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What does "Water Resistant" really mean?

Water resistant watches are rated based on a laboratory pressure test comparable to a swimmer sitting still under water at a certain depth.  Watches that are marked "water resistant", but DO NOT specify a depth rating of from 3 ATM (Atmospheres), 50 feet, 100 meters, etc., are not designed to be submerged below the surface of the water. Although they may withstand this condition for a while, if continually subjected to this situation, they will eventually leak. Just like a tire rolling down the highway, sooner or later, the tread is going to wear out, and if you run it long enough, the tire will go flat. In my professional opinion, if you need a watch to be water resistant enough to be able to submerge it below the surface of the water, be sure to get one that is designed with a screw-down crown and a screw-down caseback. Otherwise, you are certainly going to be disappointed. It's like having wimpy tires on your 4-wheeler and then speeding through the rugged deep woods. "BANG!" Gonna be sorry!

Remember, unless specified by depth, water resistant only means "ACCIDENTAL WETTING"! Think of it like this. "Oops, didn't mean to do it, dry it off real quick", and it should be okay.

You see, water resistancy is measured in a static condition, under the pressure of a certain depth in the water, and velocity is a function of that pressure. The faster the watch travels against or through the water - like getting sprayed with a garden hose, plunging your arm in the water while swimming, or even taking a shower - the greater the pressure against the watch and could exceed the degree of water resistancy engineered for that timepiece. So, even for a watch that is water resistant to 100 feet, or approximately 30 meters, water can force it's way passed the crystal seal, case-back gasket, the setting crown, or push buttons.

Sudden changes in temperature like going from a cool atmosphere into a hot tub can cause the rubber gaskets, base metal and steel case parts designed to protect your watch's water resistancy, to breach it's sealing capacity momentarily and allow water to leak in.

Please keep in mind also, that the precision gaskets protecting the setting stem, case-back, or crystal area will break down over time, and should be inspected periodically and replaced when they reach the point where they become worn out and the danger of them leaking becomes a possibility. Also a concern are those watches that the case-back sealing area or the crown is badly corroded.

How Submergible Is Your Watch?

It's easy to tell. Just look on the dial, usually between the 4 and 7 digits, or on the case-back for the reference words: water resistant, water resist, W/R, 3ATM and/or the included reference of: 100, 150, 200, feet/meters etc.. A watch is not designed to be deliberately submerged under water if it is not so signified by a depth rating, which will be printed on the dial of the watch or somewhere on the case back with the reference depth for which it is rated.

In the service and repair of watches, it is our service policy that a watch must be depth rated on the dial or case back to be called water resistant. Water resistancy MUST be so signified by it's depth and be stamped or engraved on the dial or the case-back with it's referenced depth, or it simply is not submergible.

According to guidelines issued by the Federal Trade Commission, since the 1960's, watch marketers are not allowed to label their watches "water-proof". This aided us to achieve truthfulness and accuracy of product labeling and advertising. Even watches designed for deep-sea diving cannot claim to be waterproof. The seals that keep water out are not completely impervious and their effectiveness can be reduced over time with age, deterioration, and exposure to chemicals. This concept is recognized globally when dealing with precision timepieces.

Common Water Resistance Ratings

Depth Rating

Usages

10 Meters

33 Feet

1 ATM

A watch with this resistance level is protected against accidental exposure to water; for example, splashes, perspiration or accidental immersion. It should not be exposed to any water pressure.

30 Meters

100 Feet

3 ATM

This level will easily withstand splashes or brief immersion in water, or getting caught in the rain. However, it is not sufficiently resistant for swimming or bathing.

50 Meters

165 Feet

5 ATM

A watch with this level of resistance is wearable around household sinks, while playing sports and while swimming in shallow water. Do not wear it while bