Is my watch Water Proof?

This question is a watchmakers nightmare!  Really, it is…  and I can tell you from personal experience that in the past twenty years, I’ve been asked this question each and every week!

I could spend hours explaining the difference between a water proof watch and a water resistant watch, but I won’t bore you with the technical details.  What I will do is to explain, in plain English and in simple terms what these two terms mean.

Water Proof, (or as I like to affirm, diver’s watches) is a term used to describe the fact that your watch can be used, in water, taking a shower, diving, showering etc. without damage, for an extended period of time.  Water Proof, (diver’s) watches are meant to be submerged for extended times, to certain and specific depths.

A diver’s watch will, over it’s lifetime, need to be checked to see of its seals are weakening, and need to be replaced.  In some cases, usage or damage may occur to the watch, which for simpler terms, render it Non-Water Proof.  Your watchmaker or service center will explain these in more detail.  However, at the time of purchase, or after its service, your watch should have some certification that it remains water tight, and able to be used for its intended purpose.  If your watch says Dive, Diver’s Certified, or Water Proof!  You should be fine in almost any water submerged situation.

However, if your watch says Water Resistant…  please note that your watch is not a Diver’s Watch!  It is not meant to be used in any type of water or wet environment for extended periods of time.

Now, I’m sure many of you are going to tell me that Water Resistant watches have many different types of certification.  I’ll agree.  There are groups of manufacturers in the world that have a list of several ratings for Water Resistance!  However, it is important that you remember what the word Resistance means.

These watches are not engineered to the same tolerances as diver’s watches.  They will have larger gaps where water or liquids can seep into the case, and around the rubber gaskets used to seal the watch.  Things like salt water, chlorine, and other caustic materials can get into these cracks, and eat away at those seals.

A water resistant watch should Never be worn in pools, hot tubs, or sea water for any longer then a few minutes at best.

And, NO. I cannot make your water resistant watch, Water Proof!  Don’t ask!

I hope this helps, and I want to close with this small warning.  Sadly today, many people purchase inexpensive watches, that say they are Water Resistant.  However, most of them have no seal on the buttons or crown on the side of the watch case.  They may have, if lucky, a dust seal on the back case to protect the watch from debris, but other then that, they are like open doors in the middle of a winter storm, and any water exposure is likely to get in and damage the watch.  Thus, voiding its warranty, and causing damage that may be too costly to repair.

Thank you for taking the time, and I really hope this is helpful.  If you have any other topics you’ld Like me to cover, please feel free to ask!

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