What is "Water Resistance"? Why is the term "Water Resistance" and not "Water Proof"?

Today, I'll explain why a watch with a Water Resistance to 50 Meters doesn't actually mean you can go 50 Meters deep underwater with it.


Water Resistance is actually a measure of Air Pressure; that the watch can withstand. As you may know, the deeper you go in sea level, the more pressure there is.

That being said, a watch marked as Water Resistance 30M (Meters), won't actually survive if you take it 30 Meters under sea level. Going back to the term Water Proof, there's no such thing. No watch can be completely water proof because there's always something that can penetrate the gasket, seals, etc and have water get inside. Hope is not lost though!

I'll skip all the technicals and get to what you really want to hear - what do these numbers actually mean? We've created a table of what we recommend below. Please note, these are just our recommendations - always check with the manufacturer to confirm.

 

Water Resistance Can Be Used For
30 Meters / 3 ATM/ 3 BAR / 100 Feet  Small splashes of water/rain. No dishwashing, no swimming.
50 Meters / 5 ATM/ 5 BAR / 165 Feet  Dishwashing is ok.
100 Meters / 10 ATM/ 10 BAR / 330 Feet  Swimming or showering (no hot water/steam room/suana)
200 Meters / 20 ATM/ 20 BAR / 660 Feet  Diving, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving (make sure it clearly states Diver's)

 

There are more than 200 Meters of Water Resistance, but those are for very deep diving. If you are looking for a Diver's watch, make sure its ISO Certified and has a Screw Down Crown. 

What to watch out for:

Heat: Anytime there is extreme heat, like in a Suana, Steam room, or just a hot shower, your watch is prone to having the gaskets warped. The gaskets seal the watch and protect it from water, any change in this can affect the water resistance level.

Quick Change in Air Pressure: Jumping into water can change the pressure very quickly, possibly damaging the watch, crystal, and gasket. Unless you have a Diver's watch made to withstand this pressure, do not use your watch to swim.

Showering: Showering can damage a watch due to a few factors: hot water and the soaps that are used. These can damage the watch as most watches (that are not Diver's) are not made to withstand these types of situations.

Salt/Beach Water: Salt can damage the gasket as well as the case and bracelet of your watch. 

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