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Thread: Watches in Sauna / Steam rooms?

  1. #1

    Watches in Sauna / Steam rooms?

    Just returned from the Gym. I usually remove my Seamaster or Daytona, prior to entering the sauna or steam room. I have always thought the lubricants and oil will get too hot inside the watch. Today i met a gentleman, wearing his steel / gold submariner in both the steam and sauna for over 50mins. Apparently he has been doing this for the past 5 years without any problems with his watch.

    I was wondering about anyone else's thoughts?

  2. #2
    Craftsman Belligero's Avatar
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    It's completely fine. Keep it rinsed and keep the pressure testing current, and you'll have no worries. This is the subject of endless "what-if" hand-wringing and broscience, but the watch and its seals can survive much more extreme conditions than you can. It's not worth stressing about.
    - the time is now -

  3. #3
    Master andrewcregan's Avatar
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    I wore my old trusty Seamaster for years in and out of saunas/steam rooms/pools and never had any problems. When I got it serviced (somewhat late!) there was no sign of any problems
    Wear your watch and enjoy.

  4. #4
    Grand Master
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    Just imagine how hot watches get in the sun.
    Even when worn on the wrist, thus cooled on the back almost 50 degrees C. is not extreme.

    I have deliberately made my SDGA going into fault mode >50 degrees under the andalucian summer sun while on the wrist to see whether this would happen. It does.
    It obviously applies to any watch only those do not say so.

    So; don´t worry.
    Honi soit qui mal y pense.

  5. #5
    Craftsman Belligero's Avatar
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    "Gee, fellas, what about all that harsh steam and those high temperatures?"
    "I knew a guy who wore his (unserviced) watch in the sauna and it leaked."
    "What about expansion?"
    "My local jeweler told me it was a bad idea."

    LysanderXIII has previously written as good of an answer as I've seen to these "duh, what-about?" things; I hope he doesn't mind if I quote his words:

    Even the cheapest silicone rubber gaskets are good to 200 to 250 F at 100% humidity, indefinitely, maybe as much as 300 to 350 F for short durations. If you can stand it, the seals can as well.

    Expansion and contraction!?

    Then explain how the same type of rubber is used in aircraft engine bleed systems that see several 100 to 200 F (82 to 182 C) cycles per hour and are designed to last 3000 to 5000 hours.

    There is much more to the Challenger mishap that just o-rings heating up. The o-rings used in the solid rocket booster (SRB) are made from a special fluoroelastomer (FKM), designed for use in extremely high temperatures (and by high temperature, we mean continous operation in 400 F, or 205 C) or in highly active chemical applications. One of the trade offs for use in extremely high temperature environments is poor performance (loss of elasticity) at low temperature. The compound used in the SRB had a glass transition temperature (where the rubber becomes bittle) of around + 40 F (+ 4 C).

    Your average watch gasket is made from silicone rubber, Buna-S or Viton-B (also a FKM elastomer) has a glass transition temperature of around -60 F (- 51 C). Don't worry about your o-rings failing due to temperature.
    - the time is now -

  6. #6
    Master
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    hanging about in saunas and steam rooms I would be more worried about the wellbeing of a different ring...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Belligero View Post
    It's completely fine. Keep it rinsed and keep the pressure testing current, and you'll have no worries. This is the subject of endless "what-if" hand-wringing and broscience, but the watch and its seals can survive much more extreme conditions than you can. It's not worth stressing about.
    Thanks for the advice

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewcregan View Post
    I wore my old trusty Seamaster for years in and out of saunas/steam rooms/pools and never had any problems. When I got it serviced (somewhat late!) there was no sign of any problems
    Wear your watch and enjoy.
    Thanks for the advice

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Huertecilla View Post
    Just imagine how hot watches get in the sun.
    Even when worn on the wrist, thus cooled on the back almost 50 degrees C. is not extreme.

    I have deliberately made my SDGA going into fault mode >50 degrees under the andalucian summer sun while on the wrist to see whether this would happen. It does.
    It obviously applies to any watch only those do not say so.

