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Thread: Omega Speedmaster, fogged crystal

  1. #1
    Master
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    Omega Speedmaster, fogged crystal

    Most work days I wear my trusty Omega Speedmaster Pro. It's the current version albeit about 3.5 years old now. Until yesterday it was running very well at +3s a day with no known issues. However, getting out the car to put fuel in it I looked to see the time and the crystal had completely fogged/misted over...on the inside! Arrrgghh! I've never got the watch wet, but somehow sometime it's taken in some moisture that I assume has just condensed on the crystal as it hit the cold air.

    I have a few questions:


    • Is it likely to need a full service (not knowing how long moisture has been in the watch)?
    • Omega quote £550 and a local independent quoted £495. I'm a bit loathe to spend this much if I can help it, given the watch won't have much wear or need any parts (I hope) apart from gaskets. Are there any Omega-experienced people or organisations that might be cheaper?
    • Is there anyone else that might be able to dry out and inspect the watch and service it for a more acceptable price? I'm not tight, but in my head an Omega service would be a bit cheaper than this! Can the usual independent watchmakers help out or are Omega parts now restricted as they are for Rolex?


    I did a search but didn't find the answers I was looking for.

    Thanks

    Ant

  2. #2
    Grand Master
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    The worry on this one is potential water damage that could affect the running of the watch. If only a small trace of moisture has got in, and itís clean water not salt water, the chances are itíll be OK but the movement will probably need stripping down, cleaning and re-oiling. It also depends how long the waterís been in.

    The mystery is how the waterís found its way in, these watches shouldnít leak.

    I could have a look at this. Iíve serviced a couple in the past and I have the correct sized O rings for the crown, pushers and caseback. At this age Iíd expect all the seals to still be OK.

    PM me if youíre interested.

    Paul

  3. #3
    I have no idea if there has been a change in production recently, given they now fall within the 5 year warranty for a brand new one - but I keep seeing a high number of these that are obviously not water tight.

    There is no way I'd choose to wear one in water despite the 50m rating. Unless I just had it tested to a fair amount above 50m.

    Personally, I'd want it looked at asap. If it was mine I'd be taking Paul up on his offer to take a look at it. Once opened no doubt things will be a little clearer.
    Last edited by Omegamanic; 11th January 2019 at 17:28.

  4. #4
    Been there, done that. Got a water after I accidentally forgot that I had a Speedmaster on and went to swim. Watch fogged later that day and it was while on vacation in Italy. As you might imagine there were not so many watchmakers in a fine village of Malcesine, but I was lucky to find a jeweller who had case opener. He opened watch case for me and I let it dry overnight and when I got back home watchmaker inspected it and said there is no need to service, because of no damage was done. As I understand, as long as it is just small amount of water and you dry it properly by opening caseback and store it in cool place, most likely watch will be fine.

    I serviced it last summer, six years after accident.


  5. #5
    Master
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    Iíve said this a couple of times before but I would not go anywhere near water wearing a speedmaster. Theyíre supposed to be water resistant but a customer of mine has twice had his take in water (which he bought new a few years ago), after the first time he was told it was a freak and it was serviced and re-sealed FOC by Omega and he was told it was water resistant again. Next time he went on holiday, in the pool and bam! she was flooded again. Heís recently got it back serviced and Ďsealedí

    I told him he was crazy even going in water but he told me it was sold to him with water resistance assured (as he told them he wears his watch for everything) so I guess at least he gets a free service every so often.

  6. #6
    Master
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    I've toyed with the idea of selling my Speedy Pro for this very reason Ant, I wear my SMPc more these days for better peice of mind.

    Sent from my SM-A320FL using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Master mycroft's Avatar
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    When I owned my Speedmaster Pro Gemini 4, I was always paranoid about getting it near water. Subsequent stories like the ones on here have convinced me that my instincts were spot on!

