Etikettarkiv: wristwatch

Submersible watches

When you read ads for watches you see specifications such as ”water resist 10m” and you wonder what that actually means and how it compares to ”water proof 30 ft.” or similar.

First of all watches and water do not mix very well. Unless your watch is actually a scuba watch, do not go scuba diving with it. Even if it says that it is ”water resistant 50 m” it does not mean that you can take it down 20 m below when you go wreck-diving. In fact this watch should not be taken to a swim at all and the 50 m can be quite misleading.

Water resistant means the water have some resistance to water but it does not mean it is intended for you to go swimming with it. In fact you should never submerge a watch marked only ”resistant” and if you are out in rainy weather where there is enough rain to soak your sleve or rain directly on your watch do not press any buttons or wind it before it has dried up properly. Doing so may allow water to get inside the watch and cause all sorts of future problems (foggy glass being one indication that this has happened).

In the beginning watches were classified as either ”water resist” or ”water proof” sometimes the latter followed by a number, 10m 50m 100m being the most common.

Water resistant

A water resistant watch is never intented for swimming or to be sumerged. If the water resist mark is followed by a number you can interpret this as the maximum number of minutes the watch should in any circumstance be exposed directly to light rain!

A water resistant watch can be washed gently with water if it needs to be, but avoid running tapwater and avoid detergents at any cost! Detergents such as washing-up liquid or similar causes the natural water tension to break down and allows the water to penetrate through buttons, windup axis or similar, even through a rubber seal!

Instead use a soft moist cloth and rub until shiny again. Alcohol solvents can sometimes be used, but the watch band might not like it and it can dry out the rubber seals in the watch.

Water proof

The way the seal on the watch is tested is that it is submerged in a chamber partly filled with water. Then the air pressure is slowly increased until such time that the pressure corresponds to a certain depth, usually measured in meters (1 meter about 3 ft.) and as long as there are no bubbles the test is deemed successful.

There are a number of reasons why this test is misleading, when you are swimming you are forcefully moving your watch through the water creating turbulence and various pressure, the test described above is for a watch at perfect rest in still water. For the same reason you should avoid washing your watch under a running faucet since this will also increase the risk for water to get into the watch.

That bubbles are not coming out of the watch does not for certain show that water did not go into the watch! Air compresses under pressure and therefore it is possible for water sometimes to penetrate the watch seals without there being any air bubbles.

To make things more confusing, new watch makers sometimes themselves confuses the water resist and water proof marks making it quite hard for the consumer to know what is right. Therefore I have here a table based on personal experience with wrist watches and people I have talked with in the business of repairing said clocks:

Table of watch water resistance


Avoid showers

Showering with a watch is a terrible idea, even if the watch is water proof enough to withstand the sprays from the shower, the soap and other things used to wash yourself will have some effect on the water tension allowing it to transgress even good rubber seals and get in to the watch. It may also leave residues on the watch itself or affect the wristband. Never wash a leather strap with water, use ”saddle soap” or similar products intended to gently clean leather.

Always dry the watch gently after it has gotten wet and let it sit for a while to dry out. Place it somewhere where the temperature is slightly above room temperature but not to any extremes and leave it there for a few days.

Swimming with a watch

When you are swimming with a watch that is okay for this but not considered a scuba watch never press any buttons or use the wind-screw or operate the watch in any way unless it specifically says in the manual it isd intended to work that way and you are covered by warranty should the watch break.

Many outdoor watches sometimes have a ”snorkling mode” where the air pressure barometer inside used to calculate the altitude can be used to show how far under water you are. Avoid this function, it may look fun but if the water is not classed to be a swimming watch do not take it swimming. As simple as that.

A training watch with heart rate monitor can sometimes be used swimming, but the same thing goes, set the watch up before you go into the pool and then avoid pressing its buttons while in the water! Most heart rate monitor bands that you strap across your chest and communicates with the watch will not work while in water anyway (and they might not be water proofed either). Suunto has a collection of such watches with a ”memory” inside the chest strap that remembers your heart beat that will be transferred to the watch when you get out of the water again. Check the manual and ask the sales rep what is okay.


Sweat generally do not affect watches that bad. Sweat is salty and moist and that should be a lethal combination for most electronics but it usually does not penetrate into the watch. However, after exercising with a watch there might be a good idea to give it a nice wipe-down or if the watch can take it, rinse in water. When you rinse a watch never run it under the fauced. Instead make a small ”bath” for the watch, lower it into the water for a few seconds then take it up again and dry with a soft cloth. Leave to dry over night before you use it.

If the accident happens

If you happen to get water into the watch you need to consider if it is a fully mechanical operation (wind-up or auto-winding watch) or if it is an electro-mechanical or fully electronic watch. With the later two it is important to immediately open the watch and remove the battery to avoid damaging the electronic circuits. If you have moisture inside the watch and the battery stays connected it will causes various salts and other pollutions in the water to deposit and eat away at the delicate circuitry. If your watch is a fully mechanical one take it to a repair shop and ask them to oil it up and check the water proof seal to replace if necessary.