    So; don´t worry.
    Thanks for the advice

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh B View Post
    hanging about in saunas and steam rooms I would be more worried about the wellbeing of a different ring...
    LOL

  9. #9

    waterproof

    Hi

    I would personally not risk it but thats just me

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh B View Post
    hanging about in saunas and steam rooms I would be more worried about the wellbeing of a different ring...
    Yes, splitting your O ring in a Sauna is probably best avoided - nasty business I imagine. Can't find the right smiley face but it would have crossed eyes!
    Rob D

  11. #11
    Craftsman Zigster's Avatar
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    The guys on the paneristi website seem to get quite excited about this point - saying it is a bad idea. There is a guy who is (apparently) an AD who is very strongly against the idea of wearing Panerais in a sauna. But I can't see a fault with the analysis above.

    Anecdotal, I know, but I wore a Tag Heuer 2000 pretty much everywhere for 15 years - swimming, diving down to 40m, saunas/steamrooms, skiing, cycling, ... and it never missed a beat until it was well overdue for a service anyway. I did get batteries changed via Tag's own service so properly pressure-tested - not sure if that made a difference or not.

    Having said that, I tend not to wear my Panerai in saunas - probably being over protective about it but I don't want anyone to say, "Told you so" if it fails (again).

  12. #12
    Master
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    Never felt the need to know the time during leisure pursuits,and anyway @ the gym theirs always a clock so why subject it to anything you don't need to.

  13. #13
    Master PreacherCain's Avatar
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    Horses for courses (wouldn't wear a vintage Speedy in a steam room, for obvious reasons) but as long as the seals are good, why not? If a watch can take 30 bar of external pressure before leaking, a bit of steam won't hurt it.
    Did the Devil make the world while God was sleeping?

  14. #14
    Journeyman DM71's Avatar
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    I do wear my divers in sauna and spas and never got a problem. Of course, I would not wear a dress watch with 3 or 5 ATM WR, but 10ATM + is fine.
    ~Daniel~

  15. #15
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by P9CLY View Post
    theirs always a clock so why subject it to anything you don't need to.
    For most here there is always a clock of sorts in sight wherever they go so why the watch in the first place then?????

    It makes me laugh all this.
    On the one hand wis are over the moon about the ruggedness and reliability of their mechanical tool watches. Thé watches to have for hypothetical survival scenarios ahum.., but in real life these watches are kept from getting wet under the shower and left in the sauna locker to keep them out of harm´s way.

    One word; silly.
    Honi soit qui mal y pense.

  16. #16
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM71 View Post
    I do wear my divers in sauna and spas and never got a problem. Of course, I would not wear a dress watch with 3 or 5 ATM WR, but 10ATM + is fine.
    Pardon? Why?
    It is just a humid atmosphere!
    1 WR is quite good enough. Even the zero WR Casio F91W is quite ok in the sauna.
    Honi soit qui mal y pense.

  17. #17
    Craftsman Belligero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigster View Post
    The guys on the paneristi website seem to get quite excited about this point - saying it is a bad idea. There is a guy who is (apparently) an AD who is very strongly against the idea of wearing Panerais in a sauna. But I can't see a fault with the analysis above.[...]
    Sounds about right; I get the impression that some people who sell watches think it confers some kind of expertise in materials, design and fluid mechanics, even as they misuse the word "steam".

    Never underestimate the resilience of broscience, even when confronted with real science. We are experts at obsessing over miniscule perceived risks while happily ignoring significant real ones.
    - the time is now -

  18. #18
    Journeyman DM71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huertecilla View Post
    Pardon? Why?
    It is just a humid atmosphere!
    1 WR is quite good enough. Even the zero WR Casio F91W is quite ok in the sauna.
    In a sauna maybe, I would not put it in a spa with hot water. Anyways, you are welcome to use your watch wherever you want.
    ~Daniel~

  19. #19
    Master seffrican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM71 View Post
    In a sauna maybe, I would not put it in a spa with hot water. Anyways, you are welcome to use your watch wherever you want.
    I wear a watch when swimming, even in spa water that feels warm to me. My G-Shock didn't seem fussed about it last month in a spa in the Valais, with the water at 36C (body temp being 37C or so).

    Watches are subject to the same physics as other objects, no matter how attractive we all find the mythologising of those little mechanical and electronic marvels.
    "I've always liked the idea that being all electrons and quantum physics, a quartz watch is like having a tiny slice of the cosmos on your wrist. The cosmos, like a cat, doesn't care about you." - gentlemenpreferhats

  20. #20
    Master PreacherCain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belligero View Post
    Never underestimate the resilience of broscience, even when confronted with real science.
    I am totally stealing that.