    Simon

  8. #8
    Master
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    So the watch has gone off to Paul today and hopefully thereíll be a happy ending. My key concern now is how resilient the Speedy is to the environment. Iíd have thought itíd stand up better than this to changes in temperature and a bit of damp air given the testing these survived for the space programme! Itís not as if I dived in a pool or, horror of horrors, did the washing up while wearing it.

    Ant

  9. #9
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    Really surprised about this, but itís clearly not a one off. 50m should be fine for every day swimming never mind a bit of damp in the air..., so is there a design/gasket problem or are they not being tested correctly?

  10. #10
    Master
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    The thing that concerns me about Speedy Pro ownership is the fact I sometimes forget to take it off when I go Sea Fishing, my memory isn't what it used to be and on a few occasions I've found myself on a beach with waves crashing in and sometimes coupled with the rain.

    I don't have to worry when I'm wearing the Seamaster, but having said all this I've never had a problem with fogging and I do love the Watch.

    Sent from my SM-A320FL using TZ-UK mobile app

  11. #11
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    I never realised Speedy's were so prone to water ingress.

  12. #12
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    Back in 2008 when I got my 2254.50 Seamaster from the Omega AD, I had originally gone there for the Speedmaster. The sales person advised at the time they were fragile by comparison and may not be as suited to constant wear as the Seamaster. Main reason given was the lack of water proofing and then of course the plastic crystal and less robust movement were the other reasons. Apparently they had seen a few back for warranty claims where folk had given no consideration to these factors and expected them to be totally life proof.

    Back then I took it on board as part of the buying decision. It was my first proper watch and I wanted to be able to use it every day. I also preferred the look of the Seamaster at the time and the fact it had date was a plus.

    Now 10 years on the Seamaster has performed faultlessly and looks basically brand new following a gentle service, so it was a solid choice.

    Being older and wiser and with some other nice watches to rotate, I think I will still add a Speedy to the mix at some point. Iíve already got a Heuer Carrera which shares a lot of the Ďweaknessesí and that performs just fine.

  13. #13
    Master
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    Update...

    Thought I'd provide an update, which might be interesting to some. In response to Paul's offer, I sent my Speedy away for some investigation. I had attempted to dry the watch by keeping it warm on a cloth on a radiator with the crown out. This reduced the fogging, but the watch wouldn't run.

    Upon receipt the watch went through a series of checks:

    "Iíve removed the movement, refitted the crown and caseback, then thoroughly tested the case for leaks. I can find nothing wrong, the case has been wet tested to 6 bar without leaking. Iíve also immersed it under a few inches of water, operated the pushers several times, and simulated winding the watch with the crown withdrawn slightly. I followed this on the assembled watch with another pressure test to 5 bar, then warmed the caseback slightly whilst applying cooling to the glass. I have been unable to generate any fogging on the inside of the crystal and I therefore conclude that the watch is remaining watertight under all conditions far more extreme than itíll encounter in normal use.

    Iíve given the movement a quick check on the timegrapher, the amplitude looks excellent so itís fair to say the movementís running correctly. Visually I can see no trace of water staining or anything untoward."


    So it's a bit of a puzzle! I am reassured that the watch is meeting Omega's stated specifications and passes water resistance tests that would make it easily manage my daily use. Now the watch is back on my wrist, ticking away happily. All I can think is that whatever moisture had entered the case, or been already sealed in it, escaped during the drying process and that this was clean water causing no lasting effect on the movement. Strange indeed, but I'm more than happy that another forum member was able to check the watch and reassure me saving me the expense of a full service. What a great community to be a part of :-)

    Ant

  14. #14
    Master Rocket Man's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking the time to write an update and hats off to Paul for checking it out so thoroughly for you.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Great news, and no doubt a relief and nice to have the watch back too.
    It's just a matter of time...

  16. #16
    Master
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    +1 Chapeau.

  17. #17
    Grand Master
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    Sure you sent me the right watch?

    I canít explain this one, I had a chat to Ant to be clear Iíd understood correctly, the watch definitely had droplets in, but despite testing the hell out of it Iíve found nothing wrong. Maybe a bit of grit got under the crown seal and caused it to leak slightly? Possibly the act of removing the crown and stem, then taking the movement out of the case had some effect on the fault? Iím clutching at straws here!

