How would you "waterproof" an AW?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by BarracksSi, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. BarracksSi, Jul 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016

    BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    (knowing that "waterproof" is never truly 100% achievable)

    The fact that the AW can't boast 200 meters of water resistance hasn't stopped me from rinsing it off every day. So, let's see who the materials and manufacturing engineers are in this forum...

    Traditional watches built to withstand a hundred meters and more of water resistance share a few basic things: solid construction, progressively thicker crystals and cases, and compressible seals. Screw-down casebacks and crowns are common, but not required.

    Obstacles for the AW:

    Force Touch. It relies on a rectangular pressure-sensitive strip sandwiched between the edge of the display glass and the case. There's a layer of glue holding the glass to the strip, and another layer of glue holding the strip to the case. Glue is not great for creating a waterproof seal because it can be applied unevenly despite the best efforts of an assembly line worker.

    Q: Can the case and display be redesigned to add a better seal while leaving some "give" to activate Force Touch? And how can you be sure FT won't be activated if the wearer goes deep enough?

    Digital Crown. It turns, and it's a button. Include the Side Button here, too. Very few watches are rated to safely allow their buttons to be pushed while underwater -- indeed, most diver-style chronographs have threaded collars on their pushers to prevent the wearer from accidentally pressing them. I don't know of any watches whose manufacturers say it's okay to turn the crown underwater, either.

    Q: How would you redesign the crown to be used while submerged? Or can it at least be made to not leak if it's accidentally pressed and turned?

    Capacitive touchscreen. It doesn't play nicely with damp fingers, never mind when everything is soaked. Never has, either, going back to at least 2007. Let's say you go for a water resistance rating good enough to swimming in a pool.

    Q: How can you make the touchscreen work?

    Optical Sensors. Can't use a screw-down caseback here, so it would have to be snap-in. This might be the easiest change to make -- but it would have to be done so it can be removed without breaking the ceramic or plastic. I could see using an all-metal back surrounding the sensor lenses.

    Q: Would a transparent screw-down caseback allow the sensor lenses to be close enough to the skin for reliable readings? I doubt it.

    Microphone and speaker. They're already mostly water-resistant, and would naturally be useless underwater, so beefing them up to simply resist more pressure would be the goal.


    So, there you go. Solutions?

    (edited to make the questions more visible)
  2. Julien, Jul 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016

    Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    Another 'waterproof' thread.

    The :apple:Watch will NEVER be a divers watch and is not intended to EVER be. So an ATM 20 or higher rating will NEVER happen nor does it need to. Suggestion the :apple:Watch needs a ATM 20 or higher rating is ridicules. The current :apple:Watch has been tested to ATM 4 which is MORE than enough. If I (or over 99% of all :apple:Watch owner) ever get to ATM 5 or greater my :apple:Watch will be the least of my concerns. The next generation will likely (or could) carry an ATM 5 rating with the same basic construction.

  3. exxxviii macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2015
    The Garmin Vivoactive HR is rated to 5 ATM (50M) without a bulky, screwed case. But, getting another 150M looks like it takes a crap-ton of bulk for the seals and strength.

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