For watches, water, dust, magnetism and vibration are all enemies that affect their accuracy. Among them, water resistance is the most important, because daily use of watches can cause water to enter the watch and cause great harm to it. Most sports watches today are almost 100 meters water resistant, while diving watches are more than 200 meters water resistant. However, if we look back at the history of the waterproof performance of watches, we will find that the waterproof performance we are accustomed to today is actually a long journey of research and development, and it is worth slowly savoring.
If the beginning of the waterproof watch is in the 1920s, the watch case was changed from the buckle type to the screw-in type. Before changing to a screw-in type, the waterproof solution was to seal the watch in a case. Although it can protect all parts, it has two drawbacks. The first is the volume of the entire watch. The second drawback is that whenever the manual movement needs to be wound or the time needs to be adjusted, it needs to be taken out of the case and put back. At that time, the mechanical watch with automatic winding had not been invented, so this case would be used frequently and repeatedly, and it would be quickly worn away and repaired. As such, the future of such enclosures is limited. So technicians need to invent a more practical and durable solution.
The first attempted screw-in case was a manufacturing technician named Francois Borgel, who made two slightly different cases in 1891 and 1903 using a rotating lock. The main benefit is that the shell is abandoned and good sealing is achieved. The mechanical structure of this case includes a threaded ring, and the bezel and back cover are connected to the case by means of rotation and locking. This case also has some drawbacks, because the crown is not sealed, and moisture and fine dust can still enter the movement.
The first patent on the crown seal was born in October 1925, from Paul Perregaux and Georges Perret watchmakers, but the technology is still far from mature. It also has two flaws. First, the position of loosening the crown and the winding is the same, so once you set everything up, if you want to unscrew it again, the hairspring of the watch will be subject to some wear. Second, the material used to seal the crown is exposed (Figure 16), and fragile materials such as cork, leather, or felt are used. These materials can easily lose their sealing performance and need to be replaced. Under the current production capacity, these were the only materials that could be used.
The patent was improved after it was discovered and bought out by Hans Wilsdof, one of Rolex’s founders. The seal is moved from the outside of the case to the inside of the case. At the same time, the lead is selected for the seal material, which extends the practicality and the waterproof effect is also ideal. In the case of Rolex’s improved crown design, Rolex’s classic oyster case was also born. Wiesdorf registered the patent in the United Kingdom with his own name, which is the oyster patent of the prestigious diving watch originator. Since then, Rolex has collaborated with this technology to create a diving watch that has made a worldwide splash.
The first rotating outer ring of the diving watch appeared in 1953. Blancpain was equipped with a rotating outer ring when it launched the first generation of the Fifty Fathoms diving watch, and also applied for a patent for this. And Rolex’s most famous ‘Water Ghost’ series also waited until the end of this patent protection period to rotate the outer ring on the equipment in the 1980s. Unlike the bezel that can be rotated biathlon, the rotating outer ring of the diving watch can only be rotated counterclockwise in one direction. This is also set to protect the life of the diver, preventing the bezel from rotating due to misoperation under the complicated underwater conditions. Dive time.
In 1982, the international standard for diving watches was formally determined by ISO, and then revised twice. 11 major items were identified including watches that can withstand 100 meters of water resistance; still clearly identifiable in the dark; antimagnetic ability; impact resistance; external resistance; salt water resistance; temperature difference decoration; 5 minute scale rotating bezel; non-obstructive operation and use in water; pressure resistance; for helium diving watches, attention must be paid to the danger of normal timing function damage.
In addition to the screw-in case, crown and rotating bezel, there is also an important waterproof technology on the case-a helium exhaust valve. When the diving cabin is mechanically diving, helium will enter the case due to the high pressure of the deep sea. This gas The flow will keep the pressure inside the meter in line with the outside world. However, when the diving chamber rises, the gas pressure inside the meter will greatly exceed the outside world, which will cause the watch case to explode. The helium exhaust valve (now most of the watches are automatic helium exhaust), can quickly accumulate the helium gas in the case out of the case to ensure the safety of the case.
Generally speaking, diving watches equipped with helium exhaust valves are capable of deep sea operations, and for ordinary “scuba” diving (that is, diving with helium and oxygen cylinders) often used by diving enthusiasts, or “bareness” without any equipment When diving, it is not necessary to install a helium exhaust device on the dive table because the dive depth is limited.
In addition to the above, the materials, mirrors, bracelets and movements of diving watches are constantly being upgraded. Although these expensive advanced diving watches are in your hands, most of them are difficult to dive into the ocean floor to show their skills. But these timepieces marked with diving depth have no doubt about their outstanding professional quality. Love a diving watch is not only its appearance but also the story behind it, and the infinite yearning for the sea.