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Splash Proof Or Water Resistant?


Running_man
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When watches are designated splash proof, what level of water exposure can they stand? I wouldn't ever be daft enough to swim with one on but what about accidental submergence or prolonged exposure such as torrential rain?

In the Seiko manuals, they say that splash proof only goes as far as light splashes, i.e. car washing but a military watch such as the O&W MP or a CWC, both of which are (to my knowledge) designated splash proof and were designed to meet military standards surely must be able to stand more exposure? I even recall the first ever Swatch watches in the 80's had adverts showing people swimming with them on.

My interpretation of splash proof is a watch that one wouldn't intentionally get wet but occasional saturation without heavy pressure wouldn't do tham any harm.

I'd be interested to hear other opinions....

Thanks in advance,

Andrew.

:)

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imo watch depth ratings are highly misleading ,this is a rough guide i show 'inexperienced' ppl who want a dive watch.

50 feet [15m] Get wet at your own risk.

100 feet [30m] Watch should withstand a brief hand washing experience.

150 feet [45m] Watch should withstand swimming near the surface.

330 feet [100m] Watch built to withstand underwater depths of up to 100 feet and swift arm movement.

660 feet [200m] Watch built for extreme undewater conditions such as scuba diving.

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Ive also seen Seikos table for depth etc and it makes some sense even if the reality of whats printed on the dial vs the depth it could acheive seems spurious. Its more to do with ingress based on an air pressure test rather than water...

Also when you get more serious in the diving watch stakes with 500, 600, 750, 1000 and above there comes a question as to wether these are real or not.... sure a man cant dive to 1000m with the watch on his wrist but many deep sea expiditions have strapped these watches to the side of the sub and dived with them and theyve worked ok... useful tho? maybe not....

You do also wonder if some manufacturers are telling the truth that you could seriously dive to 50m with their watch and yet some others are just taking the 50m rating to mean you can look at the time when its raining... AFAIK no one has tested the depth claim in a court as yet... :o:ph34r: ;)

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Thanks for the reply Jon. The reason I ask is that I was advising a friend of mine on a new watch and as he's an outdoors type of person, (camping, fishing, survival etc) rather than a dress watch, I pointed him in the direction of an O&W MP auto or manual. He wouldn't go swimming in a watch either but getting it saturated occasionally is an inevitibility.

Andrew. :)

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Hi Running_man here's some more info on the topic:

Water resistance Glossary

Water resistant 30 meters (99 feet / 3 ATM / 3 BAR) Resists accidental splashes of water but should not be worn while swimming or diving.

Water resistant 50 meters (165 feet / 5 ATM / 5 BAR) Can be used while showering or swimming in shallow water.

Water resistant 100 meters (330 feet / 10 ATM / 10 BAR) Suitable for swimming and snorkeling. Buttons should not be pressed underwater.

Water resistant 150 meters (500 feet / 15 ATM / 15 BAR) Suitable for snorkeling. Buttons should not be used underwater.

Water resistant 200 meters (660 feet / 20 ATM / 20 BAR) Suitable for diving. Buttons can be used underwater in selected models.

Diver's 150 meters (500 feet / 15 ATM / 15 BAR) Buttons can be used underwater. Compliant with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards for scuba diving.

Diver's 200 meters (660 feet / 20 ATM / 20 BAR) Buttons can be used underwater. Compliant with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards for scuba diving.

Hope it is of some use

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....and here is what Bulova had to say in a 1978 owner's guide:

"Water resistant: This means it has been tested to Government prescribed standards, and equals or exceeds them. These standards require that a watch withstand the admission of water or moisture if completely immersed in water for at least 5 minutes under atmospheric pressure of 15 pounds per square inch, and for at least another 5 minutes under an additional pressure of at least 35 pounds per square inch."

What it means to me, is that I don't swim wearing that 28 year old Bulova, but I do swim wearing any of my Seiko5's, and none of them have ever been bothered by diving as deep as the bottom of a swimming pool.

