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November 1, 2013 1:07 PM   Subscribe

is there any place in the bay area that doesn't charge a fortune to replace a watch battery?

i collect watches, although i do actually wear them. they're not like, in some boxes on a shelf or anything. mostly swatches, but some other brands too. i have the swatches covered (i take them all in during the summer dr. swatch event, and get them all new batteries and other small repairs), but i have at least 10 watches that need new batteries. there is a place not far from where i live in menlo park, but they charge ~$20/watch. a cursory search of yelp shows that this is the case a lot of places, and people don't seem very happy with the service (yeah, i know, it's yelp, but.).

is there a place where it's not $20/watch below SF? maybe even a place that might give me a bulkish discount? i asked the place in menlo but the person that was there didn't seem very receptive to a discount - i may go back and see if someone else there would be more okay with it.

who do you take your watches to, bay area hivemind? bonus if they're relatively cheap and not likely to break my watch.
posted by koroshiya to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
If you live in Menlo Park, have you tried the little watch place in the front of the Safeway on El Camino? I've had batteries replaced there for six or eight bucks. I maybe wouldn't take a super-fancy high-end watch, but for a normal watch it's fine.
posted by ambrosia at 1:37 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Safeway guy.
posted by crazy with stars at 1:40 PM on November 1, 2013

Have you thought about buying a watch back removal wrench for about $20 and doing the batteries yourself?
posted by COD at 1:51 PM on November 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Low-end department stores will do this for you at very reasonable prices. I always take mine to Sears, and my dad used to do them when he managed the jewelry department at JCPenney.
posted by something something at 2:07 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

2nd COD. If you collect watches, it's worth learning how to replace batteries and size bands yourself. Most watch cases don't even need a special tool. You can just carefully pry the back open with a knife.
posted by gnutron at 2:26 PM on November 1, 2013

Many Swatch battery covers twist off with a nickel, for when you don't want to wait for an event.
posted by sageleaf at 2:28 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Target's & Kmart's jewelry counters used to do this for free (well, price of the battery) but I'm not sure whether they still do it (or even whether Target has jewelry counters anymore.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:31 PM on November 1, 2013

Try one of the smaller mom-and-pop jewelry places -- I went to one at 24th and Mission in SF, where they did it for free. I also went to a watch store off Union Square where I was charged $5.
posted by vickyverky at 3:50 PM on November 1, 2013

Friendly Watch Repair in Oakland Chinatown is, indeed, friendly, and also fast and super cheap. I love them and everyone should go there.
posted by latkes at 10:47 PM on November 1, 2013

There's a place in the shopping plaza on Grant Road in Mountain View with the Nob Hill and 99 Ranch grocery stores. The watch repair used to be inside the Rite Aid but has now moved to its own storefront. Pretty sure they are under $20 when I have had batteries replaced there.
posted by Mallenroh at 9:28 AM on November 2, 2013

I recently got a watch battery replaced for $7 at Studio Six in Berkeley, 2390 Telegraph Ave.
posted by zeri at 1:33 PM on November 3, 2013

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