Stainless Straps in the Water

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by redman042, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. redman042 macrumors 68030

    redman042

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    #1
    So after upgrading to the AW S2 I learned that the stainless straps (Milanese and Link Bracelet) are not water resistant, according to Apple. This surprised me. I have a Link and my wife has a Milanese. While swimming is not a frequent activity for us, it would have been nice to just jump in with our favorite straps on without worrying about it.

    I'm curious whether anyone has been swimming with genuine stainless straps in the past and how it's gone. I know some folks swam regularly with their Series 0 despite the recommendation not too. Just wondering whether any of those folks wore the Milanese or Link while doing it.

    Apple could be playing it safe here or there could be a significant threat to the steel bands. Just trying to understand this better and to see how careful we need to be.
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #2
    Stainless steel comes in various compounds.
    316L would be resistant to rust.
    However it's expensive. Most likely they used a cheaper grade. Try attaching a magnet to it. The more it attracts, the more iron (and potential corrosion) in your strap.
     
  3. Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    #3
    I own the stainless steel and black stainless steel bracelet. I have not swam with either one of them. However, I have gotten both wet. If you're able to dry them in a suitable fashion, I have not seen an issue with either of mine. But I do believe it depends on the amount of exposure and how it's treated after the fact.
     
  4. BillGates1969 macrumors 6502

    BillGates1969

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Location:
    Bournemouth
    #4
    Funnily I thought the same. I got a SS2 42 for Christmas to replace my Milanese SS0 42.

    I checked out Apple support and saw they said that the Milanese wasn't water proof.

    I took a shower with the Milanese and whilst there was no damage, it smelt very 'metallic' afterwards - the only solution was to take it off, wash it and let it dry (rather the same was as when I clean it). My arm needed a wash too

    I am just going to use my sports straps for the gym or swimming. I suppose the clue is in the name for what they are for

    Incidentally (and not trying to go off topic) how do you all clean your Milanese straps? I put it in a bowl of very hot water that has clothes washing powder in for 3-4 hours. I then rinse it off and let it dry - it comes out looking like new.
     
  5. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030

    redman042

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    #5
    Seems like the straps are expensive enough that they could use the "good stainless". But in the case of the Milanese, they need higher magnetic attraction to make the clasp work. So I don't know.

    Also it's odd that the stainless watch case is ok but the straps are not. Perhaps a different grade of stainless, or a special coating on the case (though what about scratches)? I'm guessing the main issue is that these two straps have a LOT of surface area that is exposed to the elements, making it much harder to resist corrosion.

    Most likely an occasional swim especially in fresh water, followed by a thorough rinse, would not be a major issue, but they aren't going to say that.
     
  6. chuyn, Dec 28, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017

    chuyn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    #6
    That is odd.. even Apple's product page for the link bracelet states that it's "crafted from the same 316L stainless steel alloy as the case..." yet they then note that metal bands aren't water resistant. Wonder if it's because water and dirt getting gunked up in the hinges and latches. I've gotten mine wet and washed it many times since launch and nothing looks wrong.
     
  7. Julien macrumors G4

    Julien

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #7
    Couple of things to keep in mind. Apple markets the band as a dress band and wants to sell a Sport band to anyone wanting to swim. Also it is just plan easier to error on the side of caution and say not to expose to water.

    • Sell a Sport's band
    • Take the easy road of caution
     
  8. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030

    redman042

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    #8
    That could be the case. If a few people post here that they've been swimming with their stainless straps without issue, I might do it occasionally. Of course, if I think to swap straps before I go out, I'll put my Sport on, but I might not always remember.
     
  9. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    Jul 24, 2009
    #9
    Neither rust. Mine get wet daily and I clean them in an ultrasonic bath every couple of weeks.
     
  10. chuyn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    #10
    I doubt anything will happen, but imo, it's not very comfortable. When I bathe my children and forget to take off my watch, the link gets dunked and I really don't like how it feels so I end up taking it off.
     
  11. DougFNJ macrumors 6502a

    DougFNJ

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    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #11
    The only thing I could think of on why they would post that is because of all the tiny areas that are not so easy to reach with a towel to dry off.
     
