How to Replace a Bulova Quartz Movement

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A magnifying lens will make it easier to see the small parts of your watch.
A magnifying lens will make it easier to see the small parts of your watch. (Image: magnifying glass image by Rog999 from Fotolia.com)

Bulova and other watches with quartz movements, run on batteries connected to quartz crystals. When quartz interacts with a watch battery, electricity is created that makes your watch oscillate at exactly 32,000 vibrations per second. These vibrations make the hands move around your watch by themselves. If your Bulova watch has stopped, you can replace the old quartz movement in it with a new one and get it running again. While a jeweler can perform this replacement quickly, you should use caution and the correct tools if doing it yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Generic or Bulova replacement movement
  • Case opener
  • 14-gauge straight sewing needle
  • 1mm screwdriver
  • Caseback wrench
  • Movement holder
  • Polishing cloth

Closely examine your watch to see what type of case it has. If it has notches or prongs in the back, line them up with a case wrench and unscrew it. If it's smooth with only a notch on the side, it's a pressure-fit back, so use a case knife to gently pry it open like an oyster. If it has four screws in the back, you will need to have a full set of jeweler's screwdrivers and try each one until you find one that fits. You'll strip the head of the screw if you don't use the right-sized screwdriver head, so be careful.

With the watch holder holding your watch tightly in place, look for a small arrow pointing to the watch stem. A magnifying lens will make the small parts of your watch easier to see. If there’s no visible sign, then look for any small screw, dimple or lever near the stem. When you find the pusher, firmly grip a straight needle, gently push it down and pull out on the stem of your watch at the same time.

Once you've pressed in the pusher, the only thing holding the movement in place is a plastic spacer. Simply remove this spacer, and the movement can be removed. Sometimes instead of a spacer, there are two or three case clamp screws connecting the movement. If that's the case, remove them with the appropriate screwdriver.

Turn your watch over and drop out the movement into the palm of your gloved hand. Discard the old movement. Remove the new replacement movement from its package. With the dial facing up, place the new movement on your workspace. Set the watch case over the movement, turning the case back over so the dial is facing down. Replace the case clamps or screws.

Push the stem back into the watch. Firmly grip the watch and place your thumbs on the watch back, putting firm pressure on it to close the case. If the case is notched, it may have to be aligned to fully snap closed. Polish fingerprints and smudges from your watch with your cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are no parts of the watch that require force to remove. If you're using force, it may be due to frustration. In that situation, it's better to take the watch to a jeweler than damage it beyond repair.

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