How to Fix a Stalled Second Hand on a Watch

Watches operate using a variety of mechanisms. Whether automatic, winding or quartz, steps must be taken to ensure the piece continues to run as expected. One sign of improper maintenance is the presence of a stalled second hand. Typically, the reason for this is that the watch has run out of energy, either from the quartz battery or an unwound mainspring.


Strap the watch on your wrist as normal. Ensure the piece is firmly attached, without exhibiting too loose a fit. Ideally, you should be able to fit your finger between your wrist and the back of the watch.

Rotate the watch on your wrist, as through you were swirling a glass of wine. Repeat 40 to 50 times.

Check for movement from the second hand. Set the time and date if necessary, following the watch maker's instructions.

Manual Winding

Pull out the crown on the side of the watch to the first position. Unscrew the crown counter-clockwise, if necessary, until it spins freely.

Rotate the crown upward repeatedly. Stop when you feel significant resistance. Do not attempt to wind the watch beyond this point.

Screw or push the crown back to re-seal the case. Observe the second hand for proper clockwise movement.


Flip the watch over onto a soft yet firm surface. Locate the notches around the case back.

Place the case back opener around the indentations on the case back. Firmly grip the opener, rotating the tool counter-clockwise.

Set the case back aside. Locate the battery, typically placed under a small silver-toned retaining clasp.

Insert the tip of a small flat head screwdriver under the notch to one side of the battery.

Pop the battery out. Slide in the new battery under the retaining clasp. Screw the case back on tightly, using the opener tool.