    Unless the watch was orginally cased up in a rain forest with maximum humidity at 40 degrees I canít see a viable explanation. Thankfully the watch has survived OK and itís running like a good Ďun, the timegrapher doesnít lie and neither do my eyes ( strong magnifiers help a lot).

    Omega Speedy Moonwatch is the best model in the Omega range IMO, a true design classic. Frustratingly I find it wears a bit too big for my liking, if it was slightly smaller Iíd own one, but my 3510.50 Speedy reduced scratches the same itch ........almost!

  18. #18
    Master Der Amf's Avatar
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    I rather like it when mechanical movements act inexplicably, it slightly justifies our not entirely explicable fascination with them.

  19. #19
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    Hopefully you have also checked to make sure moisture is not in the movement or on the spacer. Lots of room under the dial and it doesn't need to be visible to fog up.

  20. #20
    Craftsman
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    Also what were the results of the vacuum test?
    The pushers can fail when knocked under water if the seals are on the way out.

  21. #21
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by me32dc View Post
    Also what were the results of the vacuum test?
    The pushers can fail when knocked under water if the seals are on the way out.
    Thanks for your constructive critical input.

    Watch was immersed in water, pushers were operated normally and pressed sideways, they were pushed and pulled every possible way whilst under approx 12” water.

    Spacer and movement were inspected whilst movement was out. Have to confess to not removing the hands and dial.

    Trust me, this watch was dry inside when re-assembled, and I’m almost certain it was dry when it was dismantled.

    Unlike you, I don’t have access to vacuum test equipment, having to buy your own equipment does place inevitable constraints on capability, so I rely on a wet pressure tester. However, I think you’ll agree that immersion in air, then water, at 5bar is a rigorous test that’ll detect leaks. The case was tested with the movement out and the crown in place, as you know the crown would’ve popped out if the inside of the case had become pressurised.

    Here’s a little tip you might like: After carrying out the wet pressure test, take two small sponges. Immerse one in hot water and immerse the other in very cold. Hold the hot one against the caseback to warm it up whilst holding the cold one against the glass. This will encourage any water inside the caseback to evaporate and condense inside the glass. Repeat this a couple of times until condensation appears or doesn’t appear, It’s quick and it works.

    In hindsight I should’ve taken the watch to our local swimming baths, dived down to the bottom of the deep end (10 feet) then operated/waggled the pushers. Hopefully my lack of rigour can be forgiven.
    Last edited by walkerwek1958; 18th January 2019 at 10:53.

  22. #22
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by me32dc View Post
    Also what were the results of the vacuum test?
    The pushers can fail when knocked under water if the seals are on the way out.
    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Thanks for your constructive critical input.

    Watch was immersed in water, pushers were operated normally and pressed sideways, they were pushed and pulled every possible way whilst under approx 12Ē water.

    Spacer and movement were inspected whilst movement was out. Have to confess to not removing the hands and dial.

    Trust me, this watch was dry inside when re-assembled, and Iím almost certain it was dry when it was dismantled.

    Unlike you, I donít have access to vacuum test equipment, having to buy your own equipment does place inevitable constraints on capability, so I rely on a wet pressure tester. However, I think youíll agree that immersion in air, then water, at 5bar is a rigorous test thatíll detect leaks. The case was tested with the movement out and the crown in place, as you know the crown wouldíve popped out if the inside of the case had become pressurised.

    Hereís a little tip you might like: After carrying out the wet pressure test, take two small sponges. Immerse one in hot water and immerse the other in very cold. Hold the hot one against the caseback to warm it up whilst holding the cold one against the glass. This will encourage any water inside the caseback to evaporate and condense inside the glass. Repeat this a couple of times until condensation appears or doesnít appear, Itís quick and it works.

