Anyone in emergency medicine can attest to the fact that often there isn't much time to prepare for a trauma patient and, in many cases, blood and other bodily fluids find their way onto the clinician. Aside from the doctors necktie (whole studies have been conducted around what a germ minefield one can be), there's probably no better biohazard trap than his or her watch.
While many docs acquire a Timex Ironman early on in their residency and it remains firmly affixed to their wrist until the battery dies, some have developed a much more sophisticated taste for watches and it's not uncommon to spot some really great timepieces during a trip to the ER.
Most watches are designed with all sorts of nooks and crannies to make them interesting - far from ideal if you come in contact with all sorts of liquiform germs each and every day.
St. Gallen, a relatively new but very ambitious watchmaker headquartered in the Swiss town that is its namesake, has designed a series of watches specifically suited to those in the medical and rescue professions. St. Gallen watches are designed to be easily disassembled without tools and can be completely sanitized should the need arise.
The St. Gallen Semmelweiss is a 42mm watch with a very unique hand and dial configuration. Encircling the central dial (hours and minutes), are two concentric bezel tracks - pulsimeter and pneumograph - that are used to determine pulse and respiratory rate respectively. To ascertain the pulse rate, you begin counting the pulse when the seconds hand passes over the red triangle at 12 o'clock and note the pulse shown beneath that hand when you have reached 15 heartbeats. Respirations are calculated in a similar fashion except that you note the position of the hand on the pneumographic scale after counting 5 breaths. Knowing that in many cases these measurements are critical and time is of the essence, St. Gallen designed the seconds hand of the Semmelweiss to form a cross of what is effectively four hands - this design allows for one of the hands to be passing over the starting mark every 15 seconds and ensures very quick and accurate readings.
Powering the St. Gallen Semmelweiss is an ETA 2428-2 movement with Incabloc shock protection and a 38 hour power reserve - it's a very reliable and robust choice for a watch that's intended to perform a critical function in a wide range of environments.
The case of the St. Gallen Semmelweiss is 361L stainless steel and waterproof to 330 feet. The case is seamless to make the exposed surface much less likely to trap fluids and particles. Also supplied is a medical grade silicon rubber strap that's secured with a stainless steel buckle (also seamless).
Included with the Semmelweiss are instructions for both basic washing (soap and water) and complete chemical sanitization.
I predict that the St. Gallen Semmelweiss will be a huge hit with docs, nurses and paramedics who enjoy mechanical watches and can appreciate the value of having a watch that's specifically designed to excel in the environments that they encounter.