW, D321, DA, V321, 611, AB-AF, 280-73, SR65|
|Silver Oxide||5.8 x 2.7||0.228 x 0.106||1.55||319, SR527SW, D319, V319, 615, AB-AE, 280-60, SR64|
|Silver Oxide||5.8 x 2.15||0.228 x 0.085||1.55||379, SR521SW, D379, JA, V379, 618, SB-AC, 280-59, SR63|
|Silver Oxide||5.8 x 1.65||0.228 x 0.065||1.55||317, SR516SW, D317, CA, V317, 616, SB-AR, 280-58, SR62|
|Silver Oxide||5.8 x 1.25||0.228 x 0.049||1.55||355, SR512SW, V355, 622, SB-AB, 280-68|
|Silver Oxide||4.8 x 2.15||0.189 x 0.085||1.55||348, SR421SW, V348, AB-A6, 280-77|
|Silver Oxide||4.8 x 1.65||0.189 x 0.065||1.55||337, SR416SW, V337, 623, AB-A5, 280-75|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 5.4||0.457 x 0.213||1.55||EPX76, SR44(G13), VEPX76, SR44|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 4.2||0.457 x 0.165||1.55||386, SR43(G12), V386, SR43|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 3.05||0.457 x 0.120||1.55||389, SR1130, V389, SR54|
|Silver Oxide||11.6 x 2.05||0.457 x 0.081||1.55||391, SR1120, V391, SR55|
|Silver Oxide||7.9 x 3.6||0.311 x 0.142||1.55||392, SR41, V392, SR41|
|Alkaline||11.6 x 5.4||0.457 x 0.213||1.5||A76, LR44, PX76A, VA76, LR44|
|Alkaline||11.6 x 4.2||0.457 x 0.165||1.5||186, LR43, D186A, V186, LR43|
|Alkaline||11.6 x 3.05||0.457 x 0.120||1.5||189, LR1130, D189A, V189, LR54|
|Alkaline||11.6 x 2.05||0.457 x 0.081||1.5||191, LR1120, D191A, V191, LR55|
|Alkaline||7.9 x 3.6||0.311 x 0.142||1.5||192, LR41, V192, LR41|
|Lithium||20.0 x 3.2||0.787 x 0.126||3.0||ECR2032, CR2032, DL2032, CR2032, CR2032, SB-T51|
|Lithium||20.0 x 2.5||0.787 x 0.098||3.0||ECR2025, CR2025, DL2025, CR2025, CR2025, SB-T14, 280-205|
|Lithium||20.0 x 1.6||0.787 x 0.063||3.0||ECR2016, CR2016, DL2016, CR2016, CR2016, SB-T11, 280-206|
|Lithium||16.0 x 3.2||0.630 x 0.126||3.0||ECR1632, CR1632, DL1632, CR1632, CR1632|
|Lithium||16.0 x 2.0||0.630 x 0.079||3.0||ECR1620, CR1620, DL1620, CR1620, CR1620, SB-T17, 280-208|
|Lithium||16.0 x 1.6||0.630 x 0.063||3.0||ECR1616, CR1616, DL1616, CR1616, CR1616, 280-209|
|Lithium||12.5 x 2.0||0.492 x 0.079||3.0||ECR1220, CR1220, DL1220, CR1220, CR1220, SB-T13|
|Lithium||12.5 x 1.6||0.492 x 0.063||3.0||ECR1216, CR1216, DL1216, CR1216, CR1216|
Another thing which you have to consider is the chemistry of the battery. In daily speaking, I am talking about lithium, silver-oxide, alkaline, zinc-air, and mercury-oxide batteries.
- BR/CR = Lithium
- L/LR/AG = Alkaline
- SR/SG = Silver-oxide
Another prefix to figure out what the batteries’ code means is to look at the numbers. The numbers in a battery indicate its size and dimensions. E.g., CR1216 means the battery is 12 mm in diameter and 1.6 mm in height.
