Water-resistance is one of the primary features that watch lovers look for when shopping around for a new or second-hand timepiece. We come into contact with water on a daily basis and buying a water-resistant watch ensures your favourite timepiece won’t be ruined.
Watches that are water-resistant will have a specific rating, which indicates what you can and can’t do with it. Let’s get into the specifics.
Water-Resistant Watches vs. Waterproof Watches
No watch is 100% waterproof, which is why the majority of watches are labelled as water-resistant and have a metre rating.
The difference between a water-resistant timepiece and one that is waterproof is linked to how much water it can be exposed to before it breaks. This aside, almost any watch will break if it’s placed under enough water pressure.
There are a handful of waterproof watches available though, the Rolex Deepsea Challenge being one of them. Even this watch can’t go below 12,000 metres though.
If you want to shop around for a waterproof watch, you might be looking around for a while. Rather look for a good water-resistant piece.
Understanding the Rating of a Water-Resistant Watch
Water-resistant watches will have a depth rating and each watch will be different, depending on the brand and model you choose.
What many people don’t know is that the depth rating is not full proof. It merely means that a watch can be used at its maximum depth for a short period of time. For example, a watch with a depth rating of 100M, can probably only be used a fraction of that rating.
Here’s an idea of what you can and can’t do with your watch based on its water-resistance rating.
- 50M/165 ft: The most you can do is shower with the watch.
- 100M/330 ft:You can swim with the watch but only in shallow water.
- 300M/1000 ft:You can swim in deep water or scuba dive with this watch.
- 1000M/3000 ft:The watch is ideal for deep sea diving.
If your watch is not water-resistant, it can’t even be exposed to water when cleaning it. The more water-resistant a watch is, the smaller it will be.
Caring for Your Water-Resistant Watch
Once you’ve purchased a water-resistant watch, here’s how you can extend its life:
- Have the battery changed by a professional. If you have a water-resistant watch, let a professional change the battery so that the seal can be checked. If the seal malfunctions, water will ruin your watch.
- Rinse your watch after swimming in saltwater. If you’re planning to dive or swim in the sea, rinse your watch in freshwater and dry it thoroughly afterwards. Corrosive salt can ruin your watch if it builds up.
- Watch your leather strap. If your timepiece has a leather strap, remember that it’s not very resistant to water, so you may want to keep exposure to a minimum.
- Steam is not ideal. Even if your watch is water-resistant, it’s best to take it off before spending time in a hot sauna. The heat can cause the seal to expand, which will compromise the watch’s protection.
If you notice any water droplets inside your watch, take it to a repair centre as soon as you can. Depending on the extent of the damage, some watches can still be salvaged if water got into the internal mechanisms.