Water resistance is the term used to indicate the amount of pressure a watch can withstand under water at a specific depth without leaking or losing accuracy. Water resistant is a term approved by the federal trade commission; they disallow the term waterproof. Water resistance and depth are not the same. A watch is tested at a specific depth at a temperature of 18c to 25c while stationary. Any movement through the water subjects the watch to additional pressure changes. Water pressure from a hose or water sport activities can exceed the watch water resistance
There are several degrees of water resistance. Note that watches should not be worn in the shower or bath as chemicals in soaps and shampoos will damage the gaskets
Water resistance is not permanent. Water resistance cannot be guaranteed
International Standards Organization (ISOO 2281:
Non water resistant: These watches will leak if any water gets on the case or crown
30 meters/100 feet/3 bar: General water resistant watches can withstand minor moisture from splashing, but should not be worn for swimming, diving, bathing, or showering. These watches are the most misunderstood. Most people believe that water resistant printed on the dial means the watch is sealed for swimming, diving, showering, etc. Not true. General water resistant watches should not be used underwater.
50 meters/164 feet/ 5 bar: can be used for swimming in shallow water, but not for snorkeling or other water sports
100 meters/ 328 feet/ 10 bar: are often called divers watches and can be used for snorkeling, swimming, and other water sports, but not high board diving or sub aqua diving.
200 meters/ 662 feet/ 20 bar: Suitable for high impact water sports and aqua diving not requiring helium.
300-1000 meters: professional divers watches and can be worn for deep water diving
When a watch is water resistant, it will be so specified on the dial or case back. If there is no depth specification, and the watch is marked water resistant, then the watch is made to general water resistant specifications. Water resistance is not permanent. Gaskets around the crown, crystal, and case back are subject to wear. They can deteriorate in time, and should be inspected periodically. Checking the gaskets in a general water resistant watch can often be just a visual inspection. The application of silicone lubrication can extend the life of the gaskets and is done when replacing the cell. In general terms, 1 ATM is not considered a depth indication for a watch, and should not be considered water resistant
It is vital that a watch owner understand the capabilities AND the limitations of their watch and the actual meaning of the depth designation (or lack thereof). The owner of any watch needs to have assurance that the seals of his or her watch are intact, and that the case, crystal, crown, and back are sound and properly seated anytime that the case back is removed. Any time that we open a watch for service, the gasket is lubricated with a silicone sealant, to optimize water resistance
WATER RESISTANCE OF WATCHES & SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
No manufacturer or watch technician will guarantee your watch to be waterproof. Why? There was major litigation in the 1960s and 1970s from consumer protection groups. There may have been at least one death attributed to underwater diving, due to watch failure in combination with air supply left in tanks. In other countries, many watch makers and even some watch manufacturers were forced out of business after they were sued, as the consumer protection laws are very strict in other countries. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission stated that no watch ever be labeled waterproof again. Does that mean your watch wont stand up to the water? Not really, but it keeps all of us selling and servicing watches from being sued because the responsibility now rests with the consumer. Here is some information put out by the Citizen Watch Company on the subject of water resistance
Water resistance is measured when the watch is at a static or motionless state. As the watch is moved in water, such as from the motion of swimming, pressure is added from velocity. While you may be swimming in a pool at surface level, the watch may be experiencing forces that equal that of 100 feet of water pressure (3 BAR). Diving into a pool can cause forces on the watch to exceed those pressures. As such, you should always allow a margin of safety when exposing your watch to moisture. Never push the limit of the degree of water resistance of your timepiece
A primary factor to keep in mind about water resistance is that periodic maintenance is needed to maintain original factory specifications. As the watch ages, the gaskets that seal the watch become dry and brittle, diminishing its water resistance capability. Exposure to environments such as chlorinated pools, salt water, or soaps from showering can accelerate the drying of the gaskets. If the watch is frequently exposed to chlorinated pools, soaps, salt water, etc., we recommend that the gaskets be changed on a yearly basis. Be sure that the crown be pushed in prior to any contact with moisture. If your model is equipped with a screw down crown, be sure it is properly seated against the case. Do not operate the crown or any push button when the watch is wet, as this may allow the entrance of moisture. If at any time, you notice moisture in your timepiece that does not clear in a short period of time, you should send your timepiece as soon as possible for inspection
From time to time, you may notice condensation that appears then goes away after a short period of time. This is a normal occurrence and happens primarily from sudden temperature changes. When there are sudden temperature changes, such as entering a cool building from hot out of doors, or jumping into a pool on a hot day the watch may fog. Conversely, if you go to the cool outdoors from a warm building, fogging may occur. As long as the fogging clears in a short period of time, there is generally no need for concern. You can determine the level of water resistance of your watches from marking on the case back
Special note about Jacuzzis and Hot Tubs. The various components used in the manufacture and assembly of your watch expand at various rates.
This results in a loss of the sealing capabilities of gaskets which may allow moisture to enter. In addition, heat from these sources can cause deformation of certain materials leading to mechanical failures. For these reasons, you should remove your watch before entering a hot tub or Jacuzzi
The case backs and dials are normally marked as follows:
The case back has no indication of water resistance
This indicates that watch t is a non resistant model and is not designed for contact with moisture at all. Caution should be exercised to avoid any contact with moisture, such as when washing your hands or from a rainstorm
This watch is designed to withstand water from accidental splashing, such as from washing your hands or rain. Any submission into water may result in the entrance of moisture
Water Resist 10BAR or W.R. 10BAR dial marked WR100
This watch is designed to withstand water pressure up to 333 feet (100 meters). This includes water exposure from accidental splashing and rain, but also from showering. Swimming in a pool, and snorkeling. Be sure to rinse the watch with fresh water after exposure to a chlorinated pool, salt water, soaps, etc. After rinsing with fresh water, be sure to dry the exterior with a cloth
Water Resist 20BAR or W.R. 20BAR, dial marked with WR200
This watch is designed to withstand water pressure up to 666 feet (200 meters). This includes all exposure to water up to and including recreational SCUBA diving. Be sure to rinse the watch with fresh water after exposure to a chlorinated pool, salt water, soaps, etc. After rinsing with fresh water, be sure to dry the exterior with a fresh cloth