The creation of watches began in the 17th century and has become portable timepieces. Many watch owners have become dependent on a wristwatch to help guide them in getting to everyday events on time. If you are a watch owner, you may have asked this question Why Do Watches Go Slow?

Many factors cause watches to go slow. Some of those reasons are a dying battery, an alteration of the watch’s spring key, or perhaps even an impact that has caused movement on the dial, which can ultimately bind the digits. Or simply just a service issue.

If you are curious to find the answer to the question, Why Do Watches Go Slow? and interested in finding a solution. Then join me on this journey of discovery.

Why Do Watches Go Slow – Reasons

If you notice that your day is not moving fast enough, there is a strong possibility that your watch is slowing down. Many factors cause watches to slow down. Here are some of those factors.

 Watch Battery Is Dying

Batteries have a lifespan of between 1 to 3 years. Their longevity is also dependent on their care routine.

When a watch battery dies, you will probably notice the second hand jumping up and down and the watch slowing down. The watch will stop completely. Often this happens in a short transitional period.

Placement Of Watches Near A Magnetic Field

We live in a world of electronics. Magnetism has been one of the significant contributors to the slowing down of watches. Perhaps you placed your watch near an audio speaker or even a transformer without realizing the magnetic field.

The proximity of any magnetic force can ultimately affect the tiny components within a watch, causing them to slow down. These magnetic forces can range from cellphones to microwaves to refrigerators, hairdryers, or even electric razors.

Although these magnetic fields are not damaging to watches, they can significantly slow them down. Contact with these magnetic fields can cause the balance springs to become vulnerable, causing the watch mechanism to stick and eventually slow down.

The slowing down of watches due to magnetism is not a fault unique to mechanical watches. However, quartz watches can also be affected due to the steel hands that tend to be sensitive to magnets.

Removal Of The Watch Battery

It is easy to think that removing your watch battery gives it a fresh lease on life, yet it has the opposite effect—and adverse impact of slowing down the operation of the watch. Unlike a cellphone, you cannot repower a watch by switching on and off.

By removing the battery constantly, you can cause more harm than good. If you touch the battery with sweaty hands, you can drain it. Misuse can also damage the seal or cause leakage.

Servicing Issue

If you notice your watch slowing down and have ruled out all of the above probable causes, then the chances are that your wristwatch requires a service. Since a watch consists of multiple components that function together in unison, the slowing of one element can have a ripple effect and slow the watch down in its entirety.

It might be advisable to contact a watch maintenance specialist knowledgeable on the proper techniques in stripping the watch and detecting the problem.

How Can You Prevent Watches From Slowing Down?

Now that you know why watches slow down, you can try to combat it by understanding why it happens and preventative methods.

Why Do Watch Batteries Die So Quickly?

Ultimately batteries have a limited lifespan. If you are a watch owner at some stage, you will come into contact with a slow watch and eventually a dead battery. To preserve battery life, you must consider what is causing your battery to drain so quickly and how you can keep battery life to its optimum.

Here are some factors that shorten a watch’s battery lifespan.

An Apple Watch battery will die because too many apps are open simultaneously, and you fail to manage settings effectively. Another factor draining an apple watch battery could also be screen brightness. A screen with a very high brightness could drain the battery’s power.

The more features a watch tends to have can often be to the battery life’s detriment. The appearance of too many background apps on your watch could also be another culprit. A heart monitor, a fitness tracker, or downloading too many apps can drain your battery power, causing the watch to slow down.

Your watch battery is reaching the end of its lifespan and needs to be changed. If you notice that your watch battery is dying quicker than the minimum expected lifespan, something inside the watch is causing the battery to drain.

In this instance, it would need servicing, and the solution would be to take the watch to an expert watch maintenance specialist. You can escape dealing with repair costs if the watch is still under warranty. If you have to deal with repairs, ensure that you opt for a watch repair company that offers a minimum of a 6-year warranty.

It also depends on the watch that you own and what features it has. A watch with a light can drain more battery power compared to a watch that does not have a light.

How Can I Stop My Watch Battery From Slowing Down My Watch?

If you want your watch battery to last longer and ultimately stop a dying battery from slowing down your watch. You can try the following.

Pull Out The Crown Of Your Watch

When your watch is not in use, you can pull out the crown of the watch. This process will ensure you preserve battery life and use only when needed.

For those watch owners that are not too familiar with the jargon of each part, the crown is the part you use to set your watch. When ready to use it, just put the timer and push the crown back.

This process works exceptionally well for those watch owners with a more extensive collection of watches. You can preserve up to one year of battery life. It might not be ideal for a watch owner that wears the same dress watch daily.

For Apple Watch Or Smart Watches

You can adhere to the following.