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Sorry guys but the table posted by Bareges (except for the ISO references) and Pugster is just way off base. What marius claims is more accurate. ISO standards does not require that a watch have the word "Diver's" written on it, anywhere. If you don't believe me feel free to have a read here (ISO charges for a copy of the standards, but Saudi Arabia adopted the 1996 ISO 6425 standard for divers' watches verbatim):

http://www.saso.org.sa/sasod/ProjectFiles/E2891.PDF

----------------------------------------------

The following is a composite answer based on my own info and those of others:

For the overwhelming majority of people (with the possible exception of hard hat divers), anything above 150 feet (such as 300m, 600m or 1,000M designations) will only be necessary if you're tying your watch to the OUTSIDE of a deep diving submersible. FYI the world depth record for scuba diving on compressed air is only a little over 300 meters. If you know of any scuba diver who regularly dives on air to 200m who is not confined to a mental institute, I would love to shake his hand (assuming he can still move it). 150m rating is far more than adequate for a dive watch, for the far majority of divers, both professional and recreational.

This whole talk about dynamic pressure because of movement is nonsense. The amount of pressure that you could except on a watch face when moving through water is very small. You might add a few extra psi, but not much more than that. You should be more concerned about dynamic pressure exerted from banging your watch into something. Tha said here are a coule of quotes from a SCWF member called spearfish that shed light on dynamic presure:

Here is something I read on: http://www.chronocentric.com/watches/wresist.shtml

----

What does "Water Resistant" really mean?

Here's the real scoop: Water resistance of watches is rated based on a laboratory pressure tests comparable to a swimmer or diver sitting still at that pressure level. But many water-based activities involve a lot of movement and other environmental changes. These exceptions to how the watch was rated may challenge or defeat the water protection features of a water resistant watch.

In particular, the water resistance rating of a watch does not take in to account:

* Sudden, rapid, and repeated water pressure changes experienced by the wrist of a surface swimmer. The force of plunging your arm into the water while swimming can for a fraction of a second greatly exceed the static pressures the watch was rated for.

* High water temperatures experienced in a hot tub. Normal diving and water activities are done in temperate to very cold waters--not water exceeding body temperature. Such high temperatures can damage the water protection seals of a watch.

* Sudden changes of temperature experienced going from a hot tub to a cold swimming pool. In diving and swimming, temperature changes are usually fairly gradual. A sudden transition from the 100º F of a hot tub to the 70º F of a cold pool causes a contraction of the rubber seals in a watch--which may allow water to leak in.

* The ability of the watch to STAY water resistant as it ages. The seals that prevent water from entering the watch will weaken and fail with age. For use in water, water resistant watches should be pressure checked every year. The seals should be replaced at least every two or three years.

Even taking a shower or bath with your watch on can be bad for it. Besides the hot water issues already mentioned, many people do not realize that bath soap is a fine level abrasive. Soap can build up in the small, precision joints of the watch bracelet links. Over time this can wear down the link joints, ruining the bracelet. This is a greater issue with softer metals, such as gold. But steel can also be worn down this way too.

-----------------------------------

similar information, from:

http://www.europastar.com/europastar/watch...sp#anchor653701

"My watch is labeled "water-resistant to 50 meters" but the manufacturer's instructions say I can only wear it swimming, not snorkeling or diving. Why is that?

The different levels of water resistance as expressed in meters are only theoretical. They refer to the depth at which a watch will keep out water if both watch and the water are perfectly motionless, says Scott Chou, technical director at Seiko Corp. of America. These conditions, of course, are never met in the real swimmer's or diver's world. in real life, the movement of the wearer's arm through the water increases the pressure on the watch dramatically; so it can't be worn to the depths indicated by lab testing machines."

Screw-down crowns on most watches do NOTHING to enhance a watch's crown seal properties (there are a few designs in which the stem seal swells a bit when the crown is pushed in). All the screw down crown does is prevent you from accidentally turning the crown while under water. This is crucial because if you accidentally adjust your time (as unlikely as that sounds) you will screw the time calculations you have timed your bezel to. When a watch is pressure tested it is done with the crown unscrewed.

