Recommended Use: Understanding The Durability Of Your Mechanical Watch And When To Take It Off

Recommended Use: Understanding The Durability Of Your Mechanical Watch And When To Take It Off

Recommended Use: Understanding The Durability Of Your Mechanical Watch And When To Take It Off Feature Articles

Luxury watch durability is an important issue to both consumers and retailers. People who spend money on expensive watches have a certain expectation of strength and durability, and those expectations aren't always met. We are talking about the type of activity a timepiece is designed for and when it is likely to break. In short, there is an educational and informational problem in the watch industry surrounding the issue of explaining to customers when wearing their new high-end watch is a good or bad idea.

I recall a few months ago leading a seminar about watches to a group of retailers. A few jewelry and watch retailers began to complain that watch brands don't do enough to tell customers what is and is not appropriate when it comes to how to wear their watches. It seemed that people would go rock climbing with their new Patek Philippe or Swimming with their new Chopard dress watch. The consumers would then angrily return to the store complaining that their new "incredibly expensive watch" was breaking too easily and that this was not acceptable. Warranties did not apply when it was found that a Patek Philippe watch was dropped from 50 feet or that a watch with a water resistance of 30 meters was taken swimming.

Recommended Use: Understanding The Durability Of Your Mechanical Watch And When To Take It Off Feature Articles
Sporty looks often conceal delicate mechanisms: pictured here is a Chopard LUC perpetual calendar module removed from the base movement

Considering the issue, I feel that the retailers had a good point. It is one thing for experts such as myself and other seasoned watch lovers to know when and when not to wear a watch, but the general luxury consuming public (if there is such a thing) should not be held to the same standards. Watch makers are often very poor at explaining the suggested durability of their timepieces, and when watches break, it is often the consumers who suffer.

Let's be clear that what I am referring to isn't a defective or poorly designed watch case or movement that breaks under normal wear. There is a larger problem of complicated watch movements being released for sale before they are actually ready for prime time. Those are altogether different issues, and unrelated to what I am talking about today. I am speaking about the notion of people understanding in what instances they can wear their otherwise well-performing watches. This is about knowing what activities your wrist watch was designed for, and when to take it off your wrist.

Most of the innovations related to timepieces over the last 100 years have been in the realm of durability. We have seen the water resistant watch, the dust-resistant watch, the shock-resistant watch, the diving watch, the flying watch, the anti-magnetic watch, the vibration-resistant watch, and more. Each of these innovations have been developed in order to protect the delicate mechanical movements inside of a watch case from wear, environmental hazards, or the daily abuse a watch can suffer from being jolted around on someone's wrist.

Having said that, not all watches are created equally, even though timepieces made today are far more durable than ever. When it comes down to it each individual watch has its own level of durability, and watch brands and retailers should be aware that consumers need to be notified how to wear their watches.

Recommended Use: Understanding The Durability Of Your Mechanical Watch And When To Take It Off Feature Articles
The Omega Aqua Terra, resistant to magnetic fields up to 15,000 Gauss

To a degree, much of this is common sense. Would you wear expensive dress shoes hiking? Probably not. Is a tuxedo the best outfit for going swimming? No. Consumers should understand that the theme/style of their watch helps define how they are meant to be worn. Dress watches are not for sport, but are all sport watch created equally? Unfortunately not.

Despite what seems logical to many of us, stories of people taking their new dress watches into the wild are all to common, and results are often rather sad (meaning expensive repairs). This is especially the fact with consumers who invest in some of the world's  most expensive complicated watches. There is the story of the guy who likes to wear tourbillons while jet skiing, and the story of the guy who went swimming with his Blancpain 1735. These and other tales of timepiece bravery (or idiocy) are more common than you might expect.

Water getting into a watch movement is perhaps the worst thing that could happen. Watch movement's don't just dry and go back to normal, but in most instances rust quickly develops and literally destroys a movement. Dust is perhaps less damaging, but still something you want to keep out of your watch. Why are so many high-end watches getting wet?

Recommended Use: Understanding The Durability Of Your Mechanical Watch And When To Take It Off Feature Articles

One issue is the watch industry's very poor practice of how they define water resistance. Watches that are literally no more than "splash-resistant" are often labeled as "water-resistant" or "water resistant to 30 meters." Nothing in the watch industry is more misleading than a watch labeled with "30 meters of water resistance."

