Water resistant clock
An indication of the test pressure in terms of water depth does not mean a water resistant watch was designed for repeated long-term use in such water depths. For example, a watch marked 30 metres water resistant cannot be expected to withstand activity for longer time periods in a swimming pool, let alone continue to function at 30 metres under water. This is because the test is conducted only once using static pressure on a sample of newly manufactured watches. The test for qualifying a diving watch for repeated usage in a given depth includes safety margins to take factors into account like aging of the seals, the properties of water and seawater, rapidly changing water pressure and temperature, as well as dynamic mechanical stresses encountered by a watch. Also every diving watch has to be tested for water resistance or water-tightness and resistance at a water overpressure as it is officially defined.
ISO 2281 water-resistant watches standard
The International Organization for Standardization issued a standard for water resistant watches which also prohibits the term waterproof to be used with watches, which many countries have adopted. This standard was introduced in 1990 as the ISO 2281:1990 and only designed for watches intended for ordinary daily use and are resistant to water during exercises such as swimming for a short period. They may be used under conditions where water pressure and temperature vary. However, whether they bear an additional indication of overpressure or not, they are not intended for submarine diving.
The ISO 2281 standard specifies a detailed testing procedure for each mark that defines not only pressures but also test duration, water temperature, and other parameters. Besides this ISO 2859-2 Sampling plans indexed by limiting quality (LQ) for isolated lot inspection and ISO 2859-3 Sampling procedures for inspection by attributes – Part 3: Skip-lot sampling procedures concerning procedures regarding lot sampling testing come into play, since not every single watch has to be tested for ISO 2281 approval.
ISO 2281 water resistance testing of a watch consists of:
- Resistance when immersed in water at a depth of 10 cm. Immersion of the watch in 10 cm of water for 1 hour.
- Resistance of operative parts. Immersion of the watch in 10 cm of water with a force of 5 N perpendicular to the crown and pusher buttons (if any) for 10 minutes.
- Condensation test. The watch shall be placed on a heated plate at a temperature between 40 °C and 45 °C until the watch has reached the temperature of the heated plate (in practice, a heating time of 10 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on the type of watch, will be sufficient). A drop of water, at a temperature between 18 °C and 25 °C shall be placed on the glass of the watch. After about 1 minute, the glass shall be wiped with a dry rag. Any watch which has condensation on the interior surface of the glass shall be eliminated.
- Resistance to different temperatures. Immersion of the watch in 10 cm of water at the following temperatures for 5 minutes each, 40 °C, 20 °C and 40 °C again, with the transition between temperatures not to exceed 1 minute. No evidence of water intrusion or condensation is allowed.
- Resistance to water overpressure. Immersion of the watch in a suitable pressure vessel and subjecting it within 1 minute to the rated pressure for 10 minutes, or to 2 bar in case where no additional indication is given. Then the overpressure is reduced to the ambient pressure within 1 minute. No evidence of water intrusion or condensation is allowed.
- Resistance to air overpressure. Exposing the watch to an overpressure of 2 bar. The watch shall show no air-flow exceeding 50 μg/min.
- No magnetic or shock resistance properties are required.
- No negative pressure test is required.
- No strap attachment test is required.
- No corrosion test is required.
Except the thermal shock resistance test all further ISO 2281 testing should be conducted at 18 °C to 25 °C temperature. Regarding pressure ISO 2281 defines: 1 bar = 105 Pa = 105 N/m2.
This has since be replaced by the ISO standard, which covers all activities up to specified depth and clears up ambiguities with the previous standard.
In practice, the survivability of the watch will depend not only on the water depth, but also on the age of the sealing material, past damage, temperature, and additional mechanical stresses.
ISO 6425 divers' watches standardISO 6425 compliant DIVER'S 200M marked diving watch
The standards and features for diving watches are regulated by the ISO 6425 - Divers' watches international standard. This standard was introduced in 1996. ISO 6425 defines such watches as: A watch designed to withstand diving in water at depths of at least 100 m and possessing a system to control the time. Diving watches are tested in static or still water under 125% of the rated (water) pressure, thus a watch with a 200-metre rating will be water resistant if it is stationary and under 250 metres of static water. ISO 6425 testing of the water resistance or water-tightness and resistance at a water overpressure as it is officially defined is fundamentally different from non-dive watches, because every single watch has to be tested. Testing diving watches for ISO 6425 compliance is voluntary and involves costs, so not every manufacturer present their watches for certification according to this standard.