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61844Re: [backpackgeartesters] Mod - EDIT -IR - Timex WS4 watch - R Caffin

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  • Hollis Easter
    Jan 5, 2010
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      I've been reading this exchange with interest, and I have a couple of
      things to add. I think both Roger and TV make worthy points, and I hope
      we can find a way through this.

      Roger, I agree that Timex doesn't make it clear what "Water Resistant 50
      M" means--or at any rate, I couldn't find an explanation on their
      website either!

      I think it's reasonable and appropriate to point out that your
      expectation differed from the reality; as you say, that's what BGT is
      meant to be about. It's quite valuable to potential buyers to be
      reminded that specifications may lead to confusion.

      That said, I'm uncomfortable with your accusation of deliberate fraud.
      To my understanding, fraud requires the deliberate intention to mislead.
      Not merely to obfuscate, but to mislead. I don't see Timex's behavior as
      rising to this level, and here's why:

      A bit of Googling about water resistance led me to Wikipedia's page on
      "Water Resistant mark[s]" [1]. I'm skeptical of quoting Wikipedia as
      canon, but it mentions a pair of ISO standards:

      - ISO 2281 - Horology - Water-resistant Watches
      - ISO 6425 - Horology - Divers' Watches

      I don't have access to the text of ISO standards, and from reading your
      web site I would expect you to understand them far better than I would
      anyway. But, in any case, these standards are out there. I'm not sure
      exactly how the regulatory process works these days, but at least
      there's standards-based evidence for the idea that daily-use watches and
      diving watches should hew to different standards, and that daily-use
      watches are not required to survive routine submergence to their tested
      pressure limits.

      It would be fair to rebut this with "but Timex doesn't state that its
      watch adheres to either of those ISO standards". I can't refute that.
      However, I have two other outdoor altimeter watches sitting in front of me, made by other brands, to compare. One is "Water resistant 10 m", and the other lists no water resistance specification anywhere in its packaging, hardware, or manual.

      Whether individual manufacturers follow ISO 2281 exactly, it seems as
      though there's an industry convention to state water resistance in
      meters; the numbers commonly quoted parallel those in the ISO 2281

      I remember reading, but cannot quote, a discussion in an electronics
      journal about why real-world experience is so different from the posted
      water pressure limits on electronics. My recollection was this: the
      standard tests absolute pressure survival: the unit is exposed, very
      slowly, to rising pressure until it leaks. Evidently the impact forces
      of, e.g., a cell phone falling into a toilet can easily push the water
      pressure above spec even though the water was only 6cm deep. This makes
      sense to me.

      If, in following an industry convention, Timex has missed an opportunity
      to explain its product specifications in real-world terms, I think it's
      fair to point it out. It would be reasonable, too, to tell readers how
      you would prefer to see Timex specifying the watch's water resistance.
      But to call it deliberately fraudulent behavior seems wrong.

      I'll close by saying that I think it's good for our organization to have
      this sort of debate every once in a while. We serve two masters--gear
      buyers and the companies who serve them--and there are inevitable
      conflicts there. I'm always pleased when we can navigate through those shoals with the civil tone I've seen in this discussion. Thanks.


      [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Resistant_mark

      On Wed, Jan 06, 2010 at 02:09:11PM +1100, Roger Caffin wrote:
      > Hi Thomas and Mods
      > RNC:
      > > > The specifications claim '50 m water resistance', but apparently this
      > > > is
      > > > another one of those dubious marketing claims which you are not meant
      > to
      > > > actually believe or use. The FAQ page for the watch does say 'We do
      > not
      > > > recommend swimming with your WS4. The WS4 is 50 meter water resistant,
      > > > and
      > > > the general rule of thumb for any watch is: 30 meter can be safely
      > > > splashed;
      > > > 50 meters is safe in a shower; 100 meters is safe in the pool; and 200
      > > > meters is safe for snorkeling or light diving.' I find this definition
      > > > for
      > > '50 m' to be misleading to the point of being deliberately fraudulent.
      > TV:
      > > Roger,
      > > I am going to take issue with the statement of being "deliberately
      > > fraudulent"
      > > Unless I am missing something, the watch states it has '50 m water
      > > resistance' and the website for the particular watch actually defines
      > > what this means, how is that fraudulent?
      > I refer you to the web site and the page for the WS4 watch. Clicking on
      > 'Product Details' produces a bullet list of specifications, which include
      > the statement 'Water Resistant 50 M'.
      > NOWHERE on this page does it define what that means, and I challenge you
      > to
      > ask 100 people (not privy to this discussion) what they think it means. I
      > am
      > betting that at least 90% of them would say that it means that the watch
      > can
      > be taken to 50 m depth. Ask a jury what they would think it means. Even
      > ask
      > a lawyer!
      > Yes, if you delve into the FAQ page you can find the statement that it
      > just
      > means that the watch is safe in the shower. But that is weaselling out of
      > the situation. Try to find the FAQ page yourself. There are NO references
      > to
      > it on the WS4 page, NO references to it on the Home page, and NO
      > suggestions
      > anywhere else (that I could find) that the company has redefined what
      > 'Water
      > Resistant 50 M' actually means. Thew redefinition is very well hidden.
      > As a matter of fact, it is so well hidden that I can't even find the FAQ
      > page myself now! So how would a random customer find it? A random customer
      > would buy the watch expecting it to take 50 m of water.
      > OK, I am a little hard-line on this. But I thought BGT was about real
      > reviews by real people, not about smooging up to companies and flattering
      > them? I will happily praise companies when they deserve it (and some do),
      > but I will equally condemn them when they deserve it. Yes, I say that the
      > way this has been worded on the Timex web site IS 'misleading to the point
      > of being deliberately fraudulent', even if that is not your choice of
      > words.
      > > So maybe some clarification and rewording would make this work much
      > > better.
      > I'm listening, but I am not retracting yet.
      > Cheers
      > Roger Caffin
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