Archive for January 2013

 
 

Watches: Waterproof and Water-Resistant

Lately we’ve seen a few water damaged watches come through the repair department. It’s unfortunate when this happens, but people often misinterpret and even misuse the terms “Water-Resistant” and “Waterproof”. I remember when I was about 10 years old when the big hit in the school yard was the latest digital watches (even the old wrist calculators) which had all the gadgets imaginable, but were also what we considered “waterproof”. At recess, we’d proudly run up to the water fountain in the hall and show-off how our new watch was invincible to water; which in some way made us closer to a superhero than Aquaman himself. Fact is, these watches were never “Waterproof”, they were “Water-Resistant”.

The point here is that there’s actually no such thing as a “Waterproof” watch, only “Water-Resistant” ones. Some of you may be looking at your watch right now and scratching your head as to why it says clearly on the dial that it’s rated for XXX meters and is designed for diving, so consider the following: if you went underwater and pulled the crown to adjust the time, would water come in? The Answer is YES (for the sake of your watch’s wellbeing, please don’t try this). The difference between a watch which is designed for underwater activities and those that are not usually revolves around how well the crown seals into the watch; usually by screwing it in (i.e., screw-down crown). When the crown is properly screwed-in the watch is said to be water tight; however, if it isn’t, water easily makes its way into the watch ruining a few things along the way.

The same is also true for your chronograph buttons. Normally, on high-end diving watches, these button also screw-in to avoid the mistake of pushing one while under water. If these buttons are pushed while under water they act as a pump which sucks water into the watch (again, ruining a few things along the way).

Another important factor to consider with regards to water-resistance is a watch’s depth rating. For instance, a watch which is rated for 50 meters can withstand 5 atmospheres of pressure. Essentially, this means that the watch can withstand 5 atmospheres of water pressure while completely immobile. The caveat here is that when you’re doing water sports you’re never at a standstill; in fact, when you’re swimming you’re likely creating much more pressure pushing water with your hands than your watch can handle. As another example, imagine the pressure which would be exerted if you fell while waterskiing at a speed of 25mph (I’ll spare you, and myself the physics lesson). You’re not in deep water, but the pressure exerted on the watch mimics pressure at a depth much deeper. Thus, it’s not as much about water depth, it’s more about water pressure.

The two points to take out of this are:

1)      To label a watch as “Waterproof” is a misnomer; there are only Water-Resistant watches and only when they’re used properly.

2)      If you plan on wearing your watch under water, choose your watch accordingly.

Kind regards,

 

The La Mine d’Or Family

Watch Maintenance

People often wonder why watch repairs cost so much; particularly if they own a high-end watch such as Rolex or TAGHeuer. Normally, the answer revolves around the lack of maintenance done on their timepiece, which has in turn damaged the watch. That being said, few people understand that regular maintenance should be done on their timepiece; usually every five years.

Consider this: a watch movement is similar to a car engine. They’re fuel normally comes from a battery (i.e., quartz watches) or from the movement of your wrist which winds the watch (i.e., automatic watches). Like car engines, watches have many moving parts such as metal springs, gears, and even synthetic rubies which are used as friction points (i.e., “17 jewels”). These parts are oiled in order to reduce friction, which in turn keeps the watch working smoothly. As you can imagine, these oils eventually dry up. When this happens, metal rubs on metal and metal rubs on rubies; this is the equivalent of running a car without oil and is where expensive damage is normally done.

 

 

So what should you do?

1)      First off, you should ask your authorized retailer how often the manufacturer recommends maintenance should be done; usually every five years. Perform this maintenance.

2)      Second, even if you don’t wear a battery operated watch, it keeps running (automatic watches stop after a few days without being worn). Pulling the pin stops the watch; however, it lets air and moisture enter the watch, so this is not recommended.

3)      If your battery dies, get it replaced as soon as possible. It lowers the chances of your old battery leaking inside your watch.

Lastly, like a car, a watch that’s properly maintained lengthens battery life and keeps more accurate time. If your watch battery dies often or your watch looses or gains more than 4 minutes per month, you’re likely overdue for a check-up.

Taking care of your timepiece will ensure your investment adorns your wrist for years to come.

Kind regards,

 

The La Mine d’Or Family