What is Water Resistant Watch?

What Does Water Resistant Mean for a Watch?

Many watches are labeled as “water resistant,” but what does this really mean? If you buy a watch that only says that it’s water resistant but doesn’t specify a certain depth rating, then the watch is not suitable for diving, continual submersion or any sort of water pressure.

These watches can be placed in a sink for a short period of time while washing dishes, left in the rain or otherwise exposed to a relatively small amount of water without breaking. They will not work well with swimming, fishing or any other water-based activity.

You should also pay attention to where the IP code is placed. The IP code specifies what water resistance requirements, but it also shows you which parts are resistant. For example, if the band has an IP code, then only the band will be resistant, which isn't useful if you plan on swimming, diving or exposing the watch to water. If you plan on diving or being regularly exposed to water, then ensure that the IP code is placed on the watch’s body.

Some watches are great for swimming, diving and other underwater activities, but you need to make sure that the watch is rated for this level of exposure. If it isn’t, then the watch will soon crack and wear from water leaking into the watch's body.

What are the Different Types of Water-Resistant Watches?

There are four main types of water-resistant watches. The cheapest and most common are daily usage watches with a class one water resistance rating. These watches are resistant to a small amount of water, such as perspiration, rain, water from a sink and infrequent exposure. They are not suitable for water activities or conditions where the water pressure sharply changes. Exposing these watches to water for more than a few minutes can result in some minor damage.The next type is a daily usage watch with a class two water resistant rating. These watches can often withstand about five to 20 bars of water. Watches that can resistant five bars of water are great for water activities like fishing and light swimming. They can also be used in agriculture, restaurants or other wet environments. At the same time, they should not be used when diving, snorkeling or going more than 20 feet underwater.

The same goes for watches that are rated between 10 and 20 bars. While they also aren’t good with diving, they will resist water better than the above watch. This should improve the watch’s longevity if you are frequently around water. They can also be used while showering. Snorkeling might be possible depending on how deep you plan on swimming.

Air-diving watches typically resist about 100 to 200 meters of water pressure. This is meant for shallow diving when you use tanks full of oxygen. They will have devices such as a rotating bezel and decompression timer to tell you how much air you have left and how deep you’ve gone. More advanced watches will beep to show you that you’re too deep or ascending too quickly. This type of watch is suitable for shallow scuba diving.

Mixed-gas diving watches can resist about 200 to 1,000 meters of water pressure, and they are meant to be used with mixed-gas tanks comprised of helium and oxygen. These are the best when it comes to diving because they can withstand a massive amount of pressure. Aside from that, they have many of the same features found on air-diving watches.

Watches to use for Outside Diving and Water Activities

The needs for a water-resistant watch while swimming, diving or doing anything in the water is obvious, but are these watches useful outside of these activities?

If you are commonly exposed to water during your everyday life or while working, then you’ll be happy to know that these watches won’t wear from the exposure. Most watches can’t withstand even the smallest bit of water. It will cause the material to rust, deteriorate or quickly wear. Not only that, but water can easily leak into the body, which will damage the internal parts.

People who work in restaurants, car washes, and farms or produce departments, construction or anywhere else where water is common should consider buying a water-resistant watch.

Another reason for a water-resistant watch, especially a diver’s watch, is that they have become quite fashionable. Many executives and professionals wear them on a daily basis. These watches look more powerful than regular watches, which have caused a spike in popularity. They also tend to have intricate features and better designs, which makes them a source of awe and amazement at the office. 

What is Water Resistance Requirements?

There are two major codes that govern water resistance ratings. ISO 2281 is for daily usage watches. For a watch to be legally water resistant, it must pass several tests to gain this code.

The watch must be able to withstand 10cm of water for an hour. It must also withstand this much water with a five Newton force for 10 minutes. The last water test is that it must be able to withstand hot and warm temperatures while underwater without cracking.

If the watch can do this without any evidence of water intrusion, then it will gain the ISO 2281 rating.

Watches for divers must have an ISO 6425 rating. The watch must be immersed in 30cm of water for 50 hours. It will also be subjected to 125 percent of its rated pressure to ensure that it doesn’t crack if the diver goes somewhat deeper than intended. The watch will then be subjected to fluctuating hot and cold temperatures under 30cm of water to test its ability to withstand shifting temperatures. Since temperature can rapidly change as you are diving, this will ensure that the watch remains durable during intensive diving sessions.

The diver’s watch will also be subjected to shock and corrosion tests to ensure that the water and natural forces don’t affect it. Pressure is also very important because you will be under a lot of water, so the watch must withstand an immense amount of pressure to gain the ISO 6425 rating.

There are several other ratings and codes that will rate the watch’s ability to withstand pressure, but these two codes are the most important when it comes to water resistance.

What is Water Resistance Ratings?

Most watches, especially if they are diver’s watches, will list their resistance rating in ATM. Since this is an uncommon measurement, it can be difficult to know how resistant the watch really is.

The lowest resistance is one ATM. The watch will be able to withstand accidental exposure to water and some light rain. At three ATM, the watch is capable of withstanding splashes, brief emersion and heavier rains.

You can enter the water at five ATM. You will be able to swim, but don’t go too deep underwater unless you want the watch to crack. Snorkeling and deeper underwater swimming is possible at 10 ATM, but don’t go beyond 300 feet.

Watches with a resistance of 15 ATM are able to resist deeper snorkeling up to 500 feet. Divers will use watches with a resistance of 30 ATM or higher, depending on how deep they want to dive.

Here is a clear chart based on the resistance rating to show you what activities are possible with your particular watch.


What are the Basic Maintenance and Care for Water Resistant Watches?

Caring for most water-resistant watches is easy. Be sure to clean the watch regularly and place it in a safe area where it will not be damaged. When wearing the watch, be sure to avoid smacking it into solid surfaces to avoid dents and scratches.

It’s best to avoid placing perfume, cologne or other similar chemicals near or on the watch. These chemicals can wear the water-resistant gaskets, which can reduce the watch’s ability to withstand water or high amounts of pressure. The same is true of chlorine and other chemicals that are commonly found in pools.

Whenever you change the battery, it’s also a good idea to have the gasket checked and changed if there is any damage. The seal should also be checked, but it usually doesn't have to be changed as frequently as the gasket.

Since changing the gasket can be difficult, it’s a good idea to see a professional for assistance. Aside from ensuring that the watch is as resistant as possible, he or she might be able to remove any blemishes that occur from daily usage. Not only that, but a professional will ensure that everything is in working order so that you can confidently use the watch during the day, underwater or anywhere else.

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