Introduction: Convert a Water-resistant Sport Watch Into a Dive Watch

Picture of Convert a Water-resistant Sport Watch Into a Dive Watch

Problem:  I spend long hours underwater at shallow depths and I need to keep track of the time.

Parameters: I don't need the fancy features of a $500+ saturation dive watch, however the cheap "water resistant to 50M" watches are not up to the task.  I don't even need the features of the cheap watches either, I just need something that will display the time and not get destroyed by a few hundred hours at 20 feet.

Solution: Encapsulate a cheap sport watch in clear polyester resin.

Step 1: Get Supplies

Picture of Get Supplies

Step 1. Get supplies. Cheap water-resistant sport watch with large display, suitable mold, clear resin, hardener.

Step 2: Prep Watches

Picture of Prep Watches

Step 2. Prep watches, set time/mode, remove bands.

Step 3: Add First Layer

Picture of Add First Layer

Step 3. Add first layer, 1/2oz each.  Mix resin and hardener according to instructions on package.  Pour a thin "face layer" and wait 30 minutes for it to gel.  Otherwise, the watch will sink to bottom and will not be encapsulated properly.  Use stir stick to remove any bubbles from bottom of mold.

Step 4: Add Watches and Second Layer

Picture of Add Watches and Second Layer

Step 4. Add Watches and second layer, 1oz each.  Use stir stick and coat watch face with resin, remove all air bubbles. Pour a some resin on top of first layer, place watch in resin, move it around to dislodge any air bubbles.  Pour in rest of resin layer.  Watch should be completely covered.  Let sit 30 minutes until this layer gels.

Step 5: Add Straps and Third Layer

Picture of Add Straps and Third Layer

Step 5. Add straps and third layer, 1/2oz each.  There needs to be a way to strap the watch to your person, you should have figured out something to use and have it ready.  I used the straps off a sleeping bag, they come with locking clips and plenty of strap.  Use stir stick to coat both sides of the strap, removing as much air as you can.  Place strap on top of second layer.  Pour the rest of the third layer over strap.  Wait 4 or so hours.

Step 6: Remove From Mold.

Picture of Remove From Mold.

Step 6. Remove from mold.  After the resin has mostly cured, 4 hours or more, it will shrink slightly and pull away from the mold.  It should pop right out, perhaps with a gentle tug. 

Step 7: Inspect Awesomeness

Picture of Inspect Awesomeness

Step 7. Inspect Awesomeness. Two totally encapsulated watches for a total of about $50 (Two watches: $17 each, 1/4 of the $30 resin+hardener, found straps), they should meet all my dive watch needs.  If the any of the watch is exposed, simply mix some more resin, place in the mold, and put the watch in on top.  This should form a new layer and bond to the previous layers.

Comments

SWV1787 (author)2010-05-10

I think it looks cool but I think it might get expensive when you need to purchases a new watch, resin, and webbing every time your battery dies

safonatt (author)SWV17872010-05-10

Thanks for the kind words.  I did think of the battery issue, but the batteries on these watches last for years, especially without using the light.  A solar powered watch would be cool, but likely not worth it.

sjdaskldd (author)safonatt2016-10-31

Solar pwered CASIO watches have gotten really cheap.they are now about 30 bucks for the cheapest.You may have just gotten an atomic solar g shock by now.

SWV1787 (author)safonatt2010-05-11

How about if you stretched a couple layers of rubber recycled from bicycle inner tubes over the buttons and then set drinking straws into your casting to allow access to the buttons to reset time as needed (Daylight-savings time for instance). You could also attach a small solar panel recycled from a calculator and a diode to prevent electrical flow-back. but you might have to find a rechargable battery if the watch's one isn't already.

sjdaskldd (author)2016-10-31

ahh you are in Alaska? I see why you have not obtained a proper dive watch.everything is expensive there .For an oil filled watch i have heard Hydroil is best.

sjdaskldd (author)2016-10-31

VEy clever but I may have abetter idea.You could get a 100 meter water resistant CASIO on clearance sale or get a VOSTOK amphibia or Komandirskie.

sjdaskldd (author)sjdaskldd2016-10-31

An amphibia from Meranom.com should cost about 60 bucks plus shipping.They are tough as nails and look good.

