How do I change the battery in my Native American watch cuff?

Hi Paula,

Some time ago my husband purchased a beautiful Tommy Moore silver cuff watch from you.  Now the battery needs replacing and we are wondering how this is done as the watch is enclosed in silver “fingers” (for lack of the proper term!). 

The jeweler says the silver “fingers” will have to be straightened or bent upward so the watch can be removed and it’s possible these will break thereby ruining the whole cuff.  The spring bars are located in blind holes and are not detectable from the outside case.  Is there a better way?  Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,

Wanda

 

Navajo Cuff Watch Showing Exterior Wings

Hi Wanda,

That is the way Navajo cuff watches are designed.

Yes, that is the way it is done.

The exterior (decorative) wings (see photo above) are opened up.

The watch face is held in place by a set of interior anchor tabs (see photo below).

The watch is slipped off the tabs, the battery replaced, the watch face returned to its spot. Tabs folded down, exterior wings folded down and and locked securely into place. 

Vintage Watch Cuff with Exterior Wings and Interior Tabs Opened

Most jewelers that have done it once or twice know how to do it.


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10 thoughts on “How do I change the battery in my Native American watch cuff?

  1. Many years ago, after I broke one of the wings on my first watch cuff and had it repaired. I learned to use “Self Winding” or “Automatic” watches which do not have to have the battery changed. Might think of getting him one of these. Christmas is a coming…

    Bear

  2. On my newer pieces I use a winder or automatic watches. I have many older pieces that no longer have the tabs. In this case I use doubles sided foam tape on the back of the watch, locate it onto the watch and then fold down the feathers on to it for more support. I bend the feathers back just enough to get the watch in and out because eventually it will break. Another suggestion for a watch, if you have the budget, is a watch that uses light to recharge the battery. Citizen makes a “Eco” line that works very well and is supposed to last 10 years plus.

  3. On my newer pieces I use a winder or automatic watches. I have many older pieces that no longer have the tabs. In this case I use doubles sided foam tape on the back of the watch, locate it onto the watch and then fold down the feathers on to it for more support. I bend the feathers back just enough to get the watch in and out because eventually it will break. Another suggestion for a watch, if you have the budget, is a watch that uses light to recharge the battery. Citizen makes a Eco line that works very well and is supposed to last 10 years plus.

  4. I bought a pawn native american watch cuff online (it was missing the watch). I really like the cuff, but am not sure i will like it with the watch. The wings are more straight and somewhat small than others I see online. I am not sure the wings will cover the watch face. Can someone help me figure out what this watch will look like with a replacement watch? Is there someway I can post a photo here? I don’t live in the southwest and most jewelers here have not dealt with this kind of watch. The dealer said the watch could take up to a 1 inch watch with 1/2 pin. I actually have a broken 1 inch 12mm round watch that I can put in place, but i don’t see how to cover ends of the watch nicely with the small wings on the watch. I really appreciate any help you have…otherwise i will probably return the watch. thanks!

    • If by feathers you mean the top fans, you can usually open them with your fingers, a wooden stick or padded needle nose pliers. There are also usually tabs under the fans, that actually HOLD the watch in place and those are a little more tricky to open. I think it is best to have an experienced jeweler change the watch or battery in your cuff watch. Paula

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