Diver Watches: What is ISO?

October 18th, 2012 | 5 Comments

If you’re shopping for diver watches, then it’s likely you’ve come across the acronym ISO in regards to diver watch standards.

But what does ISO mean? Does Orient offer diver watches that meet the required ISO standards? Read on to find out!

ISO Overview

ISO generically stands for International Organization for Standardization. Therefore, ISO officiates worldwide industrial and commercial standards, including watch standards.

For watches, ISO is broken down into 2 sets of standards. ISO 2281 offers a list of standards for water-resistant watches. Introduced in 1990, ISO 2281 banned the term waterproof in regards to watches and instead adopted the more precise term water-resistant.

The other standard, ISO 6425, regulates diver watches, specifically. ISO 6425 was introduced in 1996, and defines a diver watch as a watch that contains a system to control time, which can also withstand diving to depths of at least 100m.

The full ISO 6425 water-resistance test looks something like this (note that all tests except where specified are conducted in water that is between 18 and 25 degrees celsius):

  • Reliability. A watch is immersed 30cm underwater or 50 hours. If the watch fails to function in any way, it’s eliminated.
  • Condensation. A watch is placed on a heated plate (between 40 and 45 degrees celsius) until the watch is at the same temperature as the plate; a drop of cooler water (between 18 and 25 degrees celsius) is placed on the watch. If condensation appears on the interior, the watch is eliminated.
  • Resistance. A watch is subjected to 125% of the rated water pressure for 10 minutes as well as an external perpendicular force to the crown and other buttons. If the crown or buttons fail, the watch is eliminated.
  • Water-Tightness. A watch is immersed in water and, within 1 minute, subjected to 125% of the rated water pressure for 2 hours. The pressure may be reduced slightly, and then maintained for an hour. If there are signs of water intrusion or condensation, the watch is eliminated.
  • Thermal Shock. A watch is immersed 30cm underwater for 10 minutes at each of the following temperatures: 40, 5, and 40 degrees celsius. If there are signs of water intrusion or condensation, the watch is eliminated.

And that’s just to test water resistance. ISO 6425 also requires that diver watches:

  • Contain a time pre-selecting device (e.g. unidirectional bezel, digital display)
  • Be legible at a distance of 25cm in the dark (e.g. lume on all watch hands, easily distinguishable hour and minute hands)
  • Indicate that the watch is running in complete darkness (i.e. luminous tip on the running second hand)
  • Be resistant to magnetic forces (tested by 3 exposures to a direct current magnetic field)
  • Be resistant to shock (tested by 2 shocks delivered at different locations on the watch)
  • Be resistant to salt water (tested by actually placing the watch in a saltwater solution for 24 hours)
  • Contain a band that is resistant to external forces (tested by applying force to the band)
  • Be marked as a diver watch (i.e. Diver’s Watch L M or Diver’s L M)

So now that you know all of the technicalities behind diver watch standards, let’s get into the fun part about diver watches: the actual watches!

Orient Diver Watches

Orient does offer lots of diver watches, but many of them are not equipped with all the requirements outlined in the ISO standards.

However, Orient offers 2 super special diver watches that contain many of the standards and features required by ISO 6425. And what are these watches? Orient Pro Saturation and M-Force, of course.

Let’s check them out.

Water Resistance
Perhaps the most defining feature for a diver watch is its water resistance. The Pro Saturation is equipped with 300m water resistance while the M-Force falls a little behind with 200m water resistance. Either watch is suited for diving, swimming, and water sports, in general.

Lume is all too often forgotten about, but it’s such a crucial part of a diver watch. Both Pro Saturation and M-Force feature some seriously intense lume. Each of the indices is highlighted with bold lume as are the minute and hour hands (which are quite easy to distinguish as well). The running second hand on both watches also features a luminous tip, which is essential for determining whether or not the watch is running in the dark.

Special bonus: both Pro Saturation and M-Force are hackable and hand-windable! This means that in addition to setting the hour and minute hands, you can also set the second hand for super precise time telling.

Unidirectional Bezel

Pro Saturation and M-Force each contain a 60-click unidirectional bezel, or time pre-selecting device, which essentially means both watches are resistant to inadvertent rotation or manipulation.

Screwed-Down Crown
Of course both of these divers are also equipped with screwed-down crowns. Such crowns resist force, manipulation, and pressure. Definitely essential for any dive watches as the screwed-down feature further protects against water intrusion and/or condensation.

What else?
Both Pro Saturation and M-Force offer sturdy, stainless steel bands with fold-over safety bands for added reliability.

Additionally, these divers feature an Orient caliber 40N5A, one of Orient’s finest mechanical movements. This movement features a date calendar as well as a power reserve indicator on the dial. The power reserve indicator allows you to know how long your watch will run. Orient Watches are generally equipped with approximately 40 hours of power reserve from a single charge (a charge is attained simply by wearing the watch!).

Last (but not least), Pro Saturation and M-Force feature sapphire crystal. This exceptional crystal glass is scratch-resistant and also contains anti-reflective coating.

These watches are pretty spectacular, right? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below!

  1. 5 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By Luciano on Oct 18, 2012

    The Pro Saturation is such an amazing looking watch.

  3. By Luciano on Oct 18, 2012

    The Pro Saturation is a really great looking watch.

  4. By Roger on Oct 18, 2012

    Great info! Seen the ISO markings for watches glad to know what it finally means!

  5. By Aaron on Oct 18, 2012

    I love my Orients – the M-Force is a no holds barred kind of diver – a wonderful watch. If I can ever afford a Pro Saturation, I’ll own one. ;-)

  6. By nikolas on Oct 19, 2012

    I love watches this durable. M-Force is at the top of my wish list for sure. Gives the impression of a very robust clock. Sapphire in these class of watches is rare.

5 comments | Tell us what you think!