  12. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030

    redman042

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    #12
    True. I don't like wetness under my strap either.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 28, 2016 ---
    I've gotten mine wet in the sink plenty with no issues. But the issue may be submergence for longer periods in a chlorinated pool or in salt water. I can't imagine there's an issue with pressure (there's no where for water to leak in) so it must be corrosion.
     
  13. Archer1440 Suspended

    Archer1440

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #13

    Or you could just look at the clasp, which is clearly marked 316L Stainless Steel.

    I've had my link bracelet for almost 18 months and it's still pristine, though it gets wet every day. It's even been through a motorcycle crash none the worse for wear.

    Once every 6-8 weeks or so I lay it flat and buff it with a bit of scotchbrite under running water to correct scratches. It looks identical to a brand new one.
     
  14. nicho macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #14
    doesn't the Milanese Loop use glue to keep the magnet in place?
     
  15. coolbreeze Suspended

    coolbreeze

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Location:
    UT
    #15
    Liquid soap + toothbrush. Rinse under warm water, dry immediately with towel and hair dryer.

    Zero issues and always looks brand new.
     
  16. Arran macrumors 601

    Arran

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, USA
    #16
    SS link has been in the (freshwater) pool with me at least a dozen times: No issues.

    SB Milanese has also been swimming about half a dozen times. Again, no issues. I really like the Milanese because it's easy to get a tight fit for the heart rate monitor. With the link, I have to remember to remove a link, put it somewhere and then remember to add it back. (My wrist shrinks slightly in cold water and the HRM can lose contact)

    (Oh yeah, they both get a warm shower afterwards. That's all the cleaning they ever get)
     
  17. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030

    redman042

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #17
    We use an ultrasonic cleaner with warm water and a drop of dish soap. We run three cycles then rinse and wipe with a towel. Works great.
     
  18. Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    Jul 12, 2016
    #18
    I have heard good things about ultrasonic cleansers with relations to jewelry cleaning. I'm thinking I will invest in one. Good call.
     
  19. MartyCan macrumors 65816

    MartyCan

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    Location:
    Near Toronto, ON
    #19
    If they are not "waterproof" what about sweat? Does it get nasty if you wear it to work out in?
     
  20. BarracksSi, Jan 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017

    BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #20
    Only if you don't clean it.

    Seriously -- how is this a question? More importantly, why did Apple recommend against getting the steel bracelets wet? Dive watches from Seiko through Rolex come on steel bracelets. The body panels on a DeLorean look as good today as they did in 1982. There's stainless steel cookware, for cryin' out loud.
     
  21. MartyCan macrumors 65816

    MartyCan

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    Oct 31, 2012
    Location:
    Near Toronto, ON
    #21
    I was wondering because I just oredered a SS S2 with ML.
     
  22. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #22
    It'll be fine. Rinse it and it's good to go.

    To be fair, I've seen people with regular watches on nylon straps that are disgustingly filthy. It never occurred to them that some hand soap would clean them right up.
     
  23. jsmitty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2016
    Location:
    NC
    #23
    Only semi related-

    How can you identify that a band is a genuine Apple link bracelet?
     
  24. chuyn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    #24
    It'll say 38mm (or 42mm) 316L Stainless Steel in the clasp, and Assembled in China on the end of the strap.
     
  25. OriginalAppleGuy macrumors 6502a

    OriginalAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    #25
    All the talk about the 316L Stainless Steel - something is definitely strange about what Apple states about the water resistance. According to the following site, 316L is marine grade. Unless they are concerned about the warm sea water, there shouldn't be many issues with it getting wet. Some excerpts:

    "316 better overall corrosion resistant properties than Grade 304, particularly higher resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion in chloride environments"

    "316 is usually regarded as the standard “marine grade stainless steel”, but it is not resistant to warm sea water. In many marine environments 316 does exhibit surface corrosion, usually visible as brown staining. This is particularly associated with crevices and rough surface finish."

    http://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=2382#_Corrosion_Resistance

    As for the cost of the band, I bought a link bracelet off Amazon. Just got it tonight and I'm really happy for not spending almost $400 more for Apple's version. I may hit Apple's store and compare them.
     

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