Zinc-air and mercury-oxide batteries are rarely used in wristwatches. Actually, you hopefully won’t see any mercury batteries, because they have been banned in many regions due to their toxicity and environmental effects.
- A lithium battery is the most costly, typically. The benefit of lithium batteries is they are longer-lasting, weighs nothing, and works in a broader range of temperatures compared to other batteries.
- Lithium batteries can last over 10 years on the shelf, before drying out (essentially losing all its energy).
- Silver-oxide is the most frequently used battery type.
- Silver-oxide batteries can maintain a much more stable voltage through its use. Hence why they are often used in applications that require stable/predictable voltage such as watches, cameras, metering equipment, etc.
- Alkaline batteries are typically cheaper than their counterparts.
- Alkaline batteries are good for things that don’t require a lot of stable voltage but can instead deliver high current. An example is noisy kid toys.
- Zinc-air batteries have the absolute highest capacity. However, they use air as a depolarizer, essentially meaning regardless of use, they will dry out in a few weeks.
- Mercury provides a stable current, just like the silver-oxide.
- Mercury-oxide is banned in a lot of regions.
How to Determine the Battery Size for Your Watch
When trying to figure out which batter your watch, use the easiest thing to do is to go to your local jeweler and get them to replace the battery. Using a jeweler will ensure the battery is correctly inserted and won’t be damaging the watch.
The battery you are replacing will have a number engraved on it. If you haven’t opened the watch, you can consult the watch’s manual to see the battery code. After that, go to a battery conversion chart and find the available battery codes for your watch.
You can see the battery conversion chart at the start of this post. It includes all the frequently used batteries in watches. In case you have a button battery cell measurement gauge laying around, you can use that as well. However, be aware that some of the button batteries have the same size.
Below is some pictures of 2 different packages. One from Energizer and one from Panasonic. The Energizer package has a 371/370 battery inside of it. Take note of the “replaces all:” section of the packaging. You are given some of the battery conversion charts. A 371/370 can replace all SR920W and SR920SW batteries. The Panasonic has another battery code but also indicates which battery codes they can replace. The CR2032 can replace DL2032, ECR2032, etc.
When you are trying to replace a battery in your watch, it is not actually the measured size you are trying to go for. You are going for the battery type that was built for the watch. E.g., there is a reason watches with lithium batteries use lithium batteries. Just like there is a reason for watches with alkaline batteries using alkaline batteries.
The battery used is a representation of what the manufacture wants from the watch. E.g., very accurate watches will most likely be using silver-oxide batteries due to its voltage stability. Whereas, a chronograph that requires additional power, “explosively” might be prone to using alkaline batteries.
How Often Should the Battery be Replaced
The longevity of a battery is correlated to the type of battery used. Zinc-air batteries only last a few weeks, whereas lithium can last a couple of years. The most commonly used battery type in watches is silver-oxide, and lithium, hence the longevity of the batteries should be more or less the same.
Quartz watch batteries should be replaced every 1-5 years, depending on how much power the watch draws. Watches with chronographs, dates, moon-phase, GMT, etc. functions will need more often battery replacements than a watch with an hour and minute hand.
- Lithium batteries last 1-2 years.
- Silver-oxide batteries last 3-5 years.
- Alkaline batteries for about 1 year.
- Zin-air batteries last only a few weeks.
The longevity of the battery depends on the quality of the watch and the quality of the batteries. A poor silver-oxide battery can last just as long as a poor quality alkaline battery if the quality is bad. Brands such as Seiko has a reputation for maintaining a low energy consumption in their watches while remaining accurate.
The best indicator of replacing the battery is when the watch stops ticking. There are only 2 possibilities when a watch stops ticking: it’s either dead, or the battery has run out of energy. Given you will wear your watch daily, you would know when it has been exposed to live treating moments.
How to Replace a Quartz Watch Battery
If you have the courage to open your watch to replace the battery, you might need a little help to understand what is going on under the hood of such a bad boy. Oftentimes, the replacement of a battery in watches is simple. However, they are some pitfalls that could ruin the watch or battery if not done correctly.
