Watch Water Resistance And Its 3 Huge Importance To Watch Owners

Watch Water Resistance

Watches are something which is quintessential part of our daily life. This means they are bound to suffer from the everyday “disasters” like say splashes of water.

It would be sad if you spend a hefty sum of money on a watch and a few drops of rain makes it worthless! This is where the watch water resistance comes in to play.

Here, we’ll go into the definition of watch water resistance, it’s 3 biggest importance and international standards governing water resistance watches.

Let’s go shall we!

 

What Does Watch Water Resistance Means?

What is watch water resistance? It means how tightly the watch is sealed against water. It basically points out the strength of resisting water penetration into the watch.

However, this does not mean the watch is completely safe if soaked in water for a long time, it certainly is not!

Watch water resistance is a property that is not designed for prolonged periods of staying underwater – it simply protects the watch from the accidents and misfortune water can bring.

Though there are watches that have increased water resistance to make them able to be used for long period (typically diver’s watch).

 

Differences of Watch Water Resistance Rating

Watch water resistance gives the user an idea on how much pressure of water the watch can resist. There are many types of ratings such as meter, feet, bar, etc.

Let’s dived (pun intended) into a bit of basic physics here. Water, as most other things on earth, has its own weight. So what happens when an object is located deep below a, say 1 feet of water?

That 1 feet of water above the object will exert a pressure onto that object – which is called water pressure.

Now 1 feet is not a great deal of pressure but how about 330 feet (or 100 m) of water? That kind of pressure is quite high and can severely impact a normal watch.

Water resistance rating uses this definition to marked how good the watch is sealed to the water pressure it can withstand.

 

Watch Water Resistance Chart

Below is the water resistance chart and its commonly accepted usage (Source: Wikipedia).

 

ATM Feet Meter Usage
1 33 10 Showerproof or splash proof. It indicates that the watch is safe from abrupt splashes of water
3 100 30 It can withstand normal splashes , even being immersed –however not for swimming
5 165 50 This is suitable for swimming
10 330 100 Swimming and snorkeling are supported
15 500 150 Perfect for snorkeling
20 660 200 This supports even skin diving

 

The above chart gives a fair idea on what the certain ratings imply. It must not be mistaken that watch water resistance say for example 30 meter does not mean the watch can stay under 30 meter below sea level for very long time.

Tissot Caseback 30m

Tissot T-Touch with 30 m water resistance rating. Almost all watches put their water resistance rating on its caseback so that their wearer will be aware about it

 

The tests done on watches are only for a short while and you should always be vigilant about this. But for watches to be used repeatedly underwater, i.e diver’s watches, it will be subjected to a higher degree of tests to ensure it can be used repeatedly without any problem in future.

Another rating bar which is not included in the chart above is equivalent to ATM. So basically 10 bar rating = 10 ATM = 330 feet.

These are just the variety of units watchmakers adopt to give users an idea of the strength of watch water resistance.

Normally meter unit is adopted for most watches as it has the most international coverage (unlike feet).

 

Seiko Monster Caseback 200m

The caseback of Seiko Monster with 200  m water resistance. This watch is suitable for air diving only and not saturation diving.

 

Water Resistant Vs Waterproof

Water resistance, as I discussed earlier indicates the watches strength to withstand the day to day splashes of water.

The strength is determined by the several ratings of watch water resistance and the chart shown above gives a rough idea on the various watch water resistance rating.

Waterproof watches on the other hand mean that the watch is impervious to water and water is blocked from entering it completely. However this does not mean that you can dive in to the vast ocean with it.

Water is not the only thing that lurks in the depths of ocean – there are sharks! Just kidding, what I mean is as you go deeper water exerts more and more pressure and waterproof watches are not designed to stay protected from this pressure and it might crack and just fail.

This is the real life scenario. Even though waterproof watches by definition are supposed to be completely immune to water, however, under intense pressure the gaskets no longer stay strong.

In fact in many countries it is banned to even use the term water proof as it is considered to be misleading.

Nevertheless, watches being labeled as waterproof do exist in the market. They would probably survive showers and splashes easily but at at a certain depth of water might cause it to break.

The exact limit of ‘breaking’ for waterproof watches depend on quality and design as there is no standard rating for waterproof watches.

I hope this will give some explanation on water resistant vs waterproof so that you guys won’t be misled in future.

