Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance
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    Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    While I'm not going to call Squale disingenuous about their water resistance rating but I'm curious how they managed 500m on the 1521. There are other big players in the market that have less (or comparable) water resistance but are adding additional features to prevent crystals blowing off, etc. while the Squale appears on the outside to be a pretty typical dive watch.

    Seiko MM300 - 300m - Monoblock Case
    Omega Seamaster - 300m - Helium Escape Valve
    Tudor Pelagos - 500m - Helium Escape Valve

    So what am I missing here? What did Squale do to achieve 50 Atmos without a helium escape valve or monoblock case?

  2. #2
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    Re: Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by amngwlvs View Post
    While I'm not going to call Squale disingenuous about their water resistance rating but I'm curious how they managed 500m on the 1521. There are other big players in the market that have less (or comparable) water resistance but are adding additional features to prevent crystals blowing off, etc. while the Squale appears on the outside to be a pretty typical dive watch.

    Seiko MM300 - 300m - Monoblock Case
    Omega Seamaster - 300m - Helium Escape Valve
    Tudor Pelagos - 500m - Helium Escape Valve

    So what am I missing here? What did Squale do to achieve 50 Atmos without a helium escape valve or monoblock case?
    I believe you are comparing the wrong watches to the Squale 50 ATMOS. The mentioned comparison watches are designed for saturation diving, where the Squale watch is meant for gas diving. Dive watches can achieve greater depths than their indicated specifications for water rating. Here is an example of two Seiko MM's going bit beyond 3000 meters for a design of 1000 meters...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBa-NrO5xqM
    lvt, amngwlvs, that 1 guy and 2 others like this.
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    Re: Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by amngwlvs View Post
    While I'm not going to call Squale disingenuous about their water resistance rating but I'm curious how they managed 500m on the 1521. There are other big players in the market that have less (or comparable) water resistance but are adding additional features to prevent crystals blowing off, etc. while the Squale appears on the outside to be a pretty typical dive watch.

    Seiko MM300 - 300m - Monoblock Case
    Omega Seamaster - 300m - Helium Escape Valve
    Tudor Pelagos - 500m - Helium Escape Valve

    So what am I missing here? What did Squale do to achieve 50 Atmos without a helium escape valve or monoblock case?
    A helium escape valve has nothing to do with the outward pressure a watch can withstand. Divers working for extended times underwater often spend time in a diving bell filled with breathing gasses that is lowered to some depth. While in this "bell" the atmosphere is pressurized to more closely match that of the water they are working in so they don't have to go through many lengthy decompressions. In this environment helium atoms can get around the watch's gaskets and enter the case. If the watch is then returned to lower pressure more quickly than the helium atoms can escape. it can cause the crystal to pop off the watch.

    Helium (in any applicable quantity) is not present in water - helium doesn't enter watches from water and then need to be released. In certain situations when working out of a diving bell (because helium is in the gas mix) helium can enter a watch and then need to be released to prevent pressures building up too high and popping off the crystal.
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    Re: Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by amngwlvs View Post
    While I'm not going to call Squale disingenuous about their water resistance rating but I'm curious how they managed 500m on the 1521. There are other big players in the market that have less (or comparable) water resistance but are adding additional features to prevent crystals blowing off, etc. while the Squale appears on the outside to be a pretty typical dive watch.

    Seiko MM300 - 300m - Monoblock Case
    Omega Seamaster - 300m - Helium Escape Valve
    Tudor Pelagos - 500m - Helium Escape Valve

    So what am I missing here? What did Squale do to achieve 50 Atmos without a helium escape valve or monoblock case?
    I'll try to clear up a few common misunderstandings below:


    -"Normal" surface air is roughly 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen

    -As a diver descends deeper when breathing "normal" air the partial pressure of nitrogen increases, essentially leading to more nitrogen being dissolved in the bloodstream

    -This increased nitrogen saturation leads to something called "Nitrogen Narcosis" as you go deeper and the partial pressure increases - think laughing gas at the dentist

    -To avoid this, other gas blends are used instead of "normal" surface air

    -One such blend is called Heliox, and is a mixture of helium and oxygen

    -Divers working at depth for extended periods sometimes enter what's called a diving bell - basically a room lowered to their depth, and filled with pressurized (to match the pressure at depth) Heliox (helium and oxygen)

    -When in this bell (not in the water) helium from the Heliox mixture they are breathing can also slip past the gaskets in a watch

    -If they ascend too quickly (faster than the pressurized helium can seep out of the watch) the built up pressure can cause the crystal to pop off the watch

    - Opening the helium escape valve allows the built up pressure in the watch to vent out instead of popping off the crystal

    - Helium is not present in sea water, and does not enter a watch at depth - only in very specific diving bell situations when the watch is actually dry
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    Re: Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    Ahhh, very interesting answers! I didn't realize that is how it worked.

    So if you enter the diving bell with the Squale you'd run the risk of issues because there would be seemingly no way for the helium to escape efficiently enough upon resurfacing but provided you only dove down and down back up it would be good to 500m?

