Garmin Watch Time Wrong – Why & What To Do?

Whether at the gym, pool, or any other outdoor activity, fitness enthusiasts just love Garmin watches as the perfect accessory. But what if you have your Garmin watch time wrong?

This can happen for several reasons, without even any fault on your part. It can occasionally get glitchy or lose sync with your phone, and sometimes, the system may crash. 

Thankfully, though, fixing this is often as easy as restarting the watch, setting up an automatic sync with a compatible device, or correcting the time zone.

Why Your Garmin Watch Might Show the Wrong Time?

While Garmin watches are usually reliable, they can often encounter problems, just like any other piece of technology. Here are some potential reasons that explain the incorrect time display issue. 

  • GPS Issue: Poor signal reception from the satellite may lead to a GPS connectivity issue, causing your Garmin watch to lose time sync.
  • Software Glitch: As a modern gadget, they are always susceptible to occasional bugs and glitches, interfering with time sync.
  • Incorrect Settings: There’s no telling if you had accidentally tapped and tinkered with the settings, particularly the time zone and time sync. 
  • Outdated Firmware: Regular updates are necessary for your Garmin watch’s firmware. If it is outdated, it may not display the time accurately. 
  • System Crash: A severe software or firmware failure could cause the system to crash, leading to a wrong time display or even causing time updates to stop completely.

What to Do If Your Garmin Watch Shows the Wrong Time?

It’s no fun when your prized Garmin smartwatch displays the wrong time, especially if tracking your workout or fitness routine depends on it. But as we’ve promised, this issue is easily fixable. Here’s a step-by-step guide you’ll want to follow.

Set Up Automatic Time Sync

As we’ve mentioned already, digital smartwatches losing their sync isn’t anything unusual. It can happen to your Garmin watch just like any modern-day gadget. 

Maybe you crossed into some new time zone, have been out of the GPS range for a while, or even changed the sync settings accidentally. 

Hence, to avoid these hiccups with time, the first thing to do is ensure you’ve set up automatic syncing with your smartphone or PC (depending on the model). Here’s how.

  1. While your Garmin watch is turned on, press the Run button to access the menu and switch to the menu tab.


  1. From there, go to Settings to find ‘System’ using the up and down buttons on the left. 
  2. Choose ‘Clock’ from the System Settings, find ‘Set Automatically,’ and toggle it on. 


While this method should work on most Garmin watches, the menu options might slightly differ on some models. So, to find the exact route to automatic time syncing on yours, seek assistance from Garmin’s website.

Check the Syncing Status with Your Phone

Remember pairing your Garmin watch with your smartphone? If you did pair it up, check the time on that phone to see if it’s correct. After all, when in sync, an incorrect time on the phone will also show up on the watch. 

But if that’s not the issue, what if you tweaked something on your phone and lost sync with the watch, leading to inaccurate time displays?

In that case, you’ll need to recheck the sync status on both devices and pair them again if necessary. Here’s how.

  1. Launch the Garmin Connect app on your phone and sign in if you haven’t already. Singing out of the app is one reason the time sync fails.
  2. Tap the three-dot or three-bars icon to access the settings, and scroll down to find your Garmin devices. 


  1. If your watch isn’t there, it confirms you’ve lost the sync.

So, if you need to pair them back again, do as follows. 

  1. Tap Add Device from the app’s settings.


  1. This will initiate the search for your watch. So, be sure to place it nearby. 
  2. Once it finds your watch, select Connect It.


  1. A six-digit code will now appear on the watch. Enter this into the app when it asks for it. Or, if it only asks to connect, press Yes.

Re-pairing this way should fix your Garmin watch’s wrong time display issue. 

Restart Your Watch

If your watch still shows the time inaccurately after those tweaks, chances are it only needs a quick reboot to get the settings to start acting. 

Just like any electrical gadget, restarting your Garmin watch should sometimes be enough to rectify smaller glitches and system errors. 

Here’s the rebooting method that works on most Garmin models.

  1. If yours has a power button, just press it down to turn the watch off before turning it on again after a few seconds. 
  2. If it doesn’t have a power button, plug in the power cable provided with the watch and connect it to a power source. 
  3. Now simply disconnect the cable a few moments later to perform an internal restart.

Activate GPS-Wise Time Zone [Source, Source]

Don’t remember turning the GPS back on after you had it turned off for some reason? That might tell why your Garmin watch is showing the wrong time. 

However, there’s no ruling out the possibility of the GPS losing satellite connectivity due to minor glitches.

Since the watch uses GPS to show the updated time according to your time zone, turning it on is crucial. 

You should also turn on GLONASS, the Russian alternative to GPS, just in case you’re somewhere out of the regular GPS range, like in a forested or mountainous area. 

Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Press the Run button to access the menu.
  2. Go to Activity Settings. 
  3. From there, navigate to GPS> GPS+GLONASS and turn it on.
  4. Now, go back to System > Time, and select Set time with GPS.

If this doesn’t show the correct time right away, give the watch another reboot. 

Check for System Updates

As mentioned, firmware crashes or outdated software can disrupt or cause your Garmin watch to freeze. That’s why you should update the system regularly to improve its performance and keep the bugs at bay. Here’s how you check for system updates. 

  1. Open Settings on your watch and select System, usually at the bottom of the menu.
  2. There, you should see the option ‘Software Update.’
  3. If you’re connected to the network, it’ll show you the available update. Simply install it and let the watch restart on its own. 


Set up the Time Manually

If none of the above works, or you’re in an area with no phone or internet connectivity, there’s another workaround. 

Since your Garmin Smartwatch is a watch, after all, all you need to do is set the time manually like we used to do with traditional digital watches.

  1. From Settings, select System > Clock.
  2. Toggle off Set Automatically.
  3. Then tap Time > Time Source > Manual, and manually input the time and date.

Reset Your Watch

A few users have reported that their watch went back to showing the wrong time even after setting it up manually. If you face a similar problem, resetting your watch is the last resort. 

While it may sound extreme, rest assured it mostly works. Below are the steps.

  1. Again, go to Settings.
  2. Find and select System.
  3. There, choose Restore Defaults and confirm your action.

Doing this takes the watch’s settings back to their out-of-the-box default modes. Unfortunately, your personal activity and tracking data get wiped out, too. Be sure to turn on the GPS and set up automatic time sync after this. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have further queries regarding the wrong time display on your Garmin watch? Here are some common questions and answers that might help.

Can I resync my Garmin watch with Garmin Express?

Yes, you can. Garmin Express, a computer-based application, can be used to re-sync or install updates on your Garmin watch. You only need to download and install Garmin Express, connect your watch to the computer with a USB cable, and follow the on-screen prompts. 

Does Garmin update the time automatically when I move to a different time zone?

Yes, most Garmin watches have an automatic time zone feature. They use GPS to detect the current time zone. However, for the feature to work correctly, you might need to trigger a GPS activity, like selecting an outdoor activity mode

Is my Garmin watch showing the wrong time due to some battery issue?

It’s unlikely that a battery issue is causing your Garmin watch to display the wrong time. However, a low battery can cause several functionalities to act erratically or turn off. So, keeping your watch fully charged to avoid minor glitches is always a good idea.


And that’s a wrap. Hopefully, this comprehensive guide has helped solve the Garmin watch time wrong issue for you. 

However, if it didn’t, it might be a more significant mechanical issue that goes beyond these surface fixes. At this point, your smartest move would be to contact Garmin’s customer support.

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