Unless some futuristic watch that is actually waterproof comes in the market, I would advise you to choose water resistant watches as it gives accurate information about its watch water resistant.

 

Rolex Deepsea 12800 feet 3900 m

Rolex Deepsea with a mind boggling 12800 feet / 3900 m water resistance rating! Not sure if there is anyone that will even dive to that depth but it’s surely is a good marketing strategy by the Swiss brand

 

3 Main Importance Of Water Resistance For Watches

Are you wondering that why is it important for a watch to be water resistant? Are you confounded about its significance?

Well you guys would be surprised to know that the importance of water resistant watches is gargantuan. In my opinion, there are 3 major benefits of having a water resistant watch:

 

1- Protects Watch During Outdoor Activities

Watches are our companion who must always be there and the keeper of our time. What about people who constantly engage in outdoor activities?

Do they not get to keep a watch with them? Water resistant watches quite easily protect the gears of the watch from the water splashes involved in outdoor activities.

For example: you go an outdoor and fall on a muddy puddle – water resistant watches would make sure your watch is safe and sound.

Similarly during an outing it may not be possible to carry an umbrella, so if there is a sudden rain, watch water resistance got your back.

If you are that person who likes falling in love with Mother Nature without thinking about climate and conditions, you shall be assured as water resistant watch can at least be with you to silently whisper the time.

Seiko Orange Monster

A Seiko Monster with 200 m water resistance. Most diver’s watch has a typical look : big index markers and hands for ease of telling time, rotating bezel and huge amount of lume on it.

 

2- Enable Watches To Be Used By Divers And Swimmers

Another important feature of water resistant watches is that it allows divers to be a track of their time. You may say that it’s preposterous to carry a watch while being under water.

However, the benefits of having a water resistant watch under water are countless.

For instance the diver may require to keep a track of time for certain underwater events to occur; the diver may require to stay aware of the time to make sure that his oxygen tank does not become empty.

Similarly, a diver may need to get out of water before the sunset and it’s hard to see the ray of sun under water – so water resistant watches give the divers an advantage of great deal.

 

Scuba diver wear watch

Diving is one of the activities that is dependent on a good functional watch. How could you tell how much oxygen you have without any timekeeping device? A good diver’s watch will be able to withstand that water pressure as well as repeated usages

 

However, for the watches to be water resistant under the water they must have a significantly high watch water resistance rating- which means they are bound to be expensive and has to comply with the ISO 6425 for diver’s watch standards.

 

3- Protection for Unforeseen Events

Sudden rain, splashes of water during washing hands, forgetting to take out the watch from your pant’s pocket when washing them – these are some of real life example of unforeseen events that could happen which will definitely damage a normal watch.

But a watch with water resistance will be able to somewhat protect it from water damage. Not to mention moisture is almost impossible to block.

So that cheap $10 watch might be very appealing right now, but not so much when it began to fog inside it just with some exposure to moisture.

 

Standards For Watch Water Resistance

Certain standards are developed for watches to be placed on in terms of watch water resistance. This means certain tests are given for the watch which it must pass in order to attain that standard.

One of the most accepted and widely used standards is ISO. ISO standards indicate the tests that the watch has undergone and the rating therefore acts as a certificate for the watch.

For example, ISO 2281 is the standard for water resistant watches whereas ISO 6425 implies that the watch is for scuba divers.

The standard of ISO 2281 is basically a few strict tests which greatly highlights the watches basic water resistance properties for everyday normal use.

On the other hand, IS0 6425 is for the watches of extreme, i.e diver’s watches. The watches must undergo extreme tests like the watches are over-pressurized for 125% of its rating and immersed in water for up to 50 hours!

A condensation test is taken where the watch is heated to a temperature of 45 degree Celsius. The watches must also face intense pressure tests. Even the magnetic resistance is tested!

 

what is watch water resistance seiko skx007

Notice the “Diver’s 200 m” signature on this Seiko SKX007. This signifies the watch is an ISO 6425 diver’s watch compliant

 

So if you are looking for a reliable diver’s watch, ISO 6425 complied watch is the one you guys need to look for.

 

Conclusion

In a world where we are getting busier and busier every day, watch water resistance safeguards our watches when we accidentally sprinkle water on them. It surely is a great property for a watch to have.