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    Re: Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    In this internet age any brand that was respectable would get a right slating if their watches failed to live up to what it said on the dial.
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    Re: Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by sticky View Post
    In this internet age any brand that was respectable would get a right slating if their watches failed to live up to what it said on the dial.
    Of course, which I why I wouldn't ever call Squale disingenuous, haha. I just didn't know how it all worked.

    But, if you can make an air diver water resistant to 500m without seemingly a ton of additional work why aren't brands like Seiko pushing the majority of their Prospex line beyond 200m? Is it simply to not outshine their Marinemasters?

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    Re: Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by amngwlvs View Post
    Of course, which I why I wouldn't ever call Squale disingenuous, haha. I just didn't know how it all worked.

    But, if you can make an air diver water resistant to 500m without seemingly a ton of additional work why aren't brands like Seiko pushing the majority of their Prospex line beyond 200m? Is it simply to not outshine their Marinemasters?
    I'm a fan of Seiko, but I also own a Squale 1521.

    There are many brands that under rate their watches (Seiko, for instance) and a significant number who likely over-rate their watches (many micros, for instance).

    I think Squale falls somewhere in between the two. The 1521 is a historically significant model and Squale used to supply this case to Bancpain and a number of other brands. It is a long running design and I suspect (assuming no modifications have occurred over the years) the case would likely survive to 500 meters.

    That said, does Squale test each case to 130% of the rated depth as Seiko does per ISO dive watch standards? I honestly don't know.

    Water resistance ratings beyond 200 meters are pretty much meaningless for anyone. Google says the deepest scuba dive record is 305 meters.

    Bottom line is making a watch case water resistant in today's modern machining and seals age really isn't that difficult. I've seen reports of Steinhart Ocean One cases surviving 800 meter pressure tests.

    But if I'm using the watch as a diving instrument, I'd rather know the manufacturer is compliant to ISO standards than trust some outlandish depth rating on the dial.
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    Re: Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryeguy View Post
    I'm a fan of Seiko, but I also own a Squale 1521.

    There are many brands that under rate their watches (Seiko, for instance) and a significant number who likely over-rate their watches (many micros, for instance).

    I think Squale falls somewhere in between the two. The 1521 is a historically significant model and Squale used to supply this case to Bancpain and a number of other brands. It is a long running design and I suspect (assuming no modifications have occurred over the years) the case would likely survive to 500 meters.

    That said, does Squale test each case to 130% of the rated depth as Seiko does per ISO dive watch standards? I honestly don't know.

    Water resistance ratings beyond 200 meters are pretty much meaningless for anyone. Google says the deepest scuba dive record is 305 meters.

    Bottom line is making a watch case water resistant in today's modern machining and seals age really isn't that difficult. I've seen reports of Steinhart Ocean One cases surviving 800 meter pressure tests.

    But if I'm using the watch as a diving instrument, I'd rather know the manufacturer is compliant to ISO standards than trust some outlandish depth rating on the dial.
    Thanks for the reply! I'm a Seiko fan/owner (SKX007 and SPB077) and Squale 1521 owner as well. I am familiar with Squale's storied history and respect their case manufacturing a lot, especially knowing how many well respected companies used their cases and/or designs.

    I definitely agree that depth ratings beyond 200m are meaningless for the vast majority of people but I think most people like the idea/romanticism of the diver. Of the 3300 commercial divers in the US only 336 are saturation divers (thanks Wiki!) but that's not stopping people from buying the Pelagos, Seamaster, or Marinemaster. Of those 336 commercial saturation divers in the US I doubt many, if any, are using Tudors, or Omegas or Seikos (maybe as a back up) but these brands don't seem to be having a ton of issue selling these watches to the masses.

    Maybe it's all a big toe swinging contest with our friends because, let's be honest, no one needs a 3900m water resistant Rolex. Or maybe we just like knowing that if we were to fall off a boat and sink to 500m before being crushed and drowning the last thing we'd see in the inky blackness is the correct time of our own demise.

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    Re: Squale 50 Atmos Water Resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathanours View Post
    A helium escape valve has nothing to do with the outward pressure a watch can withstand. Divers working for extended times underwater often spend time in a diving bell filled with breathing gasses that is lowered to some depth. While in this "bell" the atmosphere is pressurized to more closely match that of the water they are working in so they don't have to go through many lengthy decompressions. In this environment helium atoms can get around the watch's gaskets and enter the case. If the watch is then returned to lower pressure more quickly than the helium atoms can escape. it can cause the crystal to pop off the watch.

    Helium (in any applicable quantity) is not present in water - helium doesn't enter watches from water and then need to be released. In certain situations when working out of a diving bell (because helium is in the gas mix) helium can enter a watch and then need to be released to prevent pressures building up too high and popping off the crystal.
    Just by way of clarification the divers in these situations almost always live on deck in a hyperbaric habitat known as a saturation (SAT) system. The bell can be thought of as an elevator taking the divers to and from the work site. While there is a type of diving known as bell bounce diving it is not in my experience a preferred method when compared to the available alternatives. Normally a short term (several hours) exposure to a hyperbaric helium oxygen environment will not allow sufficient gas to get past the seals of a watch to present a problem.
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