Many watches are described as ‘waterproof’ or ‘water resistant’ which means your watch won’t get damaged or stop working when exposed to water…right? Not exactly. Here’s a quick look at what waterproof and water resistant actually mean when it comes to watches:
What Waterproof Actually Means
A waterproof watch is a myth — no watch can be 100% waterproof. No watch is designed to be completely leak proof so water or moisture can potentially get into the movement at any time. However, some watches are made to withstand water pressure more than others, otherwise known as water resistance.
What Water Resistant Actually Means
A watch that’s labeled as ‘Water Resistant’ simply means the watch won’t wear down because of high humidity levels. It might still work if you get some water on your watch while washing your hands but you won’t be able to jump in the shower or go to the beach with it on.
Still, some watches are more water-resistant than others. For example, diver’s watches are designed with high levels of water resistance because watchmakers know the wearer might use the watch below sea level. They are made with extra heavy gaskets around the crystal and casing to prevent leaks. This makes diver’s watches a great option for those who like to go surfing, boating, or swimming regularly.
If you do go swimming with a watch that isn’t a diver’s watch but still labeled as water-resistant, it’s a good idea to have the water resistance level checked every year. If the O-ring inside the watch gets worn down or damaged for any reason, your watch is no longer sealed and will be vulnerable to water damage — even from humidity. Salt water, soap, shampoo, and other liquids can wear down a watch fairly quickly after exposure so it’s best to take your watch off before any water activities.