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Old 5 January 2007, 05:27 AM   #1
mikey
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Waterproof Testing at Home

I wonder if there is another way to test waterproofing without actually sending it away for a month or throwing it in the bath tub? Do any of you guys know how to check water resistance by homemade techniques ?
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Old 5 January 2007, 05:31 AM   #2
montecristo
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According to James Dowling

There are essentially 2 methods of testing the impermeability of a watch case with the movement inside; the Rolex method and the Portescap method.

The Rolex one uses water but still can not damage the movement here is how it works. The machine incorporates a glass tube one third filled with water which has a screwed top with a pressure gauge and the bottom end sits on a vacuum pump. The watch is suspended from a hangar at the top of the tube and the air above the water is then sucked out. As the pressure inside the watch (normal air pressure) is now higher than that in the tube it will attempt to escape and equalize the pressure (nature abhors a vacuum and all that) if it does succeed in escaping from the case it will be seen as bubbles rising from the case. Simple really!!

The Portescap system places the watch on a platform inside a vacuum chamber. The chamber is then evacuated of all air and a pointer is lowered until it touches the glass of the watch; the air in the watch is now at a higher pressure than that in the chamber (air pressure vs vacuum) and it will once again try to escape if it does so the case will suddenly contract as the pressure equalize and this will be registered on a micrometer gauge connected to the pointer touching the glass.

Both methods are what is known as non-invasive and/or fail safe; in other words it is impossible for the watch to be harmed by the testing methods.
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Old 5 January 2007, 05:32 AM   #3
sheldonsmith
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There is the ice cube test

I dug back in my notes and could not find the post, but I believe that in room temperature, put a piece of ice on the crystal.

If condensation forms below the crystal, then water has seeped into the case.

On a similar note, when you put a drop of water on a sapphire crystal, it will bead. On a mineral crystal, the drop will form into lines (one way to tell a knock-off mineral crystal or plastic crystal.)

Hope this helps,

-Sheldon
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Old 5 January 2007, 05:38 AM   #4
JJ Irani
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldonsmith View Post
I dug back in my notes and could not find the post, but I believe that in room temperature, put a piece of ice on the crystal.

If condensation forms below the crystal, then water has seeped into the case.

On a similar note, when you put a drop of water on a sapphire crystal, it will bead. On a mineral crystal, the drop will form into lines (one way to tell a knock-off mineral crystal or plastic crystal.)

Hope this helps,

-Sheldon
Good one, Sheldon. Thanks!! The one you've described above is the easiest method for home use by any lay person.

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Old 5 January 2007, 05:55 AM   #5
mike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldonsmith View Post
I dug back in my notes and could not find the post, but I believe that in room temperature, put a piece of ice on the crystal.

If condensation forms below the crystal, then water has seeped into the case.

On a similar note, when you put a drop of water on a sapphire crystal, it will bead. On a mineral crystal, the drop will form into lines (one way to tell a knock-off mineral crystal or plastic crystal.)

Hope this helps,

-Sheldon
Yeah,I seem to recall leaving the ice cube on the crystal for a minute.
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Old 5 January 2007, 06:51 AM   #6
rolexfan21
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be careful with that method though... it could posibly damage the insides of the watch. now the best way is to check the pressure via the portscape method. there is a video of it on youtube.com I watched it before... other ways is to apply pressure to the watch and see if there is any movement inside. like a vaccuum pump.
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Old 5 January 2007, 06:55 AM   #7
mikey
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Ok, my watch has the acrylic plastic crystal so I know its not mineral glass. Did you say I put an ice cube on the top of the crystal for 1 minute? If I see condensation underneath then it is not waterproof?
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Old 5 January 2007, 07:54 AM   #8
steve-o
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So if the bubbles leak out under vacuum....does the water leak back in when the vacuum is removed?
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Old 5 January 2007, 07:56 AM   #9
mikey
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Update: I took my watch off and got an ice cube. I laid my watch down and place the ice cube on the plastic crystal in the center for 1 minute. I took it off and there was a small amount condensation where the crystal and ice touched. I took the ice off and put my watch back on and the condensations disappeared. What do these results mean???
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Old 5 January 2007, 07:59 AM   #10
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Whats the difference if I am in a warm home and go outside to below o temp. Should I have condensation from that alone? I placed the ice on the crystal and the ice cube did not melt in 60 secs. How would this test effectively tell if I have a leak if the ice stays in solid form and just leaves a cold spot on the center of the crystal?
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Old 5 January 2007, 08:08 AM   #11
steve-o
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That much mositure inside your watch is bad, IMHO.
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Old 5 January 2007, 08:17 AM   #12
mike
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Whats the difference if I am in a warm home and go outside to below o temp. Should I have condensation from that alone? I placed the ice on the crystal and the ice cube did not melt in 60 secs. How would this test effectively tell if I have a leak if the ice stays in solid form and just leaves a cold spot on the center of the crystal?
Mikey,
The ice cube test has people for and against. I've never tried it.
Here's a link with some discussion about it.

