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My Timex Waterbury 2018 backlight was intermittent from new. This was a 60th birthday present which I really appreciated so I didn't want to try and return it in the heat of the Pandemic. After about a month the Idiglo stopped working altogether even though the watch keeps excellent time.

The illumination itself was working fine when it worked at all. The problem was that pushing the watch crown inwards to activate the light seemed at fault. Towards the end I found I had to pull the crown out slightly and then press to get the light to come on. This ran the risk of accidentally changing the position of the hands which meant I couldn't trust the time afterwards. It was getting annoying!

Following advice in the forums I used a stout bladed knife and popped the back off by lifting the tabbed part against the nearest lug. Replacing the back was going to be very tough but more on that later.

The scratches on the crystal look terrible in this picture but it's hardly noticeable in reality.


The fault did appear to be with the on/off switch mechanism so that's what I went looking for.

When you press on the crown the sprung lever should be pressed against the gold plated electrical contact and complete the circuit for the light. The spring then returns the crown, the circuit is broken and the light goes off again.

Ok so cool. I know how it is supposed to work now but it's so simple, how can it not be working? To make matters worse it did work absolutely perfectly with the back off! So I figured that I had mended it and put the back cover back on. This was VERY HARD. I couldn't press the thing hard enough to make it snap back and all that happened was that the cover 'see-sawed' around and I started to worry that I would damage it. So in the end I pushed the cover as far into position as I could and then clamped it between two pieces of wood in a table vice. Protecting it with layers of paper towel I gradually increased the pressure - fully expecting to crush the crystal - until it popped back on. I'd been very careful to clean the surfaces around the seal and replace the rubber gasket without any twists that might compromise the water resistance.

But the backlight was still faulty. Exactly the same. I guess the stem was touching the lever while the back and retaining parts were removed.

I took the back off again and decided to go a bit further this time. The stem was removed very easily by pressing the little locking tab.

I don't have a picture of it happening but when I was handling the case to get the stem out a tiny, tiny circlip fell out as well. About 1.75mm diameter. I'd never seen one of these things so small!

Here's a picture of it close to the groove it should be clipped into. I know that holding it with a magnetic pick could risk magnetising it but I tried tweezers and immediately realised that the tiny thing would go flying into orbit and be lost forever.

How am I supposed to get the circlip into the groove without it disappearing across the room?

The answer was Blu-Tack. I pressed the circlip into it with the open part upwards and then pressed the watch stem down on to it until it clicked in.


And that was it. I replaced the stem and did the scary vice thing again to replace the back and it was done.

Good result!

Considering how many Indiglos have been sold around the world I was surprised that there was just nothing like this on the internet so I'm posting to help others in the future. It was pretty easy to do once I knew what was needed. But it was also VERY fiddly and you really should be aware that losing the circlip or crushing a watch in a vice are likely to void your warranty!

See you out there,




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Thanks Moo. I have been hesitant about getting an Indiglo for some time. It's alway the backlight that doesn't seem to be working. 

But I'm sure that this is not the only reason for the backlight to fail. Maybe I'll spring for one soon. Hope that the backlight is working.

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  • 1 year later...

Hello Moo, thanks for the very good instruction repairung your Indiglo. You are right about the lack of information on the internet. Especially the good pictures are very helpfull. Nifty you handled the e-ring.

I started a topic ( Timex Indiglo light stays on) for the Indiglo (Timex M4)for a friend of mine but I haven't a solution untill now. As to be seen in my picture there is a rubber like material between the contacts. It is loose but I did not dare to remove it until yet as I do not know its function. In your picture I think I see a dark piece plastic. Probably this plastic is a kind of isolation but I don't know how it exactly looks and its position. Perhaps you can help me futher.

As your account is inactiveI hope you can send me an answer.

Regards, LimburgerAd


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  • 1 year later...

Thanks for sharing. I learned how the Indiglo light works through your post and fixed mine. The spring steel that gets pressed by the crown was misshaped. I can imagine I'll need to tweak it on the next battery change but at least I know what's involved.

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