Because without it we all would have to cautious in our everyday routine just to make sure that our watches are not a wreck.

Similarly, water watch resistance opens a doorway for people who love extreme activities to take their watch with them.

 

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Hope this article on what is watch water resistance is very useful to you guys. Don’t forget to share this article if you love it. Subscribe to my site for more awesome posts in future.

Cheers!
Isaac

8 Common Problems With Automatic Watch And How To Solve It

8 Common Problems with Automatic watch

Problems With Your Automatic Watch? What’s The Cause And How To Solve It?

If you are unlucky, you might encounter some problems with your automatic or mechanical watches.

Depending on the severity, the steps to correct it will differ. Some of them can be severe that require a full service while some of the minor problems can be resolved by yourselves.

Here, I’ve listed some of the common problems with automatic watches, what causes these problems and how to solve them.

 

Table of Content (Click the subtitle to go directly to the section):

  1. Automatic Watch Stopped Working While Wearing It
  2. Automatic Watch Stopped Working After Taking It Off / Power Reserve Problem
  3. Automatic Watch Stopped Working After Dropping It
  4. Automatic Watch Running Slow Or Fast
  5. Fogging Inside Watch
  6. Minute Hand And Second Hand Not Perfectly Aligned
  7. Automatic Watch Not Winding
  8. Date/Day Display Don’t Change At The Right Time

 

Seiko SARB033 worn

As great as they are, automatic watches are not free of problems. By having some knowledge about what we should and shouldn’t do to it, we will be able to avoid costly repairs. (shown above is the gorgeous Seiko SARB033)

 

1- Automatic Watch Stopped Working While Wearing It

Ever having problem with your watch stopped working while wearing it? If its a quartz watch then most probably the battery is dead but automatic watches don’t have any battery and supposed to be powered by your movement right?

Well you are correct but there are some reasons why a watch can go dead. There are 3 common causes of why an automatic watch can stop working:

 

Cause 1 – Not Enough Power Reserve

Something that most people don’t know it the watch might not have enough power reserve even though you are wearing it regularly.

But aren’t automatic watches are recharged by wrist movement?

The reason is because you are not active enough to wind the mainspring fully.

Try this: take a watch with an exhibition caseback and shake it to see whether the self-winding rotor rotates or not. It is easy for the rotor to moves?

Some watches can have a very smooth rotor that rotates lively even with a slight movement. But some watches have rotor that requires more effort for it to rotate.

Due to this, just wearing your automatic watch to office might not be enough to wind it fully. Consider wearing your watch when you are jogging, swimming or going to gym (if your watch is a sports watch.

Don’t do this with a dress watch though. You don’t want to scratch that pretty thing lol).

Another method that I like and personally use is to manually wind your watch once a while. This will make sure the watch has full power reserve as just wearing it might not be able to recharge it fully.

Just be careful to not over-wind it or wind it too often as you might break the delicate parts inside.

 


A video showing how to wind an automatic watch. Shown in the video is the gorgeous Rolex Submariner

Cause 2 – Magnetic fields

Exposing your watch to strong magnets such as in speakers, fridges, etc will magnetized the steels inside your watch.

The result?

The small steel components inside your watch will tend to stick to each other or repelling each other (depending on the pole) and reducing accuracy of the watch (the watch will run slower or faster).

But for extreme case of magnetization, the watch will completely stop. Bring you watch to a watch maker to check for magnetization and then demagnetize the watch.

 

Cause 3 – Serious Problems With The Movement

If your watch still stops even though you wind it everyday and no magnetization is known, then there could be a serious issue with your watch’s movement. Bring the watch to a watch maker and let him check the watch for any problem and servicing.

If the watch is still under warranty, you can bring it to the seller for inspection or replacement. Bear in mind that full servicing can cost some money depending on the watch make and severity.

Popular and affordable movements such as Swatch ETA, Seiko and Orient movements are easier to be serviced by just about any competent watchmaker. Costs of parts are also cheaper for these.

But if you have a unique in-house movement by luxury or independent brands, then the official service center is the most recommended avenue. I certainly won’t trust my $10k Rolex on any normal watch shop…. you get what I mean right? =P

 

(Read also the 10 Best Affordable Automatic Watches Under $200 – who said that automatic watches need to be expensive?)

