“Water Resistance” may be a common feature for watches these days – but there is a lot more to it than most people know. Whether you are a scuba diving enthusiast, headed for a fishing weekend on the sea, or just curious about water resistance in general, the experts at Precision Watches & Jewelry once again offer their advice to help you keep your watch safe and protected.
Waterproof vs. Water Resistant
Why aren’t watches waterproof?
No watch is waterproof. There is always a limit to the amount of pressure a watch can handle under the water. “Waterproof” would imply that the watch could never leak under any circumstances, no moisture could permeate the case, getting into the movement. Under the right circumstances, however, any watch can leak. In the watch industry, any expert will refer to a watch as being water resistant rather than waterproof.
Why does my watch say “Water Resistant” on the back?
Watches with a “water resistant” stamp or designation mean that it is humidity-protected. It can endure a bit of splashing from hand-washing, or getting caught in the rain. However, water resistances never means you should swim or shower with your watch.
If you do ever go swimming or you play any sports with your watch, you should have it checked for water resistance. The outside of the watch may look rugged and “waterproof” but the movement is very tiny and very delicate, and water can seep in through the smallest of pores or cracks. Typically, the only thing standing between your watch and total water devastation is a small o-ring made of silicon or rubber. Over time these dry out, losing their elasticity, and thus the ability to do their jobs – forming a proper watertight seal.
What does “ATM” mean? What does “bar” mean?
ATM and bar are the measurements that are commonly used by the watch industry to explain just how much pressure the watch can withstand. ATM is the abbreviation for atmosphere. 1 atmosphere is roughly equal to 10 meters (~30 feet). A bar is just another term for atmospheres.
How are diver’s watches different from traditional watches?
Diving watches are built to withstand heavy water usage, able to withstand depths of at least 200 meters. With minimal openings for water, sturdy cases, heavy gaskets, and screw-down crowns, these watches are engineered for the purpose of protection from water and pressure. If you plan to regularly swim, dive, surf or boat while wearing a watch, you really should consider a proper diving watch.
Water Resistance Testing
How often should I test my watch for water resistance??
Although we suggest testing your watch once every year, this depends on your own lifestyle. If you are the beach-going type, regularly in and our of salt water, chlorine, and sandy places – you should have your watch tested a few times each year. Salt water especially causes an incredible amount of corrosion, wear and tear – ultimately causing the water resistance to fail.
What is a water resistance test?
Different brands and styles of watches are tested differently, but the most important factor is the seal of the gaskets. Over time, these gaskets dry out and crack – they may need to be replaced or lubricated.
Swimming & Showering with a Watch
What should I do if I get an expensive watch wet?
A single drop of water inside a watch can do major damage. The first thing you need to do is place the watch on a lamp or hot plate or even a radiator to warm up the back. Not too hot – keep it on low – you want to dry the watch, not further damage components. By placing the watch on it’s back, you will move the moisture away from the delicate moving parts and visible face. You can also continue to wear your watch all the time, even through the night. Your natural body temperature can provide enough warmth to keep moisture away from the movement. It’s a common mistake to place the watch on a paper towel and leaving it on a cold counter-top. Once you get home, you can bring your watch to Precision Watches & Jewelry to have it opened, dried & cleaned, and repaired of any water damage.
Can I shower with my watch on?
We advise never showering with your watch. Soaps and other cleaning liquids are corrosive to a watch’s components, and can wear it out much sooner. If you expose your watch to soap, carefully rinse it off with fresh water or soft wet cloth and dry as quickly as possible.
Can I go swim with my chronograph?
A chronograph is generally very well crafted and water resistant, but not intended for swimming or diving. Chronographs are complicated watches, with several openings, between push buttons, the crown, crystal and case back. At each of these locations there is a gasket that can potentially fail.
How to protect a chronograph near water:
- Never make adjustments (turning the bezel, adjusting the crown, pushing the pushers) while underwater. This can break the seal.
- Check to ensure the crown is properly pushed in or screwed down prior to going near water.
My watch is water resistant to 100 meters, can I dive in a pool with it?
No! Diving into a pool causes an immediate and intense change in pressure, and even if it lasts only a moment – this causes a major shock to watches not meant for diving. Water resistance is ultimately about pressure. Hitting the water with significant force causes a sharper shift in pressure, forcing the watch above it’s recommended water resistance level, even in a shallower pool.
Can I get a leather strap wet?
Your leather watch strap shouldn’t ever be wet. Exposure to moisture or even high humidity can cause the leather to deteriorate or discolor. If the strap comes into contact with liquid of any kind, dry it immediately to prevent further damage.