Helium release valves are also bollocks. They only come into play in SATURATION diving. In other words, if you are planning on being underwater in a helium rich environment, such as a diving bell, for a very extended period of time, then and only then will your watch begin to accumulate helium inside the case. The HRV only comes into play during your ascent. Otherwise, HRV's serve no purpose on a dive watch.

Also watch ratings are not absolute amounts. In a professional dive watch, the depth rating is only a fraction of the watch's true depth performance. Don't quote me on it, but IIRC, the depth rating is usually about 2/3 of what the watch can actually do, before it begins to experience seal failure. IOW's if your watch says 200m rated, it should actually withstand closer to 300m worth of pressure before failing.

As for depth ratings here is a well thought out response posted by a commercial diver in and certified dive master:

The recognized maximum sport diving depth is 132 feet, lets say 130 feet for simplicity sake as it's easy to remember. The U.S Navy is more conservative at 100 feet for sport divers. But let's think this through and try to get some perspective. How long do you think your air supply will last from a standard 80 cubic foot aluminum tank at 130 feet, the short answer is not very long, it'll be in the few minutes maybe few breathes range if you're going for no decompression. You will be cold as you will be below a thermal layer, it will be darker, and there will be less wildlife, you will also be experiencing nitrogen narcosis. All in all, it'll be short, you won't see much, you'll risk getting bent, and it'll be awhile before you can make a repetitive dive. So, unless you have a purpose or are trying to be macho I suppose you can do what you want. Me? I'm staying shallow as a sport diver unless someone is paying me to go deep then it won't be on scuba gear. It'll be surface supplied with communications and a decompression chamber waiting for me topside and my tender will time my ascent. Oh, and I won't be wearing a watch then so it won't matter.

Most sport divers would do well at depths much shallower than 100 feet. In fact, you'd probably have a great dive at 40-60 feet. Lot's of wildlife, easy on your air, make a repetive dives sooner than later, no nitrogen narcosis, above the thermal layer so it's a little warmer .... all good stuff.

I guess what I'm trying to get at in a very round about way is ....... your watch can go deeper than you can. If they were only ever rated at 50 meters and had screw down stems most sport divers would be fine.

Enjoy your watches because you like them and don't caught up in "my watch can go deeper than your watch". Buy based on what you want or need and enjoy.

My opinion for what it's worth.

Mike

Lastly here is a quote on depth ratings and scuba from the Open Water Sport Diver Manual:

Beyond 100 feet, nitrogen narcosis can affect your ability to think and make judgments; at 150 feet, you may become somewhat dizzy. Between 200 and 250 feet, you may be unable to communicate or perform simple motor or mental tasks, and below 250 feet, the average diver is more or less useless and becomes a safety menace to himself and others.

So to recap:

- ratings whether in bars, water resist, or otherwise, when listed in a watch produced by a major manufacturer, are designed to have the seals keep out water to a minimum of the stated static presure.

- What keeps water out of your watch are the rubber seals around case-entry points, not anything else. Seals can and do deteriorate over time and should be replaced whenever a watch is serviced. Things such as excessive heat/cold, solvents or detergents can speed the deterioration of rubber seals.

- A proffesional dive watch must be rated to ISO standards, which include dynamic performance as well as static. ISO standards used to be 150m (what do you think all those vintage seiko dive watches were for) but were revised upward in the mid 90's to 200m.

- Humans can only dive on compressed air (scuba), with reasonable safety to about 130 feet (not meters). Much beyond, whle possible, and you face decompression and risk injury or serious complications.

Take care of your watches sure, but for the most part, most modern watches will be able to withstand splashes and the occasional immersion without any ill effect, provided everything is in working order.

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so basically (without doing a massive copy/paste of your answer )the answer is exactly what i said without being techincal -,we can talk pounds,psi or klingon inches,to be honest im starting to wonder if ive been blocked by most ppl in this forum and ppl cant see my answers as most replys i give seem to be echoed by other ppl.