If you think about it, 30 meters is actually pretty deep. That is a recreational dive. No watch water resistant to 30 meters is actually rated to be submerged in water. So why then do so many watches even say 30 meters? It really has to do with how they are rated which is often with air pressure and not actually in water. The gentle seals are tested with the equivalent air pressure that being 30 meters under water would give. In the real world, these things are very different. Thus, 30 meters of water resistance quite literally does not mean your watch is resistant to being submerged down to 30 meters.

So what can you do with a watch that is water resistant to 30 meters? More or less wash your hands, if that. In this article and the gallery below, I've included a few different watch water resistance charts. You'll notice that each of these seems to actually disagree on just what you can do with a 30 meters water resistant watch, but more agree that it is OK for "accidental splashes only." Some say that maybe you can be in the rain or wash your car with the watch.

It isn't until 50 meters of water resistance that a watch is deemed OK for light swimming or being under any water. Some brands feel that 50 meters of water resistance is OK for showering with your watch on, but we generally advise against that. Why? Well, the heat pressure of shower water create a special situation that should generally be avoided as it can force water into a watch and overstress parts like rubber gaskets.

  • If a salesperson is properly trained and knows his/her product, then he/she can explain the reality of water resistance or what activities might not be suitable for a particular watch in a realistic, informed and reassuring way without having the customer balk at buying the watch he was considering. I think erring on the conservative side helps as well.
    Customer (looking at Panerai 312 automatic 1950): This is cool…can I go swimming with it in the pool or at the beach?
    Salesperson: Absolutely – and it comes with a rubber strap – but make sure you rinse it off with tap water afterwards as chlorine and salt water may affect the gaskets and seals. Have the watch checked for water resistance every couple years if you do go into water regularly.
    C: Can I go scuba diving with it as well?
    S: Well personally I wouldn’t…though it’s rated for 300m, let’s face it, it’s not a purpose built scuba diving watch and if you’re a *regular* diver, I’d consider getting either something with a lot higher depth rating or something with 300m rating, a screw in crown AND a dive bezel.
    C: OK then what about the Rolex Submariner compared to the Panerai? 
    S: Well this is a very robust alternative and though it’s THE icon of what a dive watch should be, I believe you originally stated you wanted something to “set yourself apart from the office crowd”… 
    Etc, etc etc….

  • Ilow

    I have been told playing tennis with a certain diver will be ok, but best avoid golf… Draw from that advice what you will, but what it tells me is “don’t risk it”. Yes there should be clear don’ts in every instruction book.
    Rather than sports that are rarely played (just take the watch off for 2 hrs if you do) how about for more spontaneous/daily shocks such as hand clapping or mosquito swatting? How vigorously may one applaud whilst wearing a mechanical watch?

  • Victore

    there is an old Ulysse Nardin (GMT +/-) which looks awfully close to the Patek Annual Calendar shown in the first picture. White dial and all 🙂

  • Ulysses31

    I think for high-end watches the WR rating isn’t sufficient – people should be told more.  With hard disks, we are freely told what kind of shock the mechanism can handle, both operating and non-operating.  The numbers might be difficult to interpret but at least someone has tested them.  Something similar is needed for watches.  They are fragile, but nowadays people are so detached from the technology and machinery involved in their everyday lives that they don’t appreciate the limitations.  It would be common sense to us here that a mechanism consisting of fine parts would not be tolerant of much abuse.  It’s common sense that would fly over the heads of the average consumer.  Trouble is, if the manufacturers were to raise awareness of the special care these watches need, the consumer might mistakenly see this as weakness or poor design and be put off a purchase.  Perhaps movements could be built with more flexible synthetic materials that give but won’t break under stress – i’m thinking more use of silicon parts for example.

  • Ulysses31 Or a Richard Mille with cable suspension – suitable for whacking tennis balls.

  • Chaz_Hen I had a similar discussion with my doctor when I sold him one of my watches. I told him that the 50 meter rating means it is fine for washing his hands 100 times a day (his requirement) but don’t scuba dive with it (he doesn’t dive). Swimming would be fine, but that is not what he plans on doing while wearing it. I warned him that soaps can break down the seal, so rinse in fresh/tap water if the watch gets soap on it. And also mentioned that there is no water resistance when the crown is pulled out.
    And the funny part is I put a rubber strap on the watch for him (since he will be washing his hands so much), but when I showed a nice blue alligator strap, he decided to use that one for daily use even though it will not last all that long. I did give him the rubber strap and a springbar tool. But he was honest and said he would just wear the alligator until it was ruined. And that he wanted me to keep more blue ‘gator straps in stock so he can one when he needs it. Oh yeah, and he plays golf and wears the watch while playing. So far, so good.

