How can I reuse or recycle old watches?

watchWe’ve had an email from Amy:

Hi all! I’ve got a collection of watches which no longer work. They were all cheapy plastic fashion ones (I know, I know, naughty me! I’m much better about that sort of thing now!) so it’s not like they’ll have much value second hand. Will charity shops want them or will they just throw them away?

I guess it depends how they’re broken – if they just need a new battery, they’re probably be more willing than if it’s a broken and not-easily-replaceable strap or cracked face. Anyone work in a charity shop and able to advise further?

Aside from passing it on through a charity shop or Freecycle or whatever, how about stripping it for parts and making some steampunk-style jewellery?

Any other suggestions?

(Photo of a really quite nice watch by vierdrie)

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13 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old watches?”


  1. How about using them for tying plants or small trees to a stake. You can set the time on the hands to tell you which month you planted it by aligning the hour and minute hand. Wacky but will probably work.

    • Jess says:

      They might not handle the weather being outside but I love the idea – could certainly use it for houseplants (stick the watch to your planeter) or for other things around the home.

  2. Emily says:

    When the strap on my watch was getting a bit tatty I cut it off and replaced with a beaded bracelet that I didn’t wear anymore…

  3. shannon says:

    You can make some pretty awesome jewelry with old watches. If you like the band, try opening it up and removing the hands, gluing a tiny cut-to-fit photograph on the face and putting it back together. This looks especially cool using vintage watches and black and white pics. Or remove the workings of the watch and use them to make pins (brooch-type) or earrings. Or use all or parts in a mixed-media collage.

  4. Jane says:

    Here is a link that shows a cool way to turn watches into junk jewelry!

    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/04/12/howto-make-a-nontime.html

  5. I know the discussion is for non working watching, but I’m in desperate need of a working watch face appropriate for an adolescent boy. I’ve been looking for months for one for months. I can’t bear to buy a brand new watch just to cut off the straps.

    I’m making this:
    http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter05/PATTboogietime.html

    It’s easy to find girl watch faces, but not for a young boy. So if anyone has one that functions but has a broken strap, contact me. I’ll pay for postage.

  6. Anon says:

    I was just looking for the same thing!

    Apparently ‘Guide Dogs for the Blind’ will take any old watches, old keys, coins, etc. Marie Curie takes broken jewellery too but I don’t know if that includes watches.

    http://www.gdba.org.uk/index.php?id=2696

  7. Olia says:

    Donate to community theater.

  8. Olia says:

    For a small dog, place under the glass a piece of paper with the pet’s name and your phone number and tie around the dog’s neck.

  9. CARLOS says:

    These are the MOTORCYCLE MINIATURES that I maDe by using parts of old wathes. I think you will appreciate.

    City :São Paulo
    Country: Brazil

  10. Jim Day says:

    I have some old watch’s I would like to donate to charity.
    If anyone is interested just send me an email & I will mail you the watch’s.
    Thanks,
    Jim

    jwdandy2000@yahoo.com



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