  • If you are the proud owner of an Apple Watch 5, you will notice that every time you raise your wrist, your watch will light up. Although this may seem like a fancy feature to have, there is also a downside in that it tends to drain your battery, slowing down your watch.

You can, however, manage this by going to the settings up, choosing the general option, tapping on the wake screen, and turning off the wake screen on the wrist raise.

  • Check That You Have Ended All Activities – Although it does not state in any manual, once you start a workout app or any other app that monitors your activity. You have to press end after the action, or it will continue to run, draining the battery and slowing down the phone.
  • Make Use Of The Power Reserve Mode – An Apple watch has a specific feature that will enable you to save battery power. Sadly many users do not use this feature resulting in drained battery power and slowing down of the watch.
  • Turn Off Background Apps – Background apps are the fastest way to slow down your phone. Once you open an app, if not turned off, they tend to continue running in the background. It is not unique to Apple watches but also other smartwatches.

You can remedy this by going into the Watch app on your iPhone, clicking on general, and proceeding to background app refresh. Select the one you do not want to appear in the background from the list.

  • The brightness on your watch should always be kept at an optimum level, neither too dark nor bright. Apart from damaging your eyesight, it will also slow down your phone. From your settings app, proceed to display and brightness. Tap on the always-on feature to turn off the brightness. You can go back in and adjust the brightness as required.
  • Manage Notifications- Each time you get a notification, it will affect your watch screen. Imagine how it will affect your battery power and slow down your watch. The challenge occurs when you have multiple apps, and each one sends a notification.

On your connected iPhone, go to the watch app, click on notifications, select the app you want the messages disabled and turn off notifications.

  • Turn Off The Power- The constant running of the smartwatch can slow its functionality. Even though you may be resting, the watch will continue to work unless you switch off the power. Allocate the most suitable time to turn off the power.  Occasionally you can also unpair the watch from your iPhone, giving it a fresh lease on life.

What Is The Acceptable Magnetic Field For Watches?

If you are aware of the acceptable magnetic field, you will be mindful to keep your watches away from these magnetic forces. A watch can resist up to 1,000 gausses of magnetism.

How To Prevent Watches From Being Magnetised?

We are constantly in contact with magnetic fields because we live in a world of technology. These magnetic fields can have adverse effects on watches, slowing them down.

The simple act of placing your watch on top of your cellphone at night can cause magnetism. Research has proven that the closer a watch is to a magnetic field, the slower it tends to get.

If you walk through airport security, you will have to remove your watch, coins, and jewelry, due to the effect that it may have on metal detectors, which could set off alarms. In hindsight, a handheld screening device over your arm while wearing a watch can also cause magnetization to your mechanical or quartz watch. 

If you try to retrace your recent steps, you might realize that the slowing down of your watch could quite easily have been due to a visit to the airport.

You can prevent your watch from getting magnetized by ensuring that you keep your watch away from any magnetic materials categorized into soft and hard magnetic metals. Hard magnetic metals tend to magnetize watches faster, slowing them down quicker.

Examples of these are:

  • Alnico Alloy – Has permanent solid magnets used in most industrial and consumer electronics. Electric motors, guitars, microwaves, and loudspeakers are a few of these electronics.
  • Ferrite- is a ceramic compound comprising iron oxide and other metal compounds. Ferrite appears in products like refrigerators and small electric motors. A refrigerator alone includes 4 800 gausses of magnetism. You can imagine the effect it can have on your watch that can only withstand a maximum of 1,000 gausses of magnetism.

It would be crucial to keep your watch away from these metals. Although soft magnetic materials like transformers and magnetic shields can magnetize watches, their effect is not as strong as hard metals. Soft metals tend to lose their magnetism faster.

How Can You Demagnitise A Watch?

A simple DIY process of detecting if magnetism is the reason for your watch slowing down is to use a compass. Place the compass near your watch; if the compass needle moves, it is a sign of magnetism.

If this is the diagnosis, fear not, as you can still remedy this situation simply by visiting a watch repair shop with a demagnetization machine. A simple 3 step process of rectifying the magnetism by altering the electric current of the watch in just a few minutes.

The staff will complete the process using a “watch EKG” to check that the timepiece has returned to its original condition. Most stores offer this service free to their shoppers. If you cannot find a store that offers this service, you can purchase a demagnetization machine online for, on average, approximately 20 dollars.

Some watch brands have curbed the magnetization problem in two ways 

  • By introducing materials such as silicon that will resist a magnetic charge.
  • These brands like Rolex, Omega, IWC, and Jaeger Le-Coulter use a soft metal case to enclose the magnetic movement to the critical components of the watch.


Many factors can slow down a watch. Failing, you can contact a professional watch maintenance specialist to help detect the cause. The key is to check each of the probable reasons highlighted above and rule out the possibilities before determining the problem.


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