  • trj66

    MarkCarson Chaz_Hen Good comment, but maybe your doctor shouldn’t wear his watch while examining/treating patients in the first place? At least that is what we teach our students in the Dept. Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at the Dental School of Copenhagen. (Quite annoying in fact, as it makes flashing the wrist-beauties during office-hours way more difficult…)

  • cowboymac

    I’m new to the “horology appreciation” world and have just started to build a small collection of timepieces. It’s articles like these that provide such a huge amount of value to newbies like myself. Thanks so much Ariel.

  • RipJJ

    Thank you for the very informative write up Mr. Adams. I’m wondering if it’s possible for you to follow-up, or possibly respond to my comment here, about wearing a watch in water that is heated. My father owned jewelry stores when I was younger, and on two occasions, watches had been damaged because they were taken into hot-tubs. The horologist that worked the shops told me that the seals were not intended to handle the heated water. Also, he said that the extreme heat could cause the air inside the watch to transform to water vapor as well. And what about forced movement, like vigorous swimming or splashing? Could that help introduce water into your watch? I would very much appreciate an educated comment from anyone, about these items. Thank you very much.

  • trj66 MarkCarson Chaz_Hen And you have a particularly amazing watch on that day, you wouldn’t want your patients to think you’re making too much money 😉

  • Ilow Applaud with vigor if you enjoyed the performance but don’t be that guy that’s still going at it after everyone else has ceased…

  • IronmanDT

    Great article.  As someone who has been researching watches for about 6 months, and about to buy, this was a real eye opener.  I was aware that the water resistance claims were over stated but I wasn’t aware by how much.  Most laymen would assume a watch rated to 30m would be fine to swim in, but to find out you are running a risk when you wash your hands thats just nuts! 

    I’m buying a watch rated to 300m so it’s ok to swim in but this article has left me wondering whether I can play tennis, golf or ride a bike with it on.  There definitely needs to be more open and honest information from manufacturers, who use sports to promote their watches. 

    I’d echo Ariel’s endorsement of G-Shocks, I have two and they are virtually unscathed after years of abuse ranging from sea swimming, mountain biking, hammer drills and crawling around under the car!

  • Chronic

    This is a useful article and – – by the way – – well overdue. Next I’d like to see a similar treatment of shock resistance. What types of wearer movement (think sports) and impacts (for example, dropping to the floor) can a fine mechanical watch be expected to withstand?

  • trj66 He is a dermatologist, so his hands don’t go in patients mouths if that is the point. Cheers.

  • Wintery weather seems to ruin a lot of all wheel drive vehicles, for ditches seem to welcome more of them than other kinds of vehicles. Probably owners feel rather invincible driving them in a way incompatible with road conditions or beyond their intended application. Poorly informed consumers is not exclusive to watch buyers.

  • IronmanDT The WR ratings are static pressures. So the numbers (assuming a watch is actually tested) are real. However, movement of your arm in the water induces additional pressure on the seals/gaskets/crystals. So the confusion for the consumer is what WR means in terms of activities and depths.

    Shock resistance and water resistance are unrelated. But of equal interest. Cheers.

  • I wonder if that’s why some brands moved to rating the pressure that its watches can resist by specifying it in units if pressure, instead of water depth. I assume that this way is more honest, though leaving the decision to the customer about which specific situations the rated limit is respected

  • WimadS

    emenezes That is indeed the better way of communicating water resistance. A customer not knowing what it means will just be wondering what it means… and will probably eventually ask around.
    Whereas when measuring in meters, any customer can attribute a meaning to that and will draw his own (wrong) conclusion. And will therefore probably not ask around… and end up ruining his watch while swimming…

  • GradyPhilpott

    I think consumers should educate themselves about the products they buy and that sales staff should know their products well enough to advise.  I don’t think watches need every cautionary statement engraved or printed on the watch, but certainly the literature that accompanies watches should lay out the ground rules explicitly.

    It seems that there is a lot more money about these days that common sense and I don’t know what to do about that.

    People learn from experience best of all and ruining a $40,000 watch provides a lesson that won’t be soon forgotten, even if it’s the wrong lesson.

  • trj66

    MarkCarson trj66 Nah, not really: an obscene amount of bugs on the skin as well… but the main thing (in this forum) is that he is happy with his purchase and is well instructed in how to take good care of it. Good job.

  • chabusch

    And this is exactly why I do not own any mechanical watch, although I really wanted to have one. I had many expectations about my ideal watch, so I made my own research. When I did not find the required information, I contacted the manufacturers directly. There wasn’t any manufacturer that could give me a comprehensive reply based on measurements. For example, Certina did not even care to reply.