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No Pugster I was specifically disagreeing with your answer.

If a watch has a depth or presure rating on it, and it is produced by a major manufacturer, you should be able to abide by the stated measure. If you want to know how that measure translates to real world applications read my post above.

As for the "ratings" you posted:

imo watch depth ratings are highly misleading ,this is a rough guide i show 'inexperienced' ppl who want a dive watch.

50 feet [15m] Get wet at your own risk.

100 feet [30m] Watch should withstand a brief hand washing experience.

150 feet [45m] Watch should withstand swimming near the surface.

330 feet [100m] Watch built to withstand underwater depths of up to 100 feet and swift arm movement.

660 feet [200m] Watch built for extreme undewater conditions such as scuba diving.

They are simply inaccurate. A watch from a respected manufacturer that is rated between 50 and 150 feet should be able to withstand that much static presure fully immersed, and have some room to spare above it's state rating. A watch rater for more than 150 feet, thta is produced by a major manufacturer, showd be able to withstandthe static presure of most environments where a human can dive. That does not make it a dive watch though. For that you need to meet ISO performance standards. That said, saying that the specified ratings mean that the watch can "Get wet at your own risk"; "withstand a brief hand washing experience"; or "swimming near the surface" is just plain wrong. Also saying that a watch can "withstand underwater depths of up to 100 feet and swift arm movement" if false, since thsoe arm movements exert very little additional dynamic presure on the watch. the dynamic presure you should be concerned with is that caused by sudden presure changes and striking forces, such as those caused by jumping into a body of water or the splashing motions caused by surface swiming. My point being that ratings, especially on dive watches are misleading, because they give the watch performance far in excess of what anyone will ever expose it to - including those who will use it for diving. Your explanation (and that of Bareges) far understates the capabilities of watches rated to the specific ratings you mentioned.

Edited by Isthmus
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I remember quite clearly my water resistant timex wasn't, at age 9 that's a big let down when you find something that doesn't do what it says it will.

TBH I wouldn't go anywhere near water in a watch that hasn't got a 200M rating on it and then I'd want to know if it's seals are fairly new.

I take off my watches that aren't 200M rated even when running a bath just in case they get splashed.

I certainly wouldn't trust anything less than 200M if

getting it saturated occasionally is an inevitibility.

Isthmus I'm sure your far more knowledgeable than me on the subject, these are my own personal feelings.

I don't agree with your interpretation on the screw down crown though. I thought the whole idea of the screw down crown was to give you double the protection, a seal that is around the stem between the stem and stem tube and another in the end of the crown that seated on the top of the stem tube when the crown is screwed in..

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sorry to disagree ,i dont think a 50m rated watch will able able to 'dive' to 50m, search for dive ratings for watches and you will see this,if you want buy a 50m watch and go scuba diving in it,afaik not many 'holiday' scuba divers go beyond this,let them buy 50m watches and see if the thing works after.

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I think Im with Pugster on this , I allways understood the wr ratings diddnt really mean what they say at all,

So your saying a 50m rated watch will / should be fine to that depth? :blink:

No Jase he's saying it should be fine to at least that depth and maybe even deeper. I'm sure some may indeed be that good but I bet many won't. I certainly wouldn't trust them.

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So your saying a 50m rated watch will / should be fine to that depth?

