OT: waterproof watches

I took my ware-resistant MIO digital watch to a local jeweler to get the battery replaced. He handedit to a young and nervous looking apprentice and asked her “think you can handle this?” She offered a hesitant “yes.” After fiddling with it for 45 minutes, she returned to the jeweler, saying she could not get it to work. Without looking at it, he shoved it across the counter toward me saying brusquely “it’s the watch, not the battery.” It wasn’t until I left the store that I realized the apprentice had not even put the watch back together correctly, had reversed the positions of the bands, and had reattached them so badly that one quickly popped off. I live in a town with few competent jewelers, so my only choices seem to be to drive to the big city or open the watch myself, remove the battery, and see if I can find a replacement battery myself. Of course I have my doubts about whether I can seal it correctly to make sure it remains water-resistant.

I’m thinking it might be time to look for a new watch. I liked the heart rate monitor feature on this which was useful for running. But I’d also like a watch I’d feel comfortable swimming with (with digital display) so I’m thinking I should go waterproof rather than water resistant.

Can anyone recommed a sturdy, reliable, watersports-friendly watch I should consider?

What I Use

– Last Updated: Dec-18-05 9:28 AM EST –

Granted its not Digital and does not tell heart rate...but has been a proven tough watch.


I have had a Titanium Pathfinder for 10 years. Every two years I send it back to the company for a $45 service (new battery, seals, and crystal).

The owner of BMO also has one of these. His band somehow failed and he dropped the watch on the driveway where it got ran over by a garbage truck. The Crystal was cracked but the case was still in tact. The $45 service brought it back to life.

Its best to have a factory trained tech service your watch. If they don't replace the seals correctly the watch will leak.

my watch of choice is the XLander.


Buy cheap–they don’t last forever
Timex watches with all the bells and whistles are always available at low prices in the Campmor catalog.

I still have a digital Timex that has survived many roll sessions and paddling trips, including a month on the water in Alaska. The band tore and I can’t wear it on my wrist anymore because the band is not replaceable. I now carabiner it to my deck line if I use it. The watch mechanism itself still works fine. I really love the thermometer function–used it many times to determine water temperature. I think I bought it in 2002.

The analog watch I used before that also worked well on and below the water. The battery died, and there was no way to open the watch to replace it! Bizarre, but at least it was very cheap.

Earlier this year, I bought a new brand of watch from REI that was supposedly designed for use in surf. It cost more than the Timexes but within a month it began showing signs of water infiltration. I tried to swap it for another identical unit, but REI had already stopped carrying that brand (hmmmmm, wonder why?). They let me swap it for a Timex with the features I wanted, at about the same price. So far, so good, with this watch.

BTW, I have been told that almost no watch is actually waterproof EXCEPT Rolex. The rest are water-resistant to various depths, which is what my Timex watches have been. But I have had no problem with them failing due to water infiltration…just that other brand whose name I can’t remember.

Rolex watches are beautiful but do you really want to become a robbery/assault target?


this would come as a big surprise to my Suunto which has been down to 30 feet, rolled in the surf, and blah and blah. i never take it off and it has been takin’ a lickin’ and it’s still tickin’ for 5 years. i changed the battery myself and it has been good to go again, waterPROOF for low these many years.

and where else can you get a compass, barometer, altimeter, alarms, logs, time, day date, back light … did i say what a terrific watch this is?

Seiko Divers watch…

– Last Updated: Dec-18-05 6:36 PM EST –

Mine is 20 Y.O. been to 180ft and on 800 dives. I wear it everyday.. It's stonger than I am and will outlive me...

I Am A Timex Fan…
relatively inexpensive, waterproof and usually goes for years before battery change.

The timex on actually just died after about 1.5 years. But, I not sure if it’s the battery because the buttons are kinda sticking. I have to admit to not being careful about rinsing out after being in the salt.


Timex too…

– Last Updated: Dec-18-05 7:46 PM EST –

I get them as presents from my kids. Current one is an expedition model, good to 50M, clock face not digital. I picture time in my mind graphically with a clock face. Numbers screw me up.

It has some features that I don't bother with. I like that it keeps time. Do like the Indiglo feature. I never take it off. Wake up in the middle of the night, press a button and I know how much longer I can sleep. For work, I switch off to other watches.