  • Ulysses31

    chabusch Certina make a nice range of quartz models you could choose from.  They’re a brand I considered years ago.  Maybe they didn’t reply due to the fact that they’re relatively small and obscure – not that that is a good excuse.

  • bapackerfan Funny that you mention that. EPA MPG on cars is very much like WR on watches. The stated MPG is basically what you will never see. A maximum, yet unobtainable, value. A real world do not exceed value. Cheers.

  • antjay

    I can’t see MB&F testing several examples of each model produced to destruction , but I would gladly volunteer to help Hublot carry out such a task . Hell , I’d even supply my own hammer !

  • RipJJ I think you more or less answered your own good question – and that is it is generally a poor idea to wear watches in heated water because of not only the production of possible condensation, but also that the gaskets and seals aren’t designed to handle being “cooked.” This is one of the reasons that watches are not a good idea to take into the shower or a bath. They might do well for a while, but the heat will age some of the parts much faster. So even if the metal and crystal are unscathed, some of the smaller elements you don’t notice can be poorly affected.

  • RipJJ

    Thank you for the confirmation of what I had heard. I trust you as a source, and I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

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  • DG Cayse

    Chronic I would add repetitive vibration. Think motorcycle riding for example.
    I also will say that dust, IMO, should be of more concern. Proper screw-in crowns and gaskets require maintenance to maintain their seal.
    Fine grit and sand play havoc with a mechanical movement.

  • graham3

    Very informative article, thank you. It’s actually very confusing how water resistance is calculated for watches. The analogy of shoes is very straightforward and an easy way to understand it for anyone who has stepped in a puddle with dress shoes on can attest.

    However there is on unintended consequence of this article. Apparently I really want a watch delivered like a goldfish in a bag! For some reason there are at least six different kinds of awesome in that and I would totally keep it in the bag when I wasn’t wearing it.

  • spiceballs

    GradyPhilpott  yes, but if “30m water resistance” doesn’t actually mean that then that is misleading and should NOT be stated.  Similarly, for 50m, 100m etc.  Either it is or it isn’t.  OK, may need qualification (ie, providing not subjected to rough handling or striking, or some such?) but if simply immersed whilst swimming, diving and the like then in my opinion the damn watch should be able to take it, if it sated on the watch.

  • spiceballs

    MarkCarson IronmanDT  sorry but I think that the “additional pressure” induced by moving your arm thru water is negligible, unless you going exceedingly fast.  So apart from some cautionary advice from the maker if the watch sates it can take (say) 30m water pressure then it should.

  • spiceballs

    Great article and good points.  Its about time (pun intended) that (some) watch makers were a lot more truthful about their claims. Who regulates them and why aren’t they held to account?  Shoe analogy is good as I well know that some waterproof shoes claims are rubbish, notwithstanding their robustness.  Car mpg is another good example of misleading claims, and I can think of several Asian brands whose claimed MPG are so far divorced from reality as to be near lies.. And so I feel about watch company claims – if you hadn’t already discerned.

  • spiceballs

    aBlogtoWatch RipJJ  plus even small expansions (under the heat – esp spa pools) can result in poor sealing and leakage.

  • MarkCarson bapackerfan The EPA MPG is just that, the MPG observed in the course devised by the EPA.  The fact that it rarely resembles actual driving in actual use is not the carmaker’s fault, but the EPA which mandates those stickers.

  • spiceballs Claims about mileage on EPA stickers are audited.  What is misleading is the EPA defined test cycle in which the mileage is observed.  Different cars will yield different results in different usage patterns, which may or may not agree with those observed in the EPA test.

    Demanding regulation is misguided.  The EPA sticker is regulated by law, yet consumers have the misguided expectation of observing the same numbers on it in their specific usage, although the sticker states clearly that they are merely guidance figures and that they must be expected to be different in specific usage conditions.  IOW, the consumer is still expected to use sound judgement interpreting the stated figures and adjusting his expectations, which he refuses to do out of laziness and apathy, regulations and all.

  • spiceballs

    emenezes spiceballs  I agree but I did not refer to EPA mpg, I referred to manufacturer claims.  But to carry the analogy a little further, there is a world of difference between being able to drive to you local supermarket (10m) on one tank of gas than say 500 miles.  This to me is the difference between watchmaker claims and actual useage. 
    I also agree regulation can easily be misused but this is not what this is about.  Its about what a piece of equipment can withstand (be subjected to without ceasing to work properly) and from that perspective mpg may not be the best analogy.  Nevertheless to me  the analogy works on the broader basis.  That is, the consumer cannot make an informed decision if the information provided is misleading.  Surely only the manufacturer can advise that?.

