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3 November 2016

Watch Aftercare Series: Pressure Testing your Sports Watch

By: Amy Brennan-Stephenson

Watch Aftercare Series: Pressure Testing your Sports Watch
If you tend to wear your watch when you swim, or if you immerse it in water regularly, then it makes sense to carry out an annual watch aftercare pressure test, to ensure that the internal operation is still working as effectively as it should.


Watches tend to be made to different stands of water resistance, but premium line sports watches are designed with water immersion and active use in mind. Good watch aftercare can allow them to function optimally for many years.

As a rule, watch pressure testing should be carried out once a year as a basic check, or when any kind of repair has occurred to the watch, including instances when it has been dismantled, for example to change a battery.


Watch aftercare: Sophisticated pressure testing equipment

The pressure testing is carried out by the watch repair or service professional using specialist equipment. This simulates water pressure conditions experienced by swimmers or divers in typical circumstances, to ensure that the watch continues to operate as it should and without compromise.

However, the machine is designed to ensure that no overt strain is placed onto the seals, and if the sealing isn’t working sufficiently, nothing will be allowed to enter the watch’s internal operation.

Instead, an air vacuum is created and a sensor is passed across the watch’s mechanisms to see if any low pressure areas are detected. The diagnostic process is highly mechanised and takes just a few minutes. If the watch passes this test process, it will be ready to wear and use as usual and the owner can simply bring it back the following year for a repeat test.

If any issues are detected, further diagnostics will take place according to the assessor’s judgement, and he or she will recommend appropriate remedial works, such as replacement or reinforcement of the seals. This is a common job for watches, and one that can help prolong the watch’s working lifespan for many years to come – preserving the delicate atmosphere needed for the complex machinations of the watch interior.


Professional diving and underwater requirements


For professional divers, or submariners, more serious kit is needed to replicate the deep and highly pressured environment that they enter when deep diving. The kit used does require water rather than just air, and it creates a high pressure, underwater environment for the watch. This sophisticated kit allows the watch to be tested at pressures as high as 30 atmospheres, to replicate the most challenging of conditions. After the test, if there is condensation inside the watch, then it is a sign that the seals have been compromised and they will need to be replaced.

Watch pressure testing is a very useful check for any watch lover who has invested in their time piece, and uses it regularly for water-based activities – whether bathing, swimming for fun, diving competitively or working in underwater environments. For those who rely on their timepieces in such environments, the time taken to have a regular pressure check and service far outweigh the potential difficulty of no longer being with a working timepiece when underwater!

Do you have a watch query? Then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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