Why you should not change your own watch battery

When my watch ran out of batteries, I didn’t think much of it. We have a smattering of loose watch batteries, but of course none matched what I needed. It took about 4 days to get to a store to buy a replacement, and in those 4 days I probably looked at my blank wrist about 7 billion times.

Needless to say, by the time I got the battery, I was ready to get that watch fixed.

There was a little tab on the back, which I obviously needed to use to pry the back open. No matter what I did, I could not get it open. I tried all sorts of tools, but the back was so tight I couldn’t fit anything under the tab to pry with. I was having so much trouble that I actually looked up tutorials on the Internet to see if there was some mystical step that I had missed somehow. Finally I found a knife that was both thin enough to get under the tab, but strong enough to not break when I pried and got it open, but not before scratching  the back of the watch all to hell.

No worries though, it was off now, just need to switch the battery and I’m home free.

Little did I know, that the hardest part was still ahead of me. After replacing the battery the watch was working fine, but the back wouldn’t snap back on for anything. I used my fingers, my elbows, my knees. I stood on it. I tried backing it with various hard surfaces. Nothing.

Again I turned to the web, returning to my tutorial on how to change your battery. Pop the back off, replace, the battery, so far so good, then take your watch in to a jewelry store and have them replace the back. What? If I have to take my watch in, why did I go to so much trouble in the first place? They could have just done the whole thing! More furious googling. “How to change a watch battery without tools” returned hundreds of results, and they all said, “Push really hard. If that doesn’t work, go get a tool.” Thanks for that helpful tip, Internet.

At this point, I started to get a little desperate. If I couldn’t get the back on my watch, it was as good as useless anyway, so I didn’t hold back. I squeezed it with pliers. I pounded on it with a hammer. No dice, and I scratched the front of the watch all to hell.

“Why don’t you just take it in somewhere?” asked Sara. “You already changed the battery, maybe someone would just put the back on for you.”

There is some small possibility that she was right, but I can only imagine the look I would get from the bored goth at the  jewelry counter when I came to them and said, “Will you do me a solid and just find this tool and put my watch back together at no charge? Pretty please with sugar on top?” Besides, I had come this far.

After a lot of trial and error, I finally managed to put it back together with a combination of Sara holding the channel locks and me using 2 sets of needle nose pliers. Success!! Now all I have to do is…

The watch wasn’t working.

The battery wasn’t held very tight, so I figured maybe it slipped out during all the squeezing, banging, poking, and prodding. So at this point I was back to square one: open up the watch. Fortunately, I was older and wiser, and I knew just how to pop it open this time. Unfortunately, I discovered that the battery was fine; I had broken the watch.

So now I’m out the money for the battery, not to mention the stress and hassle, and I still don’t have a watch. The worst part is, if I put together my list of requirements for a new watch, they would essentially read, “My old watch”.

Next time I will do the smart thing and listen to my wife.

Evie’s Watch

You just never know with Christmas presents.

It is kind of a long story about how it came to be that my brother gave Evie a watch for Christmas, but suffice it to say that it was thrown in at the last minute just so that she would have something to put in her purse. The watch is huge. I very much doubt that it would fit around my wrist; it could probably fit around her waist. The face of the watch itself is the size of my fist. It’s probably twice the size of the face of my (adult) watch. It weighs about 5 pounds, and she can probably use it to work on her biceps.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when she saw it and acted like she just unwrapped the Hope diamond.

Oh man, she couldn’t have been more excited. “It’s a watch! A real watch!” She was running around showing it proudly to everyone. “If you need to know what time it is, just ask me!” It hasn’t been forgotten since Christmas either. Every night she takes it off and puts it in the bowl next to my bed where I put my watch, and every morning she gets it out and puts it back on.

She can’t tell time. The numbers are all Roman Numerals, so she probably couldn’t read it even if she could read a clock. The watch falls off if she hangs her arm down straight. The watch itself would be huge on an adult male, much less on a little girl (there’s a reason why Uncle Nathan decided to get rid of it). She couldn’t love it any more. It’s the best Christmas present she got (tied for the best with the paper dolls).

The thing is, if we knew she would like a watch so much, we could have gotten her one that was intended for a kid. Small, light, digital, perhaps with a couple of butterflies on the sides. But you never really know what’s going to be a hit, what is going to capture a kid’s imagination, and what is going to be a complete and utter failure.