Greyhawk, can I have it then ? : 0
Always wanted that watch.

I like to see how much patina I can get
on my 45.00 ‘dive’ watches + its a wonder how the adjustment knob wears flat over time … that is metal isn’t it ?

Find a good jewler ( not @ BB store) to change the battery and say no to the “Reseal and test” up charge … then they will do it right because they do not want to see you back for them to work on your battery-is-1/4-the-value-of-the-watch… watch. Leaks and gets ruined???.. fate decided for you to get the new one you were wanting but could not bring yourself to buy because you are becoming attached to your old one …

Its cold over here now too …

Seiko Auto Divers watch
I bought it in Naples Italy in 1978 for $90. I have broken the mainspring twice since then The glow in the dark points on the face have faded long ago. It rarely leaves my wrist. Tons of diving,hot showers,bruising impacts,bone chilling cooler-dunks and more than a few cycles through the washing machine and dryer.She keeps on ticking. Last time I busted the spring it cost $75 for a repair including all gaskets. It is not as accurate as a quartz watch but never needs a batt.

I lust for a 50th anniversery Submariner but will have to wait till I kill this one. Something tells me I have a long wait ahead. The nicest feature is the offset post that wont dig into the wrist. I removed the original band and have used “The Band” to ensure that if a pin fails the watch will not fall off your wrist.



Like a Suunto watch but for 1/3 the price…

Timex Expedition -again.

I had a Swiss Army brand watch
that seemed to be bombproof. Unfortunatly the leather strap (wal mart) wasn’t. It’s at the bottom of Lake of the Ozarks. I have no doubt it is still ticking away.I have also had good luck with a Sieko and numerous Timex watches. I’ve never had one leak or break. I always lose them first. BTW, you need a new jeweler!

Rolex Submariner

As far as watches go

Polar seems okay for the money. F11 about $149.00

This morning my screen froze, customer service helped me reset it.

Timex Helix - didn’t last a year.

Timex Reef Gear was good - lasted four years and then I bought another one and it last four years, however I don’t think they make them now.

Can’t justify the expense of a Sunco

Replacement of batteries just never seems to work, the watch will work but the waterproofing is just plain gone once they put a new battery in.

carefree and easy
I have had no trouble with my casio or my Seiko. I am not a super adventurer like many of you, but i wear the Seiko everyday to work and I bump it against alot of things and there isn’t a scratch. The $20 Casio…looks like a $20 Casio, but it lasts and I beat it up. So I have both ends $20 and $200, I love them both for different reasons…okay I really perfer to look at the gold hands instead of the indiglo.


Timex here
I had 1 that was 15 yrs old. All the screws but 1 were missing from the face. I could actually pull up the face and see the innards. I decided I would drown this 1 , then get another. I swam, camped , paddled and abused the heck out of it. Even dove 12 ft. deep in a pool. It’s still working.

I have…
a 12 year old Pulsar, 3 battery changes, good to 100Meters, but the most I’ve had it is about 15feet without a problem

Replacing the battery was imposible
I have both, the $20 digal timex 100m watch, and the $100 100m casio dive watch. The timex was dived to 100 feet plus, 4 to 5 times, no problem. It lasted a long time, but it didn’t have the indiglo light up feature. Probably lasted several years. Meanwhile my $100 analog casio battery died less than a year. So it never made it past 50 feet.

Now the wife’s $15 timex’s battery died after about a year, but it had the indiglo light. So I replaced the battery, the battery type was listed on the back plate. BUT, I couldn’t get the watch back together worth beans. To get at the battery, you had to tear out the whole guts of the thing, not just pop off the cover. I mean everything, the display, the plastic frame, the metal retaining clip and the circuit card. So it took several trys, just to get 3 out of 4 buttons working again. Of course the wife was less than pleased. Of course I was frustrated. Then it got water inside when she went swimming. No surprise as the o-ring is very thin, and there was no way to get it set down right. So she got a new watch $15 watch. A lot less hassle than trying to replace the battery in the center of the watch.

Now we just get new watches when the current one dies.

I suppose I will have the batery replaced in my dive watch prior to my next big dive trip. But as someone above noted, it runs 40-50 bucks to do so, as it requires a special tool to open the back. I like the idea of having a manufacture’s authorized shop do it though.

Hope this helps.