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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there, and thank you in advance for your thoughts.

I have seen a few threads discussing whether to swim with vintage dive watches, but what about older versions of modern dive watches like the first generation Omega Planet Ocean (2201.50)?

On vintage watches, the advice seems to be that if the watch is serviced regularly and pressure tested even a vintage dive watch should still be water resistant. However, many then advise not to swim with them as no watch is 100% guaranteed not to let water in and if a vintage watch gets water inside you may struggle to replace parts. That seems like sensible advice.

Getting parts for, say, a 2005 Planet Ocean would be much easier than for a 1960s Seamaster.

If an older “modern” dive watch like a Planet Ocean (which could be 15 years old) is serviced reasonably regularly would you still swim wearing it? If so, do you think you still would in another ten years, ie when the watch is 25 years old?

I am in the process of buying a 2006 42mm 2201.50, hence the question!

All responses gratefully received!
 

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The official line will be not to risk swimming with it but in reality you would be unlucky if it did leak. That said, watches are either waterproof (resistant) or theyre not. They dont start off with 200m WR and decrease with age to 180-150-100-10 and then leak. A friend of mine has a battered tag heuer aqua racer chrono and hes always on holidays (swimming in hot climates), showers with it, baths with it etc etc. He literally hasnt taken it off for 15 years. Ive warned him that hes on borrowed time but he couldnt care less. In his words "if it leaks ill just buy another one". Its still going and hes still swimming with it. Even the chrono pushers are sticky when you press them so its only a matter of time. Another example is my partners Seamaster. She wore it in the sea regularly for over 10 years with no problems. She also took hot baths which is against advice due to heat stressing seals etc. I think it was 12 years before I said it was worth running in for a service which cost about £400 (over 12 years, this is a bargain). With all this in mind, im sure there are also threads where someone has wrecked a 5 year old seamaster the first time they went paddling.

With the PO, parts for those will be available for a long time yet and its a pretty indestructible watch. Buy it, enjoy it and get it pressure tested at your AD every year or two. They shouldn't charge you. Set a aside a few £ for a service in a few years and it will serve you for many years to come.
 

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I am in the be safe camp, so as I have plenty of modern divers that I am happy will not leak I would never risk an antique that could be ruined so easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The official line will be not to risk swimming with it but in reality you would be unlucky if it did leak. That said, watches are either waterproof (resistant) or theyre not. They dont start off with 200m WR and decrease with age to 180-150-100-10 and then leak. A friend of mine has a battered tag heuer aqua racer chrono and hes always on holidays (swimming in hot climates), showers with it, baths with it etc etc. He literally hasnt taken it off for 15 years. Ive warned him that hes on borrowed time but he couldnt care less. In his words "if it leaks ill just buy another one". Its still going and hes still swimming with it. Even the chrono pushers are sticky when you press them so its only a matter of time. Another example is my partners Seamaster. She wore it in the sea regularly for over 10 years with no problems. She also took hot baths which is against advice due to heat stressing seals etc. I think it was 12 years before I said it was worth running in for a service which cost about £400 (over 12 years, this is a bargain). With all this in mind, im sure there are also threads where someone has wrecked a 5 year old seamaster the first time they went paddling.

With the PO, parts for those will be available for a long time yet and its a pretty indestructible watch. Buy it, enjoy it and get it pressure tested at your AD every year or two. They shouldn't charge you. Set a aside a few £ for a service in a few years and it will serve you for many years to come.
That is really helpful advice, thank you. I would plan to get it serviced before I swim with it as I don't know when it was last done. I had a quartz Seamaster ten years ago and it literally leaked the first time I swam with it. It was fixed under warranty, but I never felt the same about it after that. I always suspected that the helium escape valve hadn't been tightened properly, but who knows. I certainly never touched it!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am in the be safe camp, so as I have plenty of modern divers that I am happy will not leak I would never risk an antique that could be ruined so easily.
Thanks so much. I am not sure when a watch becomes antique or vintage, but I would plan to use this watch for at least ten years, by which time it will be 25 years old. That is starting to feel quite antique!
 

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My Subby is 28 years old now, and when she was a young watch went in the water all the time.

Now she has retired from getting wet and is happy sitting out on the decking looking over a beer at the waves.
 

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I'd say 15 years is not old at all for a watch. As long as the seals are replaced at regular intervals and pressure tested there is no reason why it can't have the same water resistance as a new watch.
The main thing to look for is corrosion around the seal ring seats that may compromise the seal.

Wanting to preserve an older watch from harm that may have sentimental value or hard to find parts is a different matter.
 

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I would agree that fifteen years is not old or a Dive watch like the PO. I purchased a quartz Omega Seamaster Bond watch from an AD back in 1995. I had the battery replaced every 4 - 5 or so years by the AD, who also tested and certified water resistance. I wore that watch for about 20 years, and recently gave it to my daughter as a graduation gift. It was my daily wear piece, and was always in the water the entire time I owned it.

If we were talking about an oddball, very rare vintage watch with a design that has no modern equivalent, I’de agree that caution over water resistance is probably a good thing. But a watch like a Rolex (oyster) or an Omega Seamaster 300M where the case and seal design hasn’t really changed in over 30 - 40 years, it will be fine if maintained.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'd say 15 years is not old at all for a watch. As long as the seals are replaced at regular intervals and pressure tested there is no reason why it can't have the same water resistance as a new watch.
The main thing to look for is corrosion around the seal ring seats that may compromise the seal.

