My $85 Watch Battery–Revisited

The watch I wear everyday stopped running again. The battery lasted from March, 2010 to just the other day. I call that a good value, even at $85. This time, I went straight to the watch store. Here’s the story, reprinted from 2010, of how I came to pay $85 for a watch battery.

Almost every watch I’ve ever owned was a Timex. I had a Swatch once, but somebody stole it. Nobody ever wanted my Timex watches. They took a licking and kept on ticking until I either stopped winding them or quit replacing batteries.

My ex bought me a nice watch for Christmas (2008). I’m sure he was disappointed by my lack of interest in fancy features. He’s all about the latest technology — or was, until he turned 30. I just wanted a watch with a white face and big numbers so I could see the time without having to reach for my glasses.

We finally settled on a Swiss Army watch. It’s plain, simple, and exactly what I wanted. I love it and wear it every day.

Or I did, until the battery died last week (way back in March, 2010). When I mentioned my plans to drop into Walmart for a new battery, the ex suggested I instead go to the pawn shop for more knowledgeable assistance. Sounded like a good idea, so I did.

Rather than the pawn shop, I went to the Fine Jewelry store located right next door. Okay. It was really just a different door to the pawn shop. But I felt better about going in.

The kind gentleman behind the counter was only too happy to help. He took my watch to someone working in a backroom and returned to help a customer who came in after me. No problem.

While he was still helping the other customer, a lady came out of the back with my watch. She told me the cost was $10. I gave her $10 cash and she returned to the back room. She didn’t give me a receipt, but I had my watch so I left.

That night I noticed the watch had stopped again. I figured the pawn shop installed the wrong battery. Since I didn’t have a receipt, I decided to eat the $10 rather than return to the pawn shop.

The next day I drove all the way across town to the watch store. I told the guy I’d taken the watch someplace else and shared my theory about the wrong battery. He took my watch to a back room.

When he came back he asked where I’d taken it. I panicked. Instead of the truth I told him I took it to Walmart. He said Walmart isn’t authorized to work on these watches. Uh oh.

He returned to the backroom and came back with my watch and a sad look on his face. The watch was damaged and I would need to leave it for an estimate of the cost to repair it. He offered to talk to the people at Walmart about paying for the damage and wanted to know which of the two stores in town it was. UH OH.

I came clean. I admitted I’d taken the watch to a pawn shop and failed to get a receipt for the battery. He backed away from the counter and looked at me suspiciously. I’m not sure if he reacted to the lie or the fact I’d taken my nice watch to a pawn shop for a battery.

Today I picked up my fully-functioning watch. The cost? Just $70 for the part and $5 for the labor. When I entered the transaction in Quicken, I classified the $75 as an educational expense.

And that’s the truth.