Many expensive timepieces come with a degree of waterproofing or ‘water-resistance’, but not many people know what this actually means.
The indication of the degree of water resistance described either in meters, or in bars (1 bar = 10 meters = 33 feet) is a technical term used within the industry but does not correspond to an exact depth. When a watch is said to be ‘water-resistant to xx meters’, this does not mean that the watch can be worn to this depth but that the watch is able to resist pressure equivalent to a static immersion up to the stated depth. Damage can still be caused by the wearer’s movements; e.g. diving, jumping and swimming, as well as the force of the water.
A unique feature of a waterproof watch is the helium release vent. This ultra-professional element found in watches that are resistant to depths of 2000-3000 meters.The valve helps to balance out pressure differences between the exterior and interior, and when it hits an internal pressure of about 3 bars, the valve automatically vents the helium accumulated to prevent the case from exploding.
Seal and gasket replacement
The water resistance of the case is ensured by a sophisticated seal system which can be affected by a number of external factors such as perspiration, heat, temperature changes, ultraviolet rays, chlorine or salt water, chemicals, cosmetics and dust. It is vital to get them replaced regularly. If you use your watch underwater quite frequently, then it is recommended that all the gaskets be changed every time you send your watch in for maintenance service.
Screw-lock crowns & push pieces
Watch models designed for use in water are generally equipped with screw-lock crowns to guarantee water resistance. Before any checks can be done on the crown, it will have to be removed by unscrewing it and subsequently screwed back in again to lock it. The same principle applies to screw-lock push pieces, which cannot be activated unless the ring holding them in place has been unscrewed.
When to service your waterproof watch
The frequency of servicing your waterproof watch depends on how, and how often you use your watch in water. Maintenance service for mechanical models include cleaning and oiling the escapement and the balance, checking the parameters of the working of the movement as well as the watch’s other functions. For quartz models, battery change is necessary, plus routine check and set of the movement. All watches undergo the standard case and metal bracelet cleaning, seal replacement and waterproofing test.
Do’s and Don’ts with your waterproof watches
- DO treat your watch well. If you are not sure if it is water-resistance then avoid using it in water at all cost.
- DO have your watch tested for water-tightness at least once a year as the gaskets responsible for water-resistence will harden and shrink over time or wear out with use.
- Only change the day/date when the watch is completely dry to prevent moisture from seeping in, and always remember to push the crown in firmly after re-setting. DO NOT force if it feels tight or jammed.
- If you notice moisture or condensation under the glass, bring the watch to a reputable service center immediately. DO NOT try to open the case yourself.
You may contact Grand Montre for more information on service and maintenance of your waterproof watch.