How to Fix a Stalled Second Hand on a Watch

by David Lipscomb ; Updated September 28, 2017

Fixes are available if your watch's second hand stops.

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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.

Items you will need

  • Watch owner's manual
  • Watch case back opener
  • Small standard (flat head) battery
  • New battery (quartz models only)


Step 1

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.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Manual Winding

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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


Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Step 5

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


  • Open watches in clean, dry environments. Moisture and contamination foul watch movements.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.