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Water Resistance in Watches: What You Need to Know

Posted by Watch Warehouse Experts on Aug 20, 2021

Water Resistance in Watches: What You Need to Know

Water resistance in watches may seem like a straightforward concept, but it’s a bit more complicated than many people realize. While water resistance is a common feature, there are various levels. Just because your watch is water resistant doesn’t mean you should wear it in the pool! The information in this water resistance watch guide can help you prevent damage to your timepiece so you can enjoy it for many years to come.

Waterproof and Water Resistant Are Different

First and foremost, water resistance is not the same as waterproof. Waterproof refers to an item that cannot be damaged by water, period. Water resistance in watches, on the other hand, means that the watch can withstand a certain amount of water pressure before becoming damaged. 

The truth is that waterproof watches don’t exist. Even specialized diving watches made for scuba divers will eventually succumb to water pressure — how deep the watch is submerged (and for how long) is what’s important. 

Of course, most people are not spending very much time 200 meters underwater, so a water resistant diving watch is essentially waterproof if used in typical conditions.

How Water Resistance Is Measured

An underwater view of a scuba diver’s hand

This water resistance watch guide was created to prevent avoidable damage to your timepiece. That means that you’ll need to understand how water resistance in watches applies to your specific timepiece. If it’s water-resistant, it should state that it’s water-resistant up to a certain amount of meters, feet, bars, or atmospheres (ATM). 

  • 1 ATM = 1 Bar = 10 Meters = ~33 feet

It’s important to note that the water resistance rating doesn’t necessarily signify how deep you can go before the watch takes damage. If you submerge a watch with a 1 ATM (10 meters) water resistance rating in 1 foot of water, it’s still probably going to get damaged. Here’s a general idea of how the numbers correlate with typical use:

  • 30 meters: A watch rated for 30 meters should be fine if you get caught in light rain or get splashed near the pool.
  • 50 meters: The water resistance in watches rated for 50 meters can be submerged for a short time, so swimming is acceptable as long as it’s a brief swim.
  • 100 meters: A watch rated for 100 meters can be used for a prolonged snorkeling adventure.
  • 200+ meters: These watches are designed specifically for underwater use, so there’s very little risk of water damage in most scenarios.

Check our water resistance guide for more in-depth details.

Contact Our Experts to Learn More

We hope this water resistance watch guide has been helpful. Our in-house experts are always happy to talk shop, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about water resistance in watches. Be sure to check out our blog post on the best waterproof outdoor watches, and shop men’s diving watches and women’s diving watches now.