 

2- Automatic Watch Stopped Working After Taking It Off / Power Reserve Problem

You wear your watch for some time, then put it off and when you want to wear it back, it is dead? How could this happen?

The reasons for this to happen are exactly the same as the first problem above i.e lack of power reserve (you can refer above for its causes and solutions). Another thing to note is the power reserve of you watch.

 

Orient Star Retrograde

If you are paranoid about your watch’s power reserve, then get one with a power reserve indicator like this Orient Star Retrograde. As you can see, the top subdial displays its remaining power reserve which is really handy

 

Even though your watch’s movement might have 40 or 50 hours of power reserve, the watch might stop working even before that.

Why is this so?

One thing that we need to know is the power reserve of any automatic is the time for the watch to stop working after it’s been recharged to full capacity.

As I’ve stated above, usually, wearing it for a day (normal 10 to 12 hours on the wrist) will not be enough to charge the watch to full.

Not to mention most watches don’t have power reserve indicator which can be a huge help in telling the power reserve capacity at any moment.

In fact, most experience owners state that the remaining power reserve of the watch is about 2 or 3 times the last duration we wear it.

So for example, if I’m wearing my watch for 12 working hours today, it will tick for 24 to 36 hours after I put it down. 

 

What should we do then?

For me, I’ve always manual/hand-wind my auto watches before I use them. A few turns (15-20) is enough to start the movement and then I just wear it.

The key is to NOT only depend on the self-winding of the movement. As mentioned above, the rotor movement might not be sufficient especially if you’re working a desk job without many wrist movements.

In addition, this will keep the accuracy high as the watch has more juice in it.

What if I’ve tried that but it didn’t work!

Then there could be a bigger problem in the watch. Try to handwind it for 40-50 crown rotations and lay the watch down. This will make the mainspring full of power reserve.

Keep record of what elapsed hour the watch stops. If it’s less than the published power reserve for that movement, there could be a problem with the movement itself.

At this point, we should bring it to a watchmaker for him to have a look at it. Depending on the case, we might only need a servicing, cleaning, or a change of the mainspring.

CHIYODA Double Watch WinderCHIYODA Double Watch Winder

By the way, it might also be a good idea to invest in a  watch winder which is a great alternative for those that don’t want to have to reset or handwind their watches before they use it.

The watch winder functions by rotating the watch via a motor. Just place the watch inside the winder’s slot and plug it in.

It will then rotate the watch, and the self-winding rotor inside it to charge the power reserve.

The watch winder is a great way to ensure the power reserve is still full without us having to do anything. It also prevent from issues due to winding (which can happen to some ETA movements).

By the way, did I mention the watch winders can also be a nice storage box for your watches? =)

 

I like to also add that the Sistem51 movement by Swatch boasts a 90 hours power reserve. For those that don’t want to spend on a winder or just want a watch with great power reserve, you might want to check the Sistem51 watches.

 

3- Automatic Watch Stopped Working After Dropping It

This cause is easier to understand. You drop the watch, it get into a sudden impact and suddenly it goes dead. Well chances are your watch might have some internal damage in it.

The inside of an automatic or mechanical watch is made of hundreds of parts that work seamlessly to run the watch. These parts can be as small as 1 mm in thickness or diameter. Any sudden impact could put these parts out of place or worse, even break them.

The part that are more prone to impact damage is the balance wheel. The pivot/staff of the wheel balance is a very critical part because it holds the weight of the balance wheel which is continuously moving at a high speed.

 

Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Diashock

This Seiko SARB017 (or Alpinist) has a built in shock resistance system developed by Seiko – i.e Diashock – to protect its balance wheel jewel from severe impact damage. All good outdoor or diver’s watches should always have this to protect it from costly repairs

 

Most damages due to impact is because of broken wheel balance pivot and/or its jewel.

If your watch stopped working after dropping it, try hear if there is any sound in the watch to know whether your balance wheel is functioning or not.

If your watch has exhibition caseback, you can just confirm this by looking directly at the balance wheel to spot anything wrong with it. The only solution is to bring the watch to a watch maker for a repair.

Some shock protection system has been designed to protect automatic/mechanical watches from impact damage, specifically the jewel.

Incabloc (from Swiss), Diashock (Seiko) and Parashock (Citizen) are some of the shock protection systems that have been devised by watch companies. All of them have some sort of spring at the jewel pivot of the balance wheel to protect it from impact force.

