Looking for a miner’s watch that can safely handle the rigours of surface or underground mining? There are some key design characteristics that you should consider. We’ve assembled some tips and ideas for selecting the perfect mining watch.
Standards of watch safety in mines
Firstly, mining watches must meet standards of safety. Underground coal mines typically prohibit the use of battery-operated watches. They are a potential source of ignition in the event of a gas outburst.
By selecting a mechanical watch movement secured in a rugged stainless steel case with a clear back (for easy checks by the safety team), miners can ensure that their watch doesn’t become an ignition source in Zone 1 hazardous areas. Flammable gases often present in underground mining and understanding the risk of explosion from any electrical devices underground will be of a mines’ risk assessment process.
Your watch can also be a potential entanglement hazard. A miner must understand if entanglement risks are present in their job before using a wristwatch. The choice of bands and latches to prevent opening or entanglement should be considered. A stainless steel band with a quality clasp or a synthetic fabric band with a quality clasp should suffice.
The glass of the watch can be a potential hazard if it is scratched, damaged or broken. By selecting a watch with a hardened sapphire glass the potential for breakage is lessened substantially.
NOTE: If you’re an electrical worker, the wearing of electrically conductive watches may be prohibited at your site. Other items like bracelets, rings, neck chains, exposed metal zips are typically prohibited for electrical workers. If you’re an electrical worker, always check the company policy.
Mining watches – Protection against physical conditions
Secondly, your mining watch should be able to withstand several physical conditions. These include:
- Impact resistance – like dropping the watch;
- Ingress of dust and water;
- Resistance to chemical attacks;
- Temperature extremes – typically ranging from -15°C to +50°C.
Thirdly, accurate timekeeping is an important function of any underground watch or surface mining watch. Miner’s particularly want to make sure that they work to schedule and are not constantly needing to rewind their watch in the midst of daily activities. A quality movement calibrated accurately by the watchmaker ensures accurate timekeeping.
Some watches will be ‘chronometer rated’ meaning that they are independently tested for accuracy. While this isn’t a must, it’s another means to ensure that the watch should reflect the accurate time.
Chronometer certified watches may include the words ‘chronometre certifie’ on the dial or the rear of the watch. Some Swiss watches adopt Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) process to certify the accuracy of the watch under a range of conditions.
Some mining watch manufacturers in Australia like Adina Mining watches undertake in house certification and testing of the watch.
Warranty on mining watches
Making sure that your watch has an effective warranty is important if you are going to expose the watch to some of the toughest conditions on the planet. Some watches sold as ‘mining watches’ have limited warranties and the resellers do not offer service or repair on the watch should something go wrong. A good watch is an investment an should be backed up by a comprehensive warranty and spare parts that will support the watch for many years to come.
Finding the right miner’s watch
Finding the right miners watch doesn’t have to be hard. By ensuring that the watch will meet safety standards, meet known reliability standards and come with an effective warranty will be important aspects of buying the right mining watch.
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