Wanting to preserve an older watch from harm that may have sentimental value or hard to find parts is a different matter.
Sounds like great advice, thank you. Very reassuring.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would agree that fifteen years is not old or a Dive watch like the PO. I purchased a quartz Omega Seamaster Bond watch from an AD back in 1995. I had the battery replaced every 4 - 5 or so years by the AD, who also tested and certified water resistance. I wore that watch for about 20 years, and recently gave it to my daughter as a graduation gift. It was my daily wear piece, and was always in the water the entire time I owned it.

If we were talking about an oddball, very rare vintage watch with a design that has no modern equivalent, I’de agree that caution over water resistance is probably a good thing. But a watch like a Rolex (oyster) or an Omega Seamaster 300M where the case and seal design hasn’t really changed in over 30 - 40 years, it will be fine if maintained.
That is a great story, thank you, though I didn't have the same luck my quartz Seamaster Bond (see comment above). My son says he is not interested in watches, but he will learn!
 

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Water resistance is not a permanent feature - it has to be maintained just like any other part of the watch. If the seals are new, the sealing surfaces are in good condition (no pitting), and the watch is able to pass the relevant pressure testing, you are fine.

Regarding the comments about vintage watches, people often can't separate the ability of a watch to be water resistant, from the consequences of failure. So a vintage watch where a lot of the value is in the dial, people will be hesitant to expose it to water even if all the seals are new and it passes all tests. But this has nothing to do with the actual capability of the watch, and it's more about risk tolerance.

Cheers, Al
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Water resistance is not a permanent feature - it has to be maintained just like any other part of the watch. If the seals are new, the sealing surfaces are in good condition (no pitting), and the watch is able to pass the relevant pressure testing, you are fine.

Regarding the comments about vintage watches, people often can't separate the ability of a watch to be water resistant, from the consequences of failure. So a vintage watch where a lot of the value is in the dial, people will be hesitant to expose it to water even if all the seals are new and it passes all tests. But this has nothing to do with the actual capability of the watch, and it's more about risk tolerance.

Cheers, Al
Thanks so much for your reply, and it is very reassuring. I have read many of your comments on other threads as well. Like the others on this discussion, you are very generous with your time and expertise. Thank you.
 

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I think if I had a PO of that age I’d still risk getting it wet (as opposed to diving in it) but have the WR checked on a more regular basis.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think if I had a PO of that age I’d still risk getting it wet (as opposed to diving in it) but have the WR checked on a more regular basis.
I think that is exactly the approach I will take. Don't tell anyone, but I have only been scuba diving once and hated it! I still want a dive watch though . . .
 

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I think that is exactly the approach I will take. Don't tell anyone, but I have only been scuba diving once and hated it! I still want a dive watch though . . .
Just because you don’t dive is no reason not to have a dive watch. If it was I’d be in mega trouble. :LOL:
 

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You've gotten excellent advice above, and as usual Archer really nails the issue - what are the consequences if it fails?

It's one thing if you're talking about your birth year tropical dial Speedy Pro, totally another if it's a PO where you can just buy a new dial and move on, no big deal.

I have a black/orange PO 2500 42mm that's one of my all time favorite watches, and I'd scuba dive with it without hesitation if it'd be serviced in the last few years.

IMHO, it's all about servicing and testing, rather than age of the watch. If you've serviced it, and had it pressure tested, go for it. If you're really concerned about it, do an annual pressure test at the local mall or wherever, and hop in the water.

I'll also differentiate between swimming/snorkeling and actual scuba diving... there's a world of difference between swimming at the surface and being 100' down. When I scuba, I wear seiko divers, just because it's not a painful expense if they flood.
 

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Hi there, and thank you in advance for your thoughts.

I have seen a few threads discussing whether to swim with vintage dive watches, but what about older versions of modern dive watches like the first generation Omega Planet Ocean (2201.50)?

On vintage watches, the advice seems to be that if the watch is serviced regularly and pressure tested even a vintage dive watch should still be water resistant. However, many then advise not to swim with them as no watch is 100% guaranteed not to let water in and if a vintage watch gets water inside you may struggle to replace parts. That seems like sensible advice.

Getting parts for, say, a 2005 Planet Ocean would be much easier than for a 1960s Seamaster.

If an older “modern” dive watch like a Planet Ocean (which could be 15 years old) is serviced reasonably regularly would you still swim wearing it? If so, do you think you still would in another ten years, ie when the watch is 25 years old?

I am in the process of buying a 2006 42mm 2201.50, hence the question!

All responses gratefully received!
I can tell you this: I've been wearing my Speedmaster Mk40 daily since 2007. It is not a diver, mind you, but an auto chrono, "just" 30m water resistant with press-fitted back and crown. All this time, it's been having showers and baths with me, swimming in the beach and even (light) free diving with me... everything. My only precaution has been not using the chrono pushers under water. By the end of last year, after 13 years of faithful service, it went to Omega for a full treatment and I got it back last Saturday. This morning it went to the shower with me... (well, I think you can see what follows).
 
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