  • spiceballs I would imagine that the additional pressure that your motion underwater creates would essentially be a fixed amount of pressure. That is, you can only move your arm so fast under your own power and that does not change with depth. So even if you could create, let’s say, the extra pressure of 50 meters, then a 100 meter WR rated watch would still be good for 50 meters, a 200 meter watch good for 150 meters, a 300 meter watch good for 250 meters, etc. I picked 50 meters (which is really a lot of pressure – roughly 5 times atmospheric pressure) as everyone seems to agree that a 50 m WR rated watch has some actual water resistance.
    So if I’m right (and my wife says I never am), then even a 100 m rated watch is good for diving  to  50 meters (165 feet). This is a decompression dive and far deeper than casual diving (I know as I have been that deep and you spend more time hanging off than on the bottom). So even a 100 m rated watch is probably for good for all snorkeling and most recreational (not professional) scuba diving. Unless you make your living diving, you don’t need even a 200 meter WR rated watch let alone one good for even more. I think there is too much fear factor at play. I would like to hear from a physicist on how pressure a moving creates and if that changes with depth or not.

  • spiceballs You would think so, but as they always say in the discalimer: YMMV (your mileage may vary). Which invariably means, you will see less than these numbers. I don’t think that number like WR on watches or MPG on care are worthless. Rather that they should be used for a basis for comparison and not be used as expectations of actual results.

  • spiceballs

    MarkCarson spiceballs  – – – my wife says the same  – –  but as an engineer I cannot see that movement is going to create an increased pressure even approaching 10m (head of water) let alone 50m – Bernoulli’s equation?  Now I have only ever dived to around 65m max and I wouldn’t want to go any deeper for the reasons you mention and that even with high vis you’d need a good light to see the coral/fish colors.  In that case yes I’d want my 100m rated watch not to leak, unless of course I bashed it with my knife or against something.  But if I was just swimming or snorkeling to say 5m depth I’d sure as hell want my “30m rated watch” to work to that, otherwise what’s the point?

  • spiceballs

    MarkCarson spiceballs  OK, but surely a “reasonable  expectation” for a “30m water resistance” is that you can swim with it or even shallow dive to say max 10m (and I’m being generous here) without effecting its performance, excluding of course striking it and for water with a temp range of say 15* to 25* Celsius.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case and therefore is not “truth in advertising”.

  • Public123

    emenezes MarkCarson bapackerfan Weird comparison, given that observed MPG is just that: observed under specific conditions. Replicate those conditions and you’ll see that mileage. I’ve exceeded EPA mileage. It takes some effort, but it’s possible.

    On the subject of depth ratings, there’s no good reason why a watch rated to a certain depth wouldn’t be capable of going to that depth.

  • Public123

    MarkCarson IronmanDT The “dynamic pressure” argument is largely a myth that continues to be perpetuated. The difference caused by those speeds is insignificant.

  • Public123

    MarkCarson spiceballs Where to begin?

    A lot of professional diving happens at shallow depths: there’s no reason something like an Air-King, with its 60m rating, couldn’t be worn all day, under water, in depths shallower than 60m.

    The math on dynamic pressure checks out to be no more than a couple percent of additional pressure. So your 50 meter adjustment should be more like a meter or two, tops.

    The fact is, a lot of watch manufacturers produce shoddy stuff. They just do. And that’s why some 30m watches leak when you swim with them, but it’s also why some 300m watches also leak when you swim with them.

    And there are still a few manufacturers out there producing good stuff, which is why some 30m watches do fine even when diving to 15-20m (speaking from experience).

    Engineering, materials, workmanship, quality control: these things all matter, and in practical terms, matter far more than depth ratings.

  • Public123

    aBlogtoWatch RipJJ Good gaskets and seals should have no problem with water temps that really aret far above typical summer air temps, to say nothing of the temperature a watch will reach in the sun.

    A well-engineered watch can withstands that would burn one’s flesh away, and as a “trusted” source, groundless claims like this should either be backed up by hard science, or left unsaid.

    ABTW should really avoid getting into making positive claims about materials science and fluid dynamics.

  • Public123

    bapackerfan Check out ISO 6425.

  • Public123

    bapackerfan Public123 He said there should be established ratings, and I pointed him to an ISO rating for water resistance. Not sure how much lighter this discussion could be.

  • Public123 aBlogtoWatch RipJJ Thank you for all the useful input and expanding on the topic. This is exactly what I hoped the community would provide given that this is (like many things related to little machines) quite complicated. 

