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Battery or Power Cell?

by J.Peter

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One of the less glamorous things I get to do as a watchmaker is to change batteries in quartz watches. While not very glamorous, it pays well. Quartz watches rely on an electric current both for accurate timekeeping and to pulse a motor which moves the hands. Most quartz watches have either a 1.5V silver-oxide power cell or a 3V Lithium power cell. Why do I call them power cells you ask?

There must have been a watchmaker at our store who was very insistent that power cells be properly referred to as such and not batteries, because everyone calls them by there proper name.

bat·ter·y [bat-uh-ree] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun, plural -ter·ies.

1. Electricity.

a. Also called galvanic battery, voltaic battery. a combination of two or more cells electrically connected to work together to produce electric energy.

b. cell (def. 7a).

2. any large group or series of related things: a battery of questions.

3. Military.

a. two or more pieces of artillery used for combined action.

b. a tactical unit of artillery, usually consisting of six guns together with the artillerymen, equipment, etc., required to operate them.

c. a parapet or fortification equipped with artillery.

4. a group or series of similar articles, machines, parts, etc.

battery. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved January 21, 2008, from website:

So, you see while the battery in your car has several cells, the one in your watch is actually a single cell (not a group of them.)

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5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] I had two watches which needed new power cells and water resistance tests. One of them passed the test and the other failed. The watch that failed […]

  2. […] will help you prolong the life of your watch. Is it worth the risk? Probably not, those little power cells aren’t very expensive, even when installed by a […]

  3. […] the movement adding the chronograph function. Running either of these all the time will cause your power cell to deplete faster but the forces are so small that the parts aren’t going to wear out any […]

  4. […] was a Timex, and I don’t normally perform repairs on Timex watches. He had tried to install a power cell himself, and the watch wasn’t running. It was an all digital Timex with screws on the case […]

  5. […] I am called upon to size bracelets on newly sold watches (and other watches too), change power cells, answer customers technical questions, fix computer problems, and a myriad of other things. […]

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