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Oil-Filled Watches?


Someone once asked me about the purpose of oil-filled watches. This was my answer:

Many diver watches, exclusively quartz watches, use silicon oil in order to improve case durability and water resistance. These oils are used because liquids are relatively incompressible; that is, they are resistant to high environmental pressure. Because high pressure and lower temperatures reduce the overall volume of oil, it creates a vacuum (lower temperatures cause silicon oil to contract; the same amount of oil takes up less space when cooled), a flexible membrane or moveable piston in the case back is used to compensate for the difference. The oil also improves legibility of the watch face by mitigating light refraction and preventing condensation (fogging).

It’s a very interesting innovation for diver watches. A possible drawback, however, is the fact that no watch is completely waterproof. A little bit of water will still flow into the case and take up the space left behind by the “compressed” oil at lower depths so that after repeated submersions, bubbles may eventually form. When that happens, the watch would require repair or maintainace to refill the case or possibly replace the flexible membrane in the case back.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 01/11/2012 at 5:39 pm

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