    It was not my intent to make claims about materials science etc… Not only because I not educated as a scientist but also because the science related to each specific watch and age of watch is different. The best we can do is make statements and advice based on our experience and knowledge that are generally useful and considered best practices. There are always going to be exceptions, but unless we know of an entire category of watches that will do just fine under repeated exposure to hot water, it is a safe bet to simply advise people to avoid it unless they have specific knowledge that their watches are designed to withstand that type of exposure. Individual watch retailers have the responsibility to specifically indicate what their watches can and cannot do. My goal was to offer some generally useful advice and suggestions where the industry as a whole has for the most part offered little information.

  • Public123

    aBlogtoWatch Public123 RipJJ The only instance I’ve seen of a watch having issues in hot water, issues that might not have surfaced in cooler water, was due to shoddy repair work to make a watch pass a pressure test it had no business passing. When you start plugging holes using substances that naturally become runny when hot, you run into problems.

    But that’s not the norm. Seals expand at a faster rate than the metals they seal against, so in the vast majority of situations, the heat is actually a good thing.

    Good service habits, finding good service providers, and buying watches from manufacturers that take water resistance seriously (which starts in the design phase and goes all the way through to post-sale servicing), these are the things that matter. We can wave our arms whilst diving all we want, and crank the jacuzzi up: it’s unlikely to make any difference.

    There’s no way around the fact that many manufacturers do a terrible job of building for water resistance, and an even worse job of testing for it, to say nothing of marketing tactics that probably border on illegality. But that’s an uncomfortable thing for many industry people, because so many make their living ignoring such things.

  • Public123

    aBlogtoWatch Public123 RipJJ I meant to add that I understand you’re trying to provide a safe, broad-application guide for people, but where you start to get into specific explanations is where it falls apart for me.

    Good effort, but there’s already a wealth of information on the subjects on the web and a piece such as this, on a site of such repute, would hopefully indicate and perhaps even include a bit more research.

  • Public123 I suspect so also. But I do wonder if negative pressure movement which causes cavitation would be a factor. From that little I have read on cavitation, it can have nasty effects such as spalling. Again, not a problem I’ve heard as a real world issue with scuba diving. I could never move my arms hard enough to create cavitation, but I wonder about that over the side of the boat (on your back) entry into the water as momentarily inducing great pressure (shock) or perhaps a short lived cavitation. Thanks for your input. Cheers.

  • chabusch

    Ulysses31 It is impossible to gather proper technical information about quartz watches either. I spent some time with considering the DS2. Among other issues, I wanted to know more about its magnetic resistance (for a particular reason, this is an important feature for me, because I managed to kill two watches with magnets before). There is virtually no information out there about the magnetic resistance of quartz watches. Naturally, everyone says that quartz can handle more than mechas, but I need values or I keep buying cheap watches that I don’t mind killing with my day-to-day endeavors. 

    IMHO, the technical details of watches should not fall within the scope of blurry “reasonable” expectations and nobody should ever blame the customer because of having a different understanding of reasonable. The technical details should be listed in the manuals.

  • Public123

    MarkCarson Public123 You could strap a watch to a boat prop-it’s been done before!–and you still wouldn’t have any real risk of spalling. Cavitation’s a none-issue for anything that isn’t also killing the wearer in the process.

  • IvanGopey

    Silicon parts is glass. Easy to brake.

  • Oelholm

    Public123 aBlogtoWatch Pretty much only came to say just this.
    This article, while interesting, in no way adds anything to the debate. No refererences to specific test, just anecdotal claims. Public123s input in this thread should be mandatory reading or, better yet, be added to the post…

  • Ulysses31

    chabusch Ulysses31 After some digging around the ETA website I found out that the DS2 is powered by a thermo-compensated HEQ movement, very accurate. It’s generally thought that a quartz movement is only affected by a magnetic field while the crystal is exposed, and that it goes back to normal after the field is removed.  I’m not sure if that’s completely true though, what with most Swiss quartz movements having all-metal gears – unless those gears are non-ferrous.  Maybe they’re brass, I really don’t know but i’d assume so.  I guess Omega has the right idea with their drive towards anti-magnetic watches throughout the range.

  • Ulysses31

    IvanGopey It’s already used to make springs (including hairsprings) and flexible batteries.  I imagine it could be applied elsewhere in a movement.

  • Ulysses31 IvanGopey Silicon is more brittle than the special metal used in hairsprings, but they do make springs from silicon, so U31 is right it could be used and it is inherently non-magnetic and lubrication free when used as a bearing surface.

