Water Resistance Truths Unveiled...
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    Water Resistance Truths Unveiled...

    Water Resistant Mark
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    The Water Resistant mark is a common mark stamped on the back of wrist watches. It is usually accompanied by a rating in terms of meters or feet of pressure which the device is supposedly able to resist.

    The "Water Resistant" mark has come to replace the "Water Proof" and is now described by two ISO Standards: ISO 2281 and ISO 6425

    Watches are usually marked with one of the following ratings:

    30 Meters/100 Feet
    50 Meters/160 Feet
    100 Meters/300 Feet
    150 Meters/500 Feet
    200 Meters/660 Feet
    1000 Meters/3300 Feet
    These however, do not generally indicate the point at which a watch's resistance to pressure is expected to fail. For example, a watch rated 30 Meters would not be expected to survive Scuba Diving to 30 Meters, but would be expected to survive light splashing, for example wearing in the shower.

    The reason is that the rating describes the static water pressure that the watch will survive. However, any motion of the watch underwater will increase the water pressure on it. Consequently, water at pressure coming from a tap directed onto a watch that is water resistant to 30 metres may leak into it, as will diving or swimming vigorously at any depth.[1]

    A watch rated 50 Meters is expected to survive immersion without pressure such as being worn while washing up dishes.
    A watch marked with 100 Meters should be able to survive surface swimming.
    A watch marked with 200 Meters should be able to survive Scuba Diving to a depth of 30 meters.
    A watch marked with 1000 Meters should be able to withstand pressure greater than 500 Meters which is at the edge of the limit of human endurance(why buy one?).
    Because of the historical disparity between what watch makers claim, and what watches are actually expected to be able to survive, the ISO Standard specifies a complex testing procedure for each mark. For example to receive the "Water Resistant 30M" mark, the watch must be able to survive 30 minutes under water at a depth of 1 m (3 feet) followed by 90 seconds under a pressure corresponding to 20m (66 feet).


    References
    1. FAQ pages at Seiko Watches website

    Edit: Found on the "BLueDial" site, excellent clarification on the subject...

    Water Resistance and Watches


    There are several features that help make a watch water-resistant. The most important is the gaskets, or 0 rings-made of rubber, nylon or Teflon which form watertight seals at the joints where the crystal, case back and crown meet the watch case. if the watch is a chronograph, the chronograph pushers will also have gaskets.

    In addition, water-resistant watch cases are lined with a sealant, applied in the form of a quick-hardening liquid, which helps keep water out.

    The thickness and material of the case is also a big factor in determining whether a watch can safely be worn underwater. The case must be sturdy enough to withstand pressure without caving in. In general, this means a steel or titanium case or a steel case plated with gold, manufacturers say. Solid gold cases can be water resistant provided they are sufficiently thick.

    A screw-in case back, as opposed to one that pushes in, also contributes to a watch's water resistance. A screw-in crown, a feature of many divers' watches, helps prevent water getting into the case through the watch-stem hole. When it is screwed down it forms a water tight seal much like the seal between a jar and its lid.

    Definition of Water Resistance

    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. 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.

    Usage Recommendations

    The following usage recommendations are suggested by most watch manufacturers.

    Water-resistant to 30 meters (100 feet). Will withstand splashes of water or rain but should not be worn while swimming or diving.
    Water-tested to 50 meters (165 feet). Suitable for showering or swimming in shallow water.
    Water-tested to 100 meters (330 feet). Suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
    Water-tested to 150 meters (500 feet). Suitable for snorkeling.
    Water-tested to 200 meters (660 feet). Suitable for skin diving.
    Diver's 150 meters (500 feet). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
    Diver's 200 meters (660 feet). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
    Please note that we do not recommend swimming or diving with your watch unless it has a screw-down crown (also known as screw-lock or screw-in crown) and is water-resistant to at least 100 meters.

    Care for a Water Resistant Watch

    It is not recommended to wear your water resistant watch in a hot shower, sauna or hot tub. The extreme heat causes the metal parts to expand at a different rate than the rubber gaskets. This creates small openings that can allow water droplets to penetrate the watch. Sudden temperature changes are especially harsh. Take care not to jump into a cold pool after wearing your watch in the hot tub.

    After swimming or diving in salt water, immediately rinse the watch in a stream of fresh water. If your watch has a rotating bezel, turn the bezel several times while rinsing it. This will prevent salt buildup and corrosion of the bezel ring.

    Some chemicals can corrode the gaskets and make it vulnerable. Heavily chlorinated water can cause problems, as can spray-on perfumes and hairsprays that work their way into the watch's seams and damage the gaskets. (They can also damage your watch's finish.)

    Leather straps can be made to be water resistant too. Generally however, leather straps are more easily damaged by frequent exposure to water. So if you are going to wear your watch while swimming -- think of buying one with a metal bracelet or a rubber or nylon diver strap.
    Last edited by O2AFAC67; June 9th, 2008 at 17:47.
    micfin, Doc J, Liran1984 and 1 others like this.
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