Daveyboy1234 (author)2015-12-22

Buy a Rolex you only do it once. Won't leak. Impossible to destroy. I have 2600 logged dives or 1935 hours your choice on my new in 1987 Rolex submariner .......bulletproof

safonatt (author)Daveyboy12342015-12-23

Yes, that is certainly a good solution, if a guy has the money. When I wrote this, I was a struggling Bering Sea gold miner, who needed a cheap way to tell time 25 feet underwater and could take being smacked and scraped by rocks all day. For $25 this served it's purpose.

And now that I'm one of the most successful Bering Sea gold miners and can easily afford your nice Rolex, I don't need one because I operate a remote operated underwater miner and rarely need to dive under those conditions.

VadimS (author)2010-05-12

It look great, you would probably only use it for diving so daylight savings time would probably not be a problem (unless you like cold water or are going to the Caribbean or something). The watch I have now is on it's third battery but I've had it for 15+ years.

Another method (as previously stated) is to fill it with oil, just re- assemble it in a cup of oil to make shire there are no bubbles. Mineral oil is your best bet.

The most likely spot for them to leak is the buttons.

Nice idea, well except from resin that becomes rock solid could transparent heat glue but in a smaller mold do the job (and also keep the buttons functional)?

not hot glue (too week) but you can buy clear two part silicone that would work (not RTV).

thanks!

rdillon (author)2011-09-29

Ummm - Nosey question from an interested diver... What do you do while you're spending many hours underwater? :-)

safonatt (author)rdillon2011-09-29

I dredge for gold off the bottom of the Bering Sea (diver operated, suction dredge), I'm actually about to get in the water in an hour. See Discovery channel for a series about it Spring 2012.

Grazerquart (author)safonatt2012-09-01

that's so cool it must be amazing

rdillon (author)safonatt2011-09-30

I am enlightened :-) Thank you!

Mustard Dave (author)2011-02-23

I don't see the point - this watch is £32 (approx $50 US).

http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/2830728/Trail/searchtext%3EDIVER.htm

lemonie (author)2010-05-11

If these are water-resistant, filling them with oil is an idea for an alternative. But you'd have to totally-fill them.
I like the enclosure you've done here, it looks very good.

L

safonatt (author)lemonie2010-05-11

Thanks. Yes, I've looked at oil-filling, and plan to do that if I ever need to make an enclosure that requires penetrations, such as increasing water-resistance of electric or hydraulic motors.

Jobar007 (author)2010-05-11

You could have water inclusion problems if you are using polyester resin instead of epoxy resin. If there are any bubbles at all in the resin (when using polyester) they will eventually fill with water and be subject to those problems... It is still cheaper than a scuba/free dive watch. Awesome idea!

safonatt (author)Jobar0072010-05-11

Ah, thanks for the tip.  Next time, I'll look into epoxy resin.

mikeasaurus (author)2010-05-10

I like the look, it's like a time-puck or something.

Can you elaborate on what fails on the water-resistant watches to make them not suitable? Where do they leak, the back cover, the buttons or the faceplate?

safonatt (author)mikeasaurus2010-05-10

I wouldn't know what fails, I've never tried to take a cheap non-diving watch underwater.  I was doing research on which watch to buy, and didn't find anything but expensive ones that met my requirements.  Maybe they were only $250 and up, not all were $500.

The instructions on this "30 Meter" watch that I used here say "Do not press any buttons underwater" and "Watch is not a diver watch and should not be used for diving" and "Rinse watch with fresh water after exposure to salt water".

Reading the wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Resistant_mark and other pages, it was stated that watches are only "water resistant" to varying degrees. 

I dive in unique conditions, cold, salty, harsh environments, getting knocked around, and I need a watch that will do the job and not be a big loss _WHEN_ it gets destroyed.

tukas (author)2010-05-10

Yes, but still cheaper than $500.  Maybe a solar watch thing like the solar calculators.

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