    In hindsight I shouldíve taken the watch to our local swimming baths, dived down to the bottom of the deep end (10 feet) then operated/waggled the pushers. Hopefully my lack of rigour can be forgiven.
    As the OP, I'm more than happy with the checks that Paul conducted while the watch was with him. The point was not to have a full service, but to evaluate what, if any, damage may have been caused to the watch and to determine its resistance to future water/moisture ingress. Had Paul recommended a full breakdown, service and rebuild then that is what would have happened through him or elsewhere. I was stuck between concern over the function of the watch and a c.£500 service (this is what Omega and an independent Omega service centre quoted). For what Paul did and what he charged I am delighted.

    Ant

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Unless the watch was orginally cased up in a rain forest with maximum humidity at 40 degrees I canít see a viable explanation. Thankfully the watch has survived OK and itís running like a good Ďun, the timegrapher doesnít lie and neither do my eyes ( strong magnifiers help a lot).
    This seems to me the most likely explanation if the seals were all working well. Being born in Manchester I know Stockport isn't a tropical climate :)), was it a very cold snap when the fogging appeared? It could simply be a dew point being reached inside the watch with a sharp drop in temperature.

  24. #24
    Master
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    Nothing worse than an inexplicable problem. If it never recurs, great. Sounds like the most sensible and cost-effective analysis has been undertaken. Fingers crossed.

  25. #25
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by size11s View Post
    This seems to me the most likely explanation if the seals were all working well. Being born in Manchester I know Stockport isn't a tropical climate :)), was it a very cold snap when the fogging appeared? It could simply be a dew point being reached inside the watch with a sharp drop in temperature.
    Dew point crossed my mind but I've forgotten the Physics and thought this must be the cause of the humid air condensing on the crystal. Yes, getting out of a warm car to refuel did cause a sudden -20c drop in air temperature which is when the fogging occurred.

    Ant

  26. #26
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    I could imagine a 20 degree drop in temp would do it. It's pretty much the same situation as walkerwek1958 describes with his hot and cold sponges, warm arm on the back of the watch, cold air to the crystal. I think it would also explain why there was no damage evident inside the watch, once warmed back up the liquid water would evaporate quite quickly.

  27. #27
    Grand Master
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    I tried to do the calculation to determine how much water is trapped in the watch when it's cased up at 25į in a saturated atmosphere. Having worked through the figures I got a very low result (<1mg).....then I realised the data I'd used was from an American site and the temperature was in bloody įF not įC! At this point I became distracted and didn't revisit the calculation, taking the view that the answer wouldn't change anything I was about to do. I estimated the volume of free air in the watch at between 15 and 20mls, that's a guess based on the movement itself taking up the majority of the space. Perhaps its fair to assume the volume of the movement is actually 50% air.

    I`ve tried in the past to simulate this effect and never managed to see any condensation, but in theory it's possible. If the traces of moisture fogging the inside of the crystal coalesce to form a bigger droplet it'll be harder to get that droplet to re-evaporate when the watch warms up.

    I`m tempted to have ago at simulating this using an acrylic glass and a watch case.......watch this space

    When I had a 'real' job I recall using nitrogen-filled plastic bags to weigh out air sensitive and hydroscopic materials using a small balance. The bags were supplied with gloves moulded in, specifically for the purpose. The bag was filled with dry nitrogen and purged a few times, a laborious procedure but essential. Maybe it's time to start casing up watches the same way.....seems crazy but it would avoid presence of oxygen and eliminate moisture!

    I`m not aware of any procedures used in the watch business to control humidity in workshops or assembly areas, but it wouldn't be difficult to ensure the air trapped in the watch was dry. Silica gel and a plastic bag would suffice, prior to fitting the caseback the watch is placed in a plastic bag containing dry silica gel, left for a while, then sealed up. Sounds like overkill but it would work!

  28. #28
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    My aged and simplistic understanding of it is that it is to do with Relative Humidity (RH), not Absolute humidity. That is humidity relative to temperature. Air can hold a given amount of water (as a gas) at a given temperature, if that temperature drops the amount of water that air can hold (as a gas) falls, and you get condensation on the coldest available surface. If the temperature rises the potential amount of water (as a gas) that the air can hold rises.