    I also entirely agree with 'Cilla on this: we pay through the nose for watches that are designed and tested to survive environments deeply hostile to small, delicate mechanisms. Seems daft in the extreme not to use them under circumstances a good deal less hostile, IMO.

    Put it another way: for years, my only mechanical watch was a TAG Heuer Carrera re-issue with 5-bar WR. I wore it the whole time - in the shower, the bath, the sauna, the spa, the steam room, hydrotherapy pool, swimming in the sea, snorkelling, diving, at the gym etc. etc... It was subjected to the sort of treatment that some of the more delicate posters here would regard as severe abuse. It stood up to more than 5 years of this before the seal in the (non-screw-down) crown leaked when I wore it on a shallow (>15m) dive. I repeat: as long as the seals are good and the external pressure doesn't exceed the case's rating, there's no reason not to wear a watch 24/7*.

    * Edited to add: no water-ingress reason. I choose not to wear any of my expensive watches when working on my car because I don't welcome the prospect of smacking them with heavy bits of metal.
    Last edited by PreacherCain; 8th May 2013 at 16:07.
    Did the Devil make the world while God was sleeping?

  21. #21
    Craftsman
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    Funnily enough I experienced this same dilemma. Even though it was a cheapie Orient Mako with 200m WR I decided not to risk it. However I think this depends, if you are somebody who uses the sauna regularly, then I don't see why not.
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  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Zigster View Post
    The guys on the paneristi website seem to get quite excited about this point - saying it is a bad idea. There is a guy who is (apparently) an AD who is very strongly against the idea of wearing Panerais in a sauna. But I can't see a fault with the analysis above.

    .
    Of course they say no, I mean why would an AD risk telling his buyers to do something that results in him being blamed in the extremely unlikely event there's a problem?

  23. #23
    Journeyman DM71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seffrican View Post
    I wear a watch when swimming, even in spa water that feels warm to me. My G-Shock didn't seem fussed about it last month in a spa in the Valais, with the water at 36C (body temp being 37C or so).

    Watches are subject to the same physics as other objects, no matter how attractive we all find the mythologising of those little mechanical and electronic marvels.
    Agreed, but my comment was more in reference with dress watches that have 3 or 5 ATM WR, in a spa. I would not do it personally, wrong or right. A G-Shock is design to survive extremes, so I understand you're wearing yours. I would too. My 100m+ wr watches go everywhere, the others, I'm more careful with extreme temperature.

    It's true that we might be paranoid with our watches sometimes, but I'm not afraid of getting my watches wet (even in very hot water) when they have the proper WR. Like others said, if I can survive, the watch can too. I understand that it might be a bit OT though, since the thread was about Saunas, and not spas.
    ~Daniel~

  24. #24
    Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    The only watches I am careful with are those with leather straps as I don't like getting the leather wet. Anything else is ok in water but, as said above, when working on motors or building materials it's the potential of scratching that causes me to remove my watch.

  25. #25
    Master seffrican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM71 View Post
    Agreed, but my comment was more in reference with dress watches that have 3 or 5 ATM WR, in a spa. I would not do it personally, wrong or right. A G-Shock is design to survive extremes, so I understand you're wearing yours. I would too. My 100m+ wr watches go everywhere, the others, I'm more careful with extreme temperature.

    It's true that we might be paranoid with our watches sometimes, but I'm not afraid of getting my watches wet (even in very hot water) when they have the proper WR. Like others said, if I can survive, the watch can too. I understand that it might be a bit OT though, since the thread was about Saunas, and not spas.
    Quite agree, if it only has basic WR then there is probably some element of risk in exposing it to water or steam.

    What I will never understand is the mollycoddling of watches that - as someone else put it so neatly - we buy because they are engineered to be famously tough. Sort of

    "Check out my bad boy tool watch, it's got 5000m WR and a superhardened tungsten case."

    "Really? That's cool, so you wear it in the pool?"

    "God no, do you have any idea what water can do to one of these things? I only wear it to the office on sunny days."
    "I've always liked the idea that being all electrons and quantum physics, a quartz watch is like having a tiny slice of the cosmos on your wrist. The cosmos, like a cat, doesn't care about you." - gentlemenpreferhats

  26. #26
    Journeyman
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    A very interesting set of posts, which has lead me to think I am too soft on my watches!
    Tonight I will be wearing my watch in the sauna

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