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Surfer's lost Apple Watch survives six months at sea

CNET logo CNET 4/24/2019 Amanda Kooser
a hand holding a remote control: oceanwatch © CNET oceanwatch

Tech journalists love to purposefully torture-test gadgets to see what they can handle. But Robert Bainter, an avid body surfer in Huntington Beach, California, accidentally performed an epic torture test on his Apple Watch .

Bainter talked to tech reporter Rich DeMuro with KTLA 5 in Hollywood and shared the serendipitous story of how his Apple Watch survived a months-long ocean adventure. 

Bainter used his smartwatch to monitor the surf and to track his body-surfing activities. Six months ago, he caught a gnarly wave, went to check his wrist and discovered his Apple Watch had slipped away into the water.

Bainter turned on Lost Mode for his watch, but eventually gave up on ever finding it again and bought a new one to replace it.

A beachcomber discovered the old watch three miles from where it was originally lost and called up Bainter to reunite him with the intrepid gadget. The screen has a bit of haze on it, but the watch works just fine. 

While Apple's original versions of the watch had only very basic water resistance, more recent incarnations are designed to hold up to swimming and water exposure at up to 50 meters (164 feet) of depth. Apple says it watches aren't waterproof.

It's unknown how much time the watch spent in the water versus on the beach, but Bainter's experience is a dramatic tale of technology toughness. Now we're just wondering if he can hold the watch up to his ear and hear the ocean.

27 amazingly complicated luxury watches for tech lovers

a close up of a cell phone: Sure, your Apple Watch is nice. Then again ... This arresting smart watch from Devon trades traditional watch internals for highly precise 'time belts' powered by an onboard microprocessor. It would make an incredible statement piece in a luxury wardrobe -- if you can afford the $14,995 price tag.

Sure, your Apple Watch is nice. Then again ... This arresting smart watch from Devon trades traditional watch internals for highly precise 'time belts' powered by an onboard microprocessor. It would make an incredible statement piece in a luxury wardrobe -- if you can afford the $14,995 price tag.
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