http://forums.timezone.com/index.php...0&rev=&reveal=
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Old 5 January 2007, 08:18 AM   #13
mikey
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Steve O, I was comparing this test to the effects of going from warm indoors to cold outdoors. My watch doesn't show condensation when I do that personally. I just put an ice cube on my plastic crystal and after 1 min I too the ice cube off and there was a small amount of condensation that disappeard after I put the watch back on seconds later.
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Old 5 January 2007, 08:27 AM   #14
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Thanks for the link, I was starting to hyperventilate. My condesation disappeared in about 8-10 seconds. When I take my watch off and place it on the desk, it becomes cold. I am thinking my body heat does make a difference because I can tell its warm to cold because of the steel
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Old 5 January 2007, 02:24 PM   #15
TNRonin
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Mikey, depending on the relative humidty at the time the watch is sealed you will always get condensation. It sounds like you are ok, I'm not an expert. It was my understanding that if the watchmaker that seals it uses cold air to dry the watch you will be better. Cold air won't hold as much moisture.
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Old 5 January 2007, 07:13 PM   #16
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It was my understanding that if the watchmaker that seals it uses cold air to dry the watch you will be better. Cold air won't hold as much moisture.
That's right, but what about when you unscrew the crown to adjust the time in humid conditions, that would allow humid air with a higher level of moisture to enter the watch.

You can see condensation forming on the outside of a cold drink, this is more pronounced in humid weather. So I don't think the ice cube test can be a real fail safe way to tell if the watch is water proof or not.
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Old 5 January 2007, 08:21 PM   #17
Gedanken
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Ok, my watch has the acrylic plastic crystal so I know its not mineral glass. Did you say I put an ice cube on the top of the crystal for 1 minute? If I see condensation underneath then it is not waterproof?
Think this one through. What does the condensation under the crystal tell you specifically? Does it tell you that there's moisture in the watch, or does it tell you that the watch is leaking?

If it tells you that there's moisture in the watch, does it mean that a leak is the only way moisture could get in? Can moisture enter the watch when the crown is unscrewed and pulled out? Is servicing (or any other operation in which the case is opened) always done in a completely dehumidified environment?

Answer the above and you'll be able to work out is condensation from the ice cube test means that your watch is leaking.
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Old 5 January 2007, 08:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Gedanken View Post
Think this one through. What does the condensation under the crystal tell you specifically? Does it tell you that there's moisture in the watch, or does it tell you that the watch is leaking?

If it tells you that there's moisture in the watch, does it mean that a leak is the only way moisture could get in? Can moisture enter the watch when the crown is unscrewed and pulled out? Is servicing (or any other operation in which the case is opened) always done in a completely dehumidified environment?

Answer the above and you'll be able to work out is condensation from the ice cube test means that your watch is leaking.
Just for clarification, is the watch not still waterproof even with the crown unscrewed??
I remember a thread awhile back discussing this.
So if you unscrew the crown, it should not change anything inside the watch, there may be humidity in the watch from a prior assembly.


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Old 5 January 2007, 08:58 PM   #19
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Just for clarification, is the watch not still waterproof even with the crown unscrewed??
I remember a thread awhile back discussing this.
So if you unscrew the crown, it should not change anything inside the watch, there may be humidity in the watch from a prior assembly.


Well Larry, again let's problem-solve our way through this one. Once you unscrew the crown, what do you have keeping moisture out? A simple rubber seal. Does that seal experience wear when you pull out the crown? If it does experience wear over time, won't the fit of the seal at some point fail to be perfect? In mikey's case, he's got an acrylic era Rolex, and if I recall correctly, he's not the first owner. What's to say that the seals on the watch are in perfect condition?

Sure, by design the watch should remain inpenetrable to moisture with the crown pulled out. On the other hand, if you've got a watch like mikey's where the bracelet can be twisted into a pretzel, how confident can you be that the seals are going to perform as they would brand new? Is it impossible that under highly worn conditions, the moisture could get in?
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Old 5 January 2007, 10:36 PM   #20
steve-o
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I understand the condensation concern...just have never seen it in 16 years of Rolex wearing in any weather condition. And my "office" was all over the place in terms of pressure and temperature... :)

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Old 6 January 2007, 12:31 AM   #21
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Here is my method I posted back in November 2006, for those who missed it.


This is the best and quickest way to check waterproofness, step-by-step.

Step 1.
Get some red cordial and fill up a tall glass - DO NOT add water, you want the cordial to be as concentrated as you can get.

Step 2.
Make sure crown is screwed in tight.

Step 3.
Place watch gently into glass, and leave it there for about 2 days.

Step 4.
After 2 days, take watch out and rinse under water.

Step 5.
(i) Observe watch, if you can see red liquid through the crystal, then your watch has FAILED for waterproofness.

(ii) If no liquid is observed, then it's fine. No further action is required.

Step 6. Only if Step 5(i) has occured.
Take watch to Rolex immediately.


John.

PS. This really is a joke, OK!
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