If the watch is from a major manufacturer (notice I didn't say brand) then the answer is yes. If the rating is inpresure measurements then the watch should be able to be immersed to a depth producing the corresponding static presure. Even when the watch is at that presure, most major manufacturers will build the watch to be able to withstand higher depths/presures than those it was rated for. I don't know that I would test this on a watch I really liked that wasn't specificaly intended to be submerged, but you should have no problem, walking in the rain, washing your hands, showering with it (in luke warm water) or taking the occasional swim in the pool or shore.

sorry to disagree ,i dont think a 50m rated watch will able able to 'dive' to 50m, search for dive ratings for watches and you will see this,if you want buy a 50m watch and go scuba diving in it,afaik not many 'holiday' scuba divers go beyond this,let them buy 50m watches and see if the thing works after.

pugster read my post. I specifically said that a watch intended to be used for scuba should meet ISO standards. I also said that those standards far exceed anything the overwhelming majority of divers will ever expose them to WHILE DIVING. If you look at profesional divers from the 60's you will find a fair share that were rated to 100m and 150m, and yes they were equally as capable as a modern 200m rated watch for practically any use a scuba diver could give to it (and come out alive). A hard hat diver, that's a different story.

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mmm, my ocean master is supposed to be 5atm ,do you think i would let it sit in a bowl of water? or maybe O+W arent a major manufacturer ?

intended to be used for scuba

i agree for any watch that is/has been recogised for scuba, what i have said all along as that watches are misleading ,every watch does not say 'scuba' rated ,they just say 50m,100m etc etc

Edited by pugster
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According to a Casio instruction book I have it says

50M light spray, persperation, light rain, bathing etc OK#

swimming etc OK

skin diving (diving without oxygen cylinder) NO

Scuba diving (diving with oxygen cylinder) NO

Can be worn swimming but not whilst diving!

Now I assume from that as your arm when swimming on the surface will only go about 1m deep then a Casio 50 metre watch is actually not expected to be worn more than 1 metre deep by the manufacture!

In fact it says 100M skin diving OK, scuba diving NO so even a 100M rated watch isn't waranted to be used below what a normal person can dive to whilst holding their breath!

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I don't agree with your interpretation on the screw down crown though. I thought the whole idea of the screw down crown was to give you double the protection, a seal that is around the stem between the stem and stem tube and another in the end of the crown that seated on the top of the stem tube when the crown is screwed in..

Perhaps I was unclear. yes you are correct about the additional crown seal adding some extra protection when the crown is screwed, but that is not the primary purpose of the screw down crown. If you look at some older proffesional divers you will find several that either had no screw down crown and a few that had flip-lock crowns. the primary seal, and the one that is used to test depth rating is the one in the crown tube, and those ratings are supposed to be taken with the crown unscrewed.

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so basically watch ratings dont mean what it says on the tin (so to speak) i concluded this on the previous page and most ppl agree with me ,anyone who doesnt, save money and buy 50m watches (instead of 200m) and go swimming/diving in them,you may want to spray with wd40 before you go. ;)

Edited by pugster
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Thanks for the reply Jon. The reason I ask is that I was advising a friend of mine on a new watch and as he's an outdoors type of person, (camping, fishing, survival etc) rather than a dress watch, I pointed him in the direction of an O&W MP auto or manual. He wouldn't go swimming in a watch either but getting it saturated occasionally is an inevitibility.

Andrew. :)

Andrew I would advise your friend, base on the above esp the "saturated" part to buy a 200Metre rated watch. In the long run it will be the wisest option IMHO.

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This is all very confusing :blink:

Could domebody explain then why Seiko advise thus:

http://www.seikowatches.com/support/faq/resistance.asp

That sounds about right, if a little conservative. If you figure 1 bar for approximately every 10 feet in depth, and leave some room for error, then their recomendation is similar to what I described (if a bit more conservative). Notice that both Seiko and the Casio quote only recomend Dive watches for SCUBA. That means Dive watches meeting ISO standards. It makes sense since when diving you must rely on that tool for it could mean your life if it fails. If your watch should fail while skin diving or snorkeling (both activities that do not require timing by a watch), all you have to do is come back up when you can't hold your breath any more. In other words, it doesn't matter whether your watch can withstand the presure or not when doing those activities (and my guess is that they won't guarantee that), but it does while scuba diving or diving with other types of gear.

most ppl agree with me ,anyone who doesnt, save money and buy 50m watches (instead of 200m) and go swimming/diving in them,you may want to spray with wd40 before you go. ;)

That's really mature.

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