    I think the calculation would be dependant on what Relative Humidity the watch was sealed at. If the watch was sealed at 50% RH and a temperature of 22 degrees celsius there would be more available water (to condense) in the given volume of air than if the watch was sealed at 35% RH and a temp of 22 degrees celsius. Likewise, if the watch was sealed at 50% RH and a temperature of 18 degrees there would be less available water to condense than at 50% RH and 22 degrees. I think I have remembered that right!

    I think a specific 'case sealing room' with the environment controlled to a low RH with a low temperature would help prevent condensation inside the case.....then again I suppose it would depend on the hygrometric half time of the case but that is way beyond my scientific abilities....I have a head ache now!!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by size11s View Post
    My aged and simplistic understanding of it is that it is to do with Relative Humidity (RH), not Absolute humidity. That is humidity relative to temperature. Air can hold a given amount of water (as a gas) at a given temperature, if that temperature drops the amount of water that air can hold (as a gas) falls, and you get condensation on the coldest available surface. If the temperature rises the potential amount of water (as a gas) that the air can hold rises.

    I think the calculation would be dependant on what Relative Humidity the watch was sealed at. If the watch was sealed at 50% RH and a temperature of 22 degrees celsius there would be more available water (to condense) in the given volume of air than if the watch was sealed at 35% RH and a temp of 22 degrees celsius. Likewise, if the watch was sealed at 50% RH and a temperature of 18 degrees there would be less available water to condense than at 50% RH and 22 degrees. I think I have remembered that right!

    I think a specific 'case sealing room' with the environment controlled to a low RH with a low temperature would help prevent condensation inside the case.....then again I suppose it would depend on the hygrometric half time of the case but that is way beyond my scientific abilities....I have a head ache now!!
    Correct!.......I'm going to revisit the numbers to satisfy my curiosity, making worst case assumptions. Just been thinking about this whilst doing the domestic chores, wifey makes me do these things on Fridays!

    Acrylic vs glass is bugging me, is it a factor? Glass has the ability to adsorb water vapour onto its surface, if an item of glassware is removed from an oven and placed on a 4 decimal place balance it will gain very slightly in weight as it cools. This is due to traces of moisture being attracted (adsorbed) onto the surface of the glass. As far as I know acrylic plastic can`t do this. My hypothesis is whether the glass surface can act almost like a sponge, as it cools its ability to 'contain' traces of water on its surface increases and the moisture doesn`t condense into minute droplets (fogging). There are other effects such as heat capacity and heat transfer, not to mention surface effects, but the question is whether glass and acrylic behave differently in this situation? Anecdotal evidence suggests that Speedy Pros are prone to fogging, everyone wrongly blames the 50M WR rating simply because 50 is a smaller number than 200 or 300 that are typical thesedays, but I think that's the wrong answer.

    Maybe I`m overthinking this, possibly my heads disappeared up my arse at this stage (it happens), but I`m keen to prove this one way or the other.

    An experiment shall be carried out later. Rest assured that no watches or dumb animals shall be harmed and the results will be shared!

  30. #30
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    I admire your ambition! There are so many potentially influential factors. As you say I wonder if the thermal properties of glass and acrylic have an influence on this 'instant fogging' that the OP experienced. Off the top of my head I would imagine that glass would probably react quicker to a temperature change than acrylic all other things being equal, thickness etc.

  31. #31
    Master
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    Glad it was resolved to your satisfaction OP.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Hereís a little tip you might like: After carrying out the wet pressure test, take two small sponges. Immerse one in hot water and immerse the other in very cold. Hold the hot one against the caseback to warm it up whilst holding the cold one against the glass. This will encourage any water inside the caseback to evaporate and condense inside the glass. Repeat this a couple of times until condensation appears or doesnít appear, Itís quick and it works.

