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Type CR2032 watch battery (lithium anode, 3 V, 20.0 mm × 3.2 mm)
Leaked and corroded button cell

A watch battery, button cell, silver button cell, or coin cell is a small form-factor battery designed for use in wrist watches, pocket calculators, hearing aids, and similar compact portable electronics products.

They are compact and have long life. They are usually a primary single cell with a nominal voltage between 1.5 and 3 volts.

Common anode materials are zinc or lithium.

Common cathode materials are manganese dioxide, silver oxide, carbon monofluoride, cupric oxide or mercuric oxide.

The circumferential wall (can) of this type of battery is its positive (+) terminal.


Type designation

International standard IEC 60086-3 defines an alphanumeric coding system for "Watch batteries".

Examples of this code are batteries coded CR2032, SR516, and LR1154 where the letters and numbers in that code indicate the following characteristics.


Electrochemical system

The first letter identifies the chemical composition of the battery, which also implies a nominal voltage:

Positive electrode Electrolyte Negative electrode Nominal
L Manganese dioxide Alkali Zinc 1.5 1.0
S Silver oxide Alkali Zinc 1.55 1.2
P Oxygen Alkali Zinc 1.65 1.4
C Manganese dioxide Organic Lithium 3 2.0
B Carbon monofluoride Organic Lithium 3 2.0
G Copper oxide Organic Lithium 1.5 1.2

"L", "S", and "C" type cells are today the most commonly-used types in quartz watches, calculators, small PDA devices, computer clocks, and blinky lights.

LR = Alkaline, at 1.5V

SR = Silver Oxide, at 1.55V (higher performance than alkaline)

AG = Alkaline, at 1.5V

SG = Silver Oxide, at 1.55V (higher performance than alkaline)

CR = Lithium, at 3V

Package size

4.5-Volt, D, C, AA, AAA, 9-Volt, SR41/AG3, SR44/AG13 cells

Its package size is identified by a three-to-four digit code, preceded by the letter "R" to indicate a round cell.

The first 1–2 digits indicate the outer breadth of the battery (in millimeters, rounded up).

The last two digits indicate the overall height (in tenths of millimeters, rounded up).


  • CR2032: 20 mm diameter, 3.2 mm height
  • SR516: 5.8 mm diameter, 1.6 mm height

The numbers in the code correlate with the cell dimensions:

being the diameter, in millimetres (except for the extra half millimetre in some cases)

followed by the height, in tenths of a millimetre.

ISO/IEC 83-3 lists the following diameter codes:

4 = 4.8 +0−0.15 mm
5 = 5.8 +0−0.15 mm
6 = 6.8 +0−0.15 mm
7 = 7.9 +0−0.15 mm
9 = 9.5 +0−0.15 mm
10 = 10.0 +0−0.20 mm
11 = 11.6 +0−0.20 mm
12 = 12.5 +0−0.25 mm
16 = 16 +0−0.25 mm
20 = 20 +0−0.25 mm
23 = 23 +0−0.50 mm
24 = 24.5 +0−0.50 mm

The following height codes are used with 16–24 mm diameter batteries:

12 = 1.20 +0−0.20 mm
16 = 1.60 +0−0.20 mm
20 = 2.00 +0−0.25 mm
25 = 2.50 +0−0.50 mm
30 = 3.00 +0−0.50 mm
36 = 3.60 +0−0.50 mm
50 = 5.00 +0−0.50 mm

Final letters

After the package code, the following additional letters may optionally appear in the type designation to indicate the electrolyte used:

An appended letter "W" states that this battery complies with all the requirements of the IEC 86-3 standard for watch batteries.

Other package markings

Apart from the type code described in the preceding section, watch batteries should also be marked with

  • the name or trademark of the manufacturer or supplier;
  • the polarity (+);
  • the date of manufacturing.

The manufacturing date can be abbreviated to the last digit of the year, followed a digit or letter indicating the month, where O, Y, and Z are used for October, November and December, respectively (e.g., 01 = January 1990 or January 2000, 9Y = November 1999).

Common applications

Rechargeable variants

Regular watch batteries are not rechargeable. Rechargeable button cells are commercially available, but are not commonly used due to their inferior capacity or higher self-discharge. Also, watch batteries are usually used in low-power devices where batteries are replaced very rarely so there is no big benefit from using rechargeable batteries but higher self-discharge rate and lower capacity could make using rechargeable batteries impractical. As of 2008 there are some commercially-available rechargeable watch batteries, usually intended to replace CR lithium batteries in devices with relatively high current consumption. An example would be the Telong branded ML2032 rechargeable battery.

Other chemical compositions

  • Mercury batteries are now banned from sale in many countries, for health and environmental safety reasons.
  • Alkaline batteries are often found in button sizes, but provide less capacity than the more costly silver oxide or lithium cells.
  • Zinc-air batteries use air as the depolarizer, and have high capacity as a result. A plastic foil is removed before use to allow air to enter the cell.

See also



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