  • chabusch

    Ulysses31 chabusch actually, quartz movements are affected by magnetic fields if the stepping motor is exposed. Usually, everything goes back to normal after exposure. But rarely, the ‘right’ magentic field may kill the permanent magnet in the stepping motor. This damage is irreversible. If this damage was caused to a G10, that would be the end of that watch (at least from an economical perspective, because the movement can be replaced, of course). 

    I totally agree on Omega. If they keep this new direction and add some additional protection against shock and vibration, I will reconsider my views.

  • RipJJ

    The knowledgebase of those that add to this forum really is impressive. I truly mean that. Thank you so very much for additional information that could help anyone do more research on their own or at least know where to start.

  • I think the unmentioned sneaky secret is “water resistance”. 
    Virtually all brands use this but AFAIK, only Rolex uses “water proof” in their marketing materials.
    I suppose there is a difference. “WR” is a way of covering your posterior by always being able to say “we never said it was water PROOF”.
    This is my guess…any other views?

  • Ulysses31

    Chaz_Hen “Waterproof” as a term was made illegal years ago with regards to watches by an international standards organisation because no watch can be guaranteed waterproof under all conditions.  I didn’t know that Rolex use it, but if they do, then they shouldn’t.  If a watch case has any openings at all, it cannot be 100% “waterproof”.  Hubris is something of a Rolex trait.

  • Ulysses31 Tradition in Rolex’s case means continuing to use terms that have come to mean something else to everyone else. Note that “Perpetual” to Rolex means an automatic movement whereas to everyone else that would imply a perpetual calendar. Even worse when they use “Perpetual Date” to mean an automatic with a date display – but not even a full calendar let alone an annual or perpetual. As I’ve said before, there is Rolex and then there is the rest of the watch industry. And yes, Rolex still uses the term “Waterproof”  in some PDF files on their website, but also uses “Water Resistant” at other times.
    http://www.rolex.com/content/dam/rolexcom/e-brochures/datejust/rolex_datejust_en.pdf
    http://www.rolex.com/content/dam/rolexcom/e-brochures/oyster-perpetual/rolex_oyster-perpetual_en.pdf

  • Robertus

    I wonder if there are multiple post of mine here (tried to delete my other post copies and dunno if successful), if yes, this is the real thing, Mod plz delete all the others! Thanks

    A couple of remarks:
    1. I wonder why the article did not mention in depth the question of chrono pushers. Chronographs are popular and widespread. There are generally 3 types of pushers: one that is said to be usable underwater (Omega Seamaster, IWC Aquatimer and a few others), one that can be screwed down against unwanted use underwater (Breitling Chronomats, Superoceans, Rolex Daytona and others) and the rest. My friend (who is the leader watchmaker in the local Rolex service and he was earlier the certified watchmaker to a handful of high-end brands) told me that no chrono pusher is wise to be used underwater, regardless what the manufacturer states, not even Seamaster and Aquatimer. I never wished to use chrono pushers intentionally but when the watch is wet I either use a watch with pushers screwed down (NOT to reach a better waterresistance but to add safety against pushing) or wear my Aquatimer just to be on the safe side in case of unintentional pushing (which hasn’t happened yet.)
    2. Good watchmakers around me usually say, that the sealings of waterproof watches of different rates (say up to between 50-1000 m) are usually good enough not to be the weak point of waterresistance when replaced regularly, waterresistance rate mostly depends on the crystal (and case back) thickness. That’s why if they test a – say – 500 m rated watch at 10 atm and if the watch is fine at 100 m, it should also be fine at 500 m. That’s why the newest 300 m Aquatimer Chrono (ref. 3768) does not give me additional safety and thus can be by-passed easyheartedly over my ref. 3767 with 120 m rating.
    3. Examining the output of the watch industry regarding communication and being intentionally silent on different topics may lead to even more important issues, far from waterresistance and that is outsourcing, buying in parts and so on. And that since decades, or maybe a century by now. I think not even every watch enthusiast and collector knows that even some of the most expensive collectors items are built on bought-in parts, more or less modified. Just to mention a few are the Rolex Killy built on the Valjoux 72C, the Patek QP chronographs built on the Lemania 2310 and so on. The Killy used to be actually built by Heuer! for Rolex back in the fifties, while in the seventies some of the Heuer Montreals were built by Arola for Heuer, same watch for Longines and marketed by Arola too…. Lot of mid-up and high-end brands buy in plenty of parts, not only escapement but whole movements, mainly ETA (and ETA-Valjoux 7750), we may not even know if e. g. IWC (since 2007), Breitling and others modifies the 7750 at all or not. But they are all proud of renaming them, to stay at the examples IWC 79320, Breitling cal. 13, or TAG-Heuer cal .16, etc. What about TH using the Seiko plans for the cal. 1887… Lots of brands building watches on FP an JLC base (Vacheron, AP, others). Rolex buils some of the Tudor chronos on “ETA-sandwiches”, not even the 7750. Rolex used to buy in all metal bracelet and then decided to buy the bracelet-producing factory, so from then on the bracelet is produced in-house 🙂 I could continue these examples till tomorrow. We may not all know that the designing of the Rolex 4130 (Daytona) movement was made by the very same small ingenieuring office in Zurich where 10 years later the Breitling B01 was designed too. Not written down, only mouth-to-ear gossip, so not proven, but very likely. Building and selling watches is a good business for the swiss, has a long tradition, survived somehow (Hayek) the japan invasion from the seventies or so and they want to go on this way. No real problem with this but more honesty would be sooo nice… I know that point 3. is taking off from the topic of the article but belongs somehow to the silence of the swiss watch industry. I do not wish to hi-jack the thread though.
    With all these most of us here on ablogtowatch.com are watch enthusiasts, collectors, and so on. I have now a dozen or so good swiss watches, most with ETA 7750 and my daily beater is an IWC Aquatimer Chrono ETA 7750 ref. 3767 and have a Calatrava for nice evenings. So I’m telling all these from inside and not from outside.
    No offense of course, just my two cents thrown in. Of course others may have different opinions. Sorry for the long post.
    Regards,
    Robert

