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  1. #11
    Member lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage watch & Waterproofing

    Isthmus touched on a very important point, case back corrosion pitting is a killer. I have a very nice Seiko 6309 that has corrosion pitting in the caseback and case gasket groove. They are too deep for the rubber to compress down into and prevent an otherwise nice looking watch from reaching its proper potential.

    If you want a vintage watch to be WR the case back and gasket groove in the back should be free of pitting. Unfortunately, the type of stainless steel Seiko used in its older watches does not resist salt corrosion as well as the newer steel used, a pity because many were purchased solely for ocean diving. (Rinse, rinse, rinse!)

    Just a few that have been returned to acceptable levels of Water Resistance:




    [You may note that this one may not be all original.]








  2. #12
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    Re: Vintage watch & Waterproofing

    Quote Originally Posted by lysanderxiii View Post
    I have several vintage (late forties through the eighties) watches, I don't shower with most of them as they are on leather bands, but a few are on Nato or Zulus or the like and have had no problems with water.

    How "waterproof" any watch is based on a few factors:

    1) Caseback design. There are several designs of cases, cup-type cases (those with two "cups" that slide over one another,) screw backs or snap backs with no provisions for a rubber gasket won't be water resistant, period, any rubber gasket fitted should be good to some level of water resistance, screw down back being preferred, as the compression of the gasket is ensured, even if the gasket is worn.

    2) Crystal design. There are also several types of ways to fit a crystal, gasketed glass (sapphire or mineral,) tension ring plastic, "wedge-ledge" plastic, compression fit, glued it. Obviously, the gasketed designs will be the best as far as WR goes, but the tension ring type (especially when installed with a sealant) is just as good, the "wedge-ledge" is limited to about 3 atm, maybe slightly more if installed with a sealant. The remaining type ar usually not considered WR at all.

    3) Crown design. The crown is the usual water entry point, especially in older watches. The non-screwdown crown is capable of up to 20 atm, but the crown gaskets and the crown tube must be in good shape. Many times the repeated winding and setting will wear a shallow depression in the crown tube, this coupled with a worn gasket will reduce the gasket compression and allow water to enter the case, usually not a flood, but dampness, which is worse, 'cause you don't notice it immediately. (How many watches have you seen with rusty stems but otherwise seem OK?) Screwdown crowns, also have problems, the top of the crown tube can become damaged and not be a level surface for the gasket to seal on, once again, dampness in the watch.

    4) Other holes in the case. Pushers, buttons, helium relief valves, etc. Non-screwdown pushers and screwdown pushers usually share the same sealing properties, the screwdown collar, just prevents accidental operation of the chronograph, and seal in a manner similar to that of a conventional crown, and therefore, will have the same wear patterns. In shallow water, probably up to 1/10 the maximum rating of the watch, the pushers can be operated (assuming all is in proper shape) without water intrusion. The sealing gasket slides up and down inside the pusher tube, this manner of sealing is used in applications that operate at higher pressures and don't leak, however, at pressures closer to the maximum rating the water trapped under the pusher head will be forced agaist the seal possibly causing leaks (the pusher starts to act as a pump.)

    So, what is the short answer, just because a watch is old, does not mean it cannot be water resistant, it can, I have several diver's that I would feel safe using while diving. Further, there is nothing to prevent a watch from being just as water resistant to the level it was when it was first made, provided the necessary parts are in good shape. Inspect and test, a 100 meter rated watch made in 1954 could easily be used to shower, swim, or even dive.
    Wow! Thank you for the detailed answer!!!

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