    In hindsight I shouldíve taken the watch to our local swimming baths, dived down to the bottom of the deep end (10 feet) then operated/waggled the pushers. Hopefully my lack of rigour can be forgiven.
    Wasn't intending as criticism, just offering advice. Thanks for yours, but I use a Roxer Revelator R1 at work and it or variants of it are pretty standard in industry for condensation testing.

  33. #33
    Grand Master
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    This attention to detail is why i always get paul to sort out my Omegas!




    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Correct!.......I'm going to revisit the numbers to satisfy my curiosity, making worst case assumptions. Just been thinking about this whilst doing the domestic chores, wifey makes me do these things on Fridays!

    Acrylic vs glass is bugging me, is it a factor? Glass has the ability to adsorb water vapour onto its surface, if an item of glassware is removed from an oven and placed on a 4 decimal place balance it will gain very slightly in weight as it cools. This is due to traces of moisture being attracted (adsorbed) onto the surface of the glass. As far as I know acrylic plastic can`t do this. My hypothesis is whether the glass surface can act almost like a sponge, as it cools its ability to 'contain' traces of water on its surface increases and the moisture doesn`t condense into minute droplets (fogging). There are other effects such as heat capacity and heat transfer, not to mention surface effects, but the question is whether glass and acrylic behave differently in this situation? Anecdotal evidence suggests that Speedy Pros are prone to fogging, everyone wrongly blames the 50M WR rating simply because 50 is a smaller number than 200 or 300 that are typical thesedays, but I think that's the wrong answer.

    Maybe I`m overthinking this, possibly my heads disappeared up my arse at this stage (it happens), but I`m keen to prove this one way or the other.

    An experiment shall be carried out later. Rest assured that no watches or dumb animals shall be harmed and the results will be shared!
    ktmog6uk
    marchingontogether!



  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post

    Omega Speedy Moonwatch is the best model in the Omega range IMO, a true design classic. Frustratingly I find it wears a bit too big for my liking, if it was slightly smaller Iíd own one, but my 3510.50 Speedy reduced scratches the same itch ........almost!
    I think it's far from the best watch they currently make, either in tech or spec - but it looks damn nice, and I love mine.


    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    I`m not aware of any procedures used in the watch business to control humidity in workshops or assembly areas, but it wouldn't be difficult to ensure the air trapped in the watch was dry.
    Omega assemble their watches in purpose built climate controlled environment, presumably that includes humidity rather than just a heating control to keep the workers warm in winter and cooler in summer. Presumably similar to the Rolex facility, which Hodinkee described as "these rooms are more than pristine Ė they are called "Controlled Environment Zones" and are totally dust and humidity free."
    It's just a matter of time...

  35. #35
    Delighted it's been sorted out

    Sent from my SM-G950F using TZ-UK mobile app

  36. #36
    I remember there was a fad on this (?) forum a few years ago where people were putting an ice cube on the dial of their Submariner or PO etc and then getting all worried when condensation formed on the inside of the crystal - to disappear again a few minutes after the ice cube was removed. Iíve also read that the same thing can happen on G shocks made in Thailand due to the local high humidity compared to that in Japan. This was followed up with descriptions of highly controlled Casio factory environments where electronics are assembled, very much like the Omega and Rolex facilities. Must admit Iím perplexed by that amount of condensation on the OPís picture, hope itís permanently fixed


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    I remember there was a fad on this (?) forum a few years ago where people were putting an ice cube on the dial of their Submariner or PO etc and then getting all worried when condensation formed on the inside of the crystal - to disappear again a few minutes after the ice cube was removed. Iíve also read that the same thing can happen on G shocks made in Thailand due to the local high humidity compared to that in Japan. This was followed up with descriptions of highly controlled Casio factory environments where electronics are assembled, very much like the Omega and Rolex facilities. Must admit Iím perplexed by that amount of condensation on the OPís picture, hope itís permanently fixed


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I didnít put a photo up of the fogging on my watch, but it looked similar to the other posterís photo albeit not across the entire crystal.

    Ant

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