If you are a rough person that tends to get his watches damaged this way, you might wanna check out those watches with a shock protection system in them.

 

balance-wheel

Balance wheel is the part inside an automatic watch which is most prone to impact damage

 

4- Automatic Watch Running Slow Or Fast

Automatic and mechanical watches will always run slow or fast after some time. The most accurate watches are the COSC certified chronometers that can have a -4 or +6 seconds per day accuracy.

Other watches can have a lesser accuracy than this and you have to check the official numbers by your watch manufacturer. But generally the accuracy values is within +/-25 seconds a day for a low end range of automatic watches.

If your watch have a lesser accuracy than this then this indicates a problem with your watch. There are 5 reasons why automatic watches will run slower or faster than acceptable accuracy:

 

Cause 1 – Not Enough Power Reserve

Accuracy of a movement is tracked at maximum power reserve, after a watch has been fully wound. If a watch is not fully wound (or power starved), then the accuracy will be slightly lesser than what your watch manufacturer advertised.

Try to at least wind it once a while for it to have a full power reserve. You will notice a difference with the accuracy compared to when the watch just relied on wrist movement.

 

Cause 2 – Temperature

Another important thing that most people don’t know is that your watch have different accuracy in different temperatures.

Too hot (more than 38 degrees Celsius) or too cold (less than 15 degrees Celsius) will affect the metal parts inside the watch. Steel will expand at high temperature while contracting when it’s too cold. Coldness can also affect the lubricants inside the watch.

Most of the times it’s the coldness that affect the accuracy since it will take a very high temperature to make a difference – not all of us live in scorching hot desert.

But coldness especially during winter can change how the watch behave. It will run slower a bit if exposed to cold weather and might have shorten power reserve. But the effect of coldness will not be apparent if you are wearing the watch though as our body temperature will heat the watch up.

 

Cause 3 – Position

Watch movements accuracy is highly affected by the balance wheel and escapement. These systems can be affected by the position of the watch due to gravity. Examples of watch positions is flat with dial/watch face looking up, dial down, vertical positions with different locations of crown.

As you can suggest, the dial up or down is basically when you put the watch on a table/closet after wearing it during the day. The vertical positions are during wearing the watch.

During each of these positions, the effect of gravity will cause the balance wheel to have a slight change in movement causing some inconsistency. Most watches are most accurate at one or two of these positions.

When you put the watch at other positions, the accuracy will suffer. This is the main reason why chronometer is highly sought after – they are designed and adjusted to be accurate for all positions.

My suggestion is to keep track of what position your watch is most accurate and what position it isn’t. You can use apps to help with this. Just search for watch accuracy in appstore/playstore.

Normally these apps will have you set the watch to accurate time in the beginning and then you can record the time at intervals and it will report the accuracy in seconds per day. By doing this, you will know what position your watch is most accurate and use it consciously.

 

Cause 4 – Magnetism

As stated above, magnetism of watch can greatly reduce accuracy. It’s highly recommended to avoid placing your watch next to any digital or electronic devices to avoid magnetism.

 

Case 5 – Due For Service

Just like a car, automatic and mechanical watches also need to be serviced after some time based on manufacturer’s recommendation. This is one of the biggest flaw of automatic watches versus quartz watches.

Because of the high number of moving parts inside it, automatic watches need to be serviced to keep the movement well oiled and also to adjust the balance wheel and escapement. Generally, 3 to 5 years are the normal service interval. Don’t skip this if you want to keep that watch as heirloom for your grandson =)

 

(Read also the 30 Best Automatic Watches Under $1,000)

 

5- Fogging Inside Watch

Some watches especially dive watches has screw down crown for added protection. The dial window and caseback is easily guarded from water ingress by gasket and seals.

Since the crown is used for manual winding and setting the time, it has a staff that is connected to the movement inside the watch. The small gap between the staff and the casing is the perfect place where water can get in.

Screw down crown solves this problem by screwing the crown into the case, and eliminating any possible gaps between them.

 

seiko-skx009-screw-down-crown

Shown above is the Seiko SKX009 with its crown unscrewed. Remember that screw down crowns MUST ALWAYS be screwed properly at all times even when storing the watch – except when using the crown of course.