Suunto Core Outdoor Watch

Some of you already know my fascination for wrist watches and therefore I thought I should share with you my latest aquisition, the Suunto Core outdoor wristwatch. Suunto is Finnish and means direction and this is a good name for these watches. There are many different models to chose from and I decided to get the Suunto Core model which seems to get you lots of functions for small money and the most all-round watch there was. Or, sorry, wristtop computer as these watches are sometimes referred to.

I am a guy who like walking in the woods, hiking, trekking and just generally being outdoor when possible especially in the summer time. I try to make at least a few day trips and if possible an overnight in a tent as well every summer as a minimum, it is something special when you are cooking in the wilderness, sleeping in a tent and generally having to struggle a little more than you normally do every day to and from work. If nothing else you appreciate a nice bed when you come home again :)

On top of that I am an unchangeable gadget-guy, and I really enjoy knowing the altitude I am on right now, the bearing I am walking in, my position, the time, when the sun rises and sets on the latitude that I am right now and many other things. So my latest addition to things I won’t leave home without now is a Suunto Core wristwatch.

This little gem can do a lot of things and it is a watch specially designed for outdoorsmanship more than anything else. This is not the first ”trekker’s watch” I have owned, I also have an ”Origo” watch but after a particularly rough outing in the United Arab Emirates a couple of years ago the altimeter broke on that one. So I have decided to get myself a new watch and now I recently bought it.

The Suunto Core watch keeps two times, good for traveling and it has what you expect from a modern digital watch, countdown (99 min max) and works wel as a stopwatch (24 h max). On top of that you can program it with the closest city and it will show the time the sun rises and sets for the date, something that changes drastically right now, the day becomes longer with about 6 minutes every day now and the nights shorter here in Stockholm.

The watch also contains three interesting functions for the hiker not normally found on wrist watches and they are altimeter that shows how high over the sea you are at the moment, barometer showing the air pressure (sea level equivalent) and an electronic compass.

Suunto Core
Suunto Core, outdoors sportswatch

The altimeter and barometer are actually two faces of the same coin here. You can select the profile yourself, if you want the watch to be in altimeter mode when you climb, then you can set it to barometric mode when you stop for the night and the watch will tell you the air pressure and assume that you are staying on the same level. You can not get both at the same time though because both the barometer and the altimeter works from the same air pressure sensor. If you climb a mountain the air pressure lowers with every meter you climb, the watch senses this change in air pressure and can therefore know how many meters you have scaled. In barometric mode you fix the altitude and the watch instead registers the changes in air pressure that preceeds an oncoming storm or weather front.

The watch can automatically shift between altimeter and barometer mode, it understands when you start climbing because the air pressure shifts too fast and then it switches to altimeter. If you stay it will after 12 minutes of no change in the altitude (or very small changes) shift back to barometric mode. Brilliant. Over a full days walking around I generally don’t have to recalibrate it for more than 20-40 meters error by the end of the day.

In barometric mode it can also tell you if there is a sudden drop in air pressure. This might signify an oncoming sqall or storm and you can set an audible and visible alarm on the watch to go off if this happens. There is also a 24 hour trend graph that will show you the changes in barometric pressure over the last day and night. There is also an arrow indicator showing you if the air pressure is stable, tends to rise, tends to drop and the attitude for the last 3 and 6 hours. Great for checking if the current weather is stable. I have observed the barometric pressure alarm go off twice. In both accounts it started snowing heavily hours later so I believe it is working pretty well!

The last function of the pressure gauge is the ”snorkeling feature” where it can tell you when you snorcle in the hot waters of the Maldives or some other nice place how deep you have been as maximum and how deep you are now. Not quite a diving instrument (watch should not be submerged more than 10 meters really) but it is still a pretty fun feature.

A logging function can be used to keep track of your climbing and descending over time if you want. It will log the altitude and the current time as often as you want and you may also save the log for a later review. You can also set a reference altitude and the watch will show you how much above or below your reference you currenly are.

You can also have it show accumulated inclines declines, something that I thought was pretty neat in a ski slope…

There is also a temperature measurement but since the watch is warmed by your arm it generally does not show air temperature. If you take your watch of and leave it for 30 minutes or so it should give you a pretty good temperature reading though. The temperature is also necessary for the accuracy of the air pressure measurement.

The compass is great, works well but uses battery more than other thngs and because of this the watch will turn it off after one minute of operation; you will then have to press a button to turn it on again for another minute. If you have the backlight lit during compas operation it will flash as it goes dark for each measurement that is done – about 2 per second. The compass can be set to try to stay in a certain direction, it will show with arrows how much in error your current direction is and point you in the right direction and the precision is actually pretty good in the woods. Calibration is simple, turn it on, slowly spin a full circle clockwise and it will recalibrate itself. In urban environment there are sometimes problems where there are heavy electrical machinery and other ferro-magnetic materials at work that will confuse it – try looking at it while a metro train in the underground drives past… but most of the time it can be used there as well.

All in all I really love this watch. I recommend it for everyone who loves to be outdoors, hiking, fishing, hunting, climbing, skiing… this is for you!

I rate it 5/5.