  • Robertus Thanks so much for taking the time to elaborate on the extra points Robert.

  • AMorin

    I met a guy at a GTG some years ago who would chop wood wearing his Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Contemporaine and once forgot it in his shed over the winter. I wonder how that watch is doing now…

  • lojolondon

    I may be naive, but if I spent a lot of money on a watch that was rated to 30m, I would be comfortable about wearing it showering or swimming, and I bet that most judges would agree with me. So the industry would have to keep paying out or have to re-rate their wording, which is certainly cheaper and more honest.

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  • somethingnottaken

    aBlogtoWatch Public123 RipJJ Hot water is usually accompanied by steam, are water resistant watches also steam resistant? Maybe or maybe not, but I wouldn’t risk an expensive watch to test it.

  • somethingnottaken

    IvanGopey Glass is Silica (Silicon Dioxide) the properties of which are very different from Silicon. Similarly Saphire is a single crystal of Alumia (Aluminum Oxide) and has vastly different properties than metalic Aluminum.

  • RipJJ

    Thank you for, one more piece of sound advice. I really do try to take great care of my watches.

  • AlanW3010

    somethingnottaken aBlogtoWatch Public123 RipJJ

    I think you’re mixing up “steam” and water vapour. Steam is probably in excess of 100 degrees C.

    If that’s your experience then you probably don’t have any skin left.

  • somethingnottaken

    AlanW3010 somethingnottaken aBlogtoWatch Public123 RipJJ Well, actually, I meant the visible aerosol formed when water vapour in air condenses into fine liquid droplets. This aerosol is commonly, though technically inaccurately, refered to as “steam”. Real steam, the water vapour itself, is invisible to human eyes.

  • somethingnottaken I was surprised to learn a couple of years ago that steam and water vapor are both water in a gaseous form and temperature and pressure isssues aside are the same thing as a state of matter. BTW – the clouds will be  heartbroken to learn that they are invisible to human eyes, ha ha.

  • somethingnottaken

    MarkCarson somethingnottaken I believe clouds are also areosols, microscopic droplets of water or crystals of ice so small they stay suspended in the air instead of falling under their own weight.

  • XanderMcCat

    Very few actual divers go down to 300 meters? Really that should say no actual divers one in the history of ever has gone down to 300 meters without being in a submersible.

  • XanderMcCat Wrong, but I agree that 300 m diving is a stunt and not a real world watch requirement.
    http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2014/9/ahmed-gabr-breaks-record-for-deepest-scuba-dive-at-more-than-1000-feet-60537/

  • john

    Automatics are mostly for east coast city slickers. Ya know, the types of people that wear lacoste shirts and are obsessed with name brands. Automatics are great if your biggest physical exertion consists of using a pen to sign your inheritance check, but for real Americans, get a solar quartz.

    • John Spectre

      My father’s Seiko 6309 that survived endless abuse in the Marine Corps says otherwise.

  • Spasmolytic

    I never understood people that shower with their watch on. I don’t care how water resistant it is, why risk it?