 

But it has to be reminded that the screw down crown must always be screwed in tightly when you are using the watch for any activity especially swimming or diving. The crown must not be operated while underwater for, well.. the reason is obvious right.

It is also recommended to get your dive watch to be tested for water resistance after a few years. It is worried that the gasket and seals of the watch has already worn out.

If you are a serious diver, then it is very important to ensure your watch is always in perfect water resistance condition to avoid any unwanted problems.

 

6- Minute Hand And Second Hand Not Perfectly Aligned

A common issue with automatic watches is the minute hand and second hand are not perfectly aligned.

For example, when the second hand is at the 12 o’clock position, the minute hand is not perfectly on top of any minute marker.

 

Sumo SBDC003 hands not aligned

An example of how not setting the time correctly can cause the minute hand not sitting directly on the minute marker when the second hand is at 12 o’clock. By the way, there’s no problem with the watch and this can be fixed easily.

 

This is caused by improper setting of the time when first bringing the watch from stop.

To be honest, this does not mean there’s any problem with the watch. The watch is running fine but to people with a keen eye for detail, this is not acceptable.

Personally, I also don’t like this, but not because it doesn’t look nice. For me, a watch need to be easy to tell and having a non-perfectly aligned minute hand makes the time telling unusual and weird.

So what do I do to avoid this problem?

I’ll stop the second hand exactly at the 12 o’clock position and then move the minute hand to be perfectly on top of the minute marker.

While this is easy to do with a hacking movement, it’s a bit more difficult with a non-hacking movement (such as the 7S26 inside Seiko’s SKX watches).

For those movements, we need to be more precise as the second hand does not stop. So the moving of the minute hand need to be on-point when the second hand passes the 12 o’clock.

 

7- Automatic Watch Not Winding

If you feel there’s a problem with the hand-winding function, try to let the watch stop on its own.

Then pick it up and give it some hand-winding. The watch should start after a few turn of winding the crown. If it isn’t, this means there’s a problem with the movement and a visit to your watchmaker is need to resolve it.

 

8- Date/Day Display Don’t Change At The Right Time

A common issue that I’ve personally faced is the date and day indicator don’t change correctly.

I’m sure those using analog watches with either one of this feature will experience the date/day suddenly change around noon.

The only reason for this is incorrect setting of the day/date.

We need to remember that automatic watch is not like an electronic watch. It does not know the current time (i.e am or pm). Which is why the day/date will simply change once the hour hand completes 2 rotations (or 24 hours).

So what’s the correct way of setting the day and date display?

Below is the step by step guide on how I change my date/day display on my watches:

  1. When first picking up the watch, move the time until the hour hand is at 12:00. See if the day/date change or not.
  2. If the day/date change – means the watch just enters AM mode
  3. If the day/date does not change – means the watch just enters PM mode
  4. From there, you can set the time according to your current time.
  5. For example: if you move the hour hand to 12:00 > day/date change means the watch just enters AM mode > but you’re in the afternoon > move the hour hand a full rotation (12 hours) to enter PM mode > then set time and day/date.

 

[UPDATE]

Currently I don’t use the method above when setting my watches and prefer another method. Below are the steps of this method:

  1. Change the date and day to ONE day before the current day. E.g if today is May 15 Sunday, then we need to change the date to 14 and the day to Saturday.
  2. Move the time needle to 12:00 and notice the change in date/day window.
  3. If there is no change, that means the watch’s internal time is in PM mode. Another rotation of the watch will change it into AM time of the current day. We can adjust accordingly from here.
  4. If the day/date change, it means the watch just enter today’s time in AM mode. Again, we need to adjust the watch accordingly.


Watch the video about for the summary of the common problems with automatic watch

 

End Thoughts

Automatic/mechanical watches are a delicate piece of engineering and should always be treated delicately. Not to mention they cost way more than normal quartz watches. So I’d put them as the fancy sports car – expensive but have to be properly taken care off lol!

Thus, it is important for all automatic watch owners to know what can be done and what cannot be done to prevent from any unwanted and costly problems to their prized watches.

Do let me know if you need any assistance with the problems above. I’ll try my best to help you out.

 

 

I hope that you guys will find this post beneficial to you. Let me know if you have any comments or thoughts on this matter.

Don’t forget to share this article if you like it =)

Till next time. Cheers!

Isaac