To replace the battery in your watch, remove the case back of the watch. Using gentle force, you have to remove the current battery. Then locate the battery code and purchase an identical battery. Using gentle force, insert the replacement battery. Now close the case back.
Before jumping head in, take the time and read the following sectors to ensure you won’t damage your watch.
- There is a danger zone near the battery in your watch. The danger zone is called a “coil.” The coil is made of a copper line thinner than hair. It has a red-ish/brown color. A simple touch with a finder or a screwdriver is enough to destroy the watch.
- Before just leaving your watch open on the table for your kids to play with, or your wife to throw out, try to figure out the battery code in advance. Having your wife think you left trash on the table, or having the kids to investigate an opened case back watch is a very bad idea.
- Don’t use any metal tools when reinserting the battery. While you can find YouTube videos with people doing so, it is a terrible idea. Firstly, a button battery has its plus and minus on its too big flat surfaces. This means holding the battery with tweezers will make a short circuit, which could damage the battery, eventually causing it to leak corrosion into the watch. Secondly and less critical, when using metal, you can easily scratch the inside of the watch or even the case if the tool slips during the replacement. Using plastic or wood tools is a better way to go. As plastics are not as hard, they won’t scratch the watch.
Before starting to bang open your watch, we need a few things that I recommend: A pointy or flattened object (such a knife), tweezers of plastic, pin-removal punches, and a prong case opener. If you don’t care about scratches and doing things 100% after the book, you can replace the prong case opener with pliers, the tweezers with your fingers, pin-removal punches with a very small screwdriver.
Step 1: Before starting to opening the back, you want to remove the bracelet, rubber strap, or leather strap. Here you will need the pin-removal punches to remove the pins which hold the strap in place.
To remove the pins that are connected to the case, you have to push inwards with the pin-removal punchers. The pin will compress and the bracelet will become loose. Now just pull the strap to one side of the watch. You don’t need to disconnect both sides.
Step 2: Identify whether you have a snap-back or a screw-down case back.
- Snap-back case back: A snap-back case will have a small notch or indentation between the car and case back. Here you will need the flat-surfaced object such as a knife, preferably in plastic as you will most likely slip the object a couple of times. Place the flat object between the notch or indentation and the case back and start to pry gently. Generally, the higher the water resistance, the more force you have to use when prying the watch open.
- Screw-down case back: In the event, the back is a screw-down, you will have to use the prong case opener. If you have the prong case opener, you have to adjust the tool to match the indentations on the watch. If you don’t have a prong case opener and don’t really care about scratches, you can use a pair of pliers. In the picture to your right, the watch has round indentations in the outer ring of the case back. The indentations are commonly rectangular and at the edge of the watch. Adjust accordingly and start to screw it open.
Step 3: Now, you should have the case back in your hands. The watch is exposed, and you can see the battery and, most likely, the coil. Stay away from the coil. If you have tweezers, you can find an angle that will not interfere with the coil, and gently press out the battery. If you don’t have tweezers, you can also try to use your fingers. However, no matter if you big or small fingertips, it can be quite troublesome to get the battery out.
Some watches are held in with a spring-loaded bridge on top of the battery. However, this is just to secure the battery. In 99% of quartz watches, the battery can be pushed out. There is no need to screw out any of the internal parts of the watch to replace the battery.
Step 4: The battery is now out, and you are ready to put in a new battery to replace the old. If you have tweezers, gently insert the battery into its place and push it down to make sure it is secured. If you don’t have tweezers, you can use your fingers for this step as well. Just keep in mind that your fingers must stay away from the coil.
Step 5: You can now close the case back. A snap-back case back is “just” snapping it back into place. However, you have to make a note of the groove in the case back. This groove must be placed where the stem/crown is. If the groove is not aligned to the stem, you can’t fit the case back, back on.
If you have a screw-down case back, you simply just screw it back on. Make sure it is tightly wound.
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