My Seiko World Timer watch, which I bought in 1994, had been sitting in a drawer for some time because it had a dead battery. Today I took it to a local watch repair guy that a friend of mine always uses. This guy, who runs a one-man shop, has been repairing watches for many years and
really seems to know his stuff. He told me that the battery had leaked, and he couldn't get the watch running with a new battery, due to some corrosion inside the watch. He suggested sending it to Seiko to have it repaired, which I will probably do, since this watch has sentimental value for me. It has a jewel-like quality to it, and it was actually made in Japan. I suspect many new Seiko watches may be built in China, even if the movements are still made in Japan.
The watch repair guy pointed out two important things:
1) Replace watch batteries as soon as the watch stops running. Sometimes they will leak when exhausted and sometimes they won't, but don't take a chance.
2) Use good quality batteries. He recommends Maxell batteries. The one that leaked was Ray-O-Vac, which he considers to be a low-quality watch battery. He also dislikes Energizer watch batteries for the same reason.
My $40 Casio altimeter watch had been sitting for many years with dead batteries (it takes two), and they didn't leak. These were the Sony batteries originally installed by Casio. Naturally, the battery in my prized $200 Seiko leaked instead. This was the cheap Ray-O-Vac replacement battery. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for.
This was a very unpleasant lesson learned the hard way. I thought I should pass this information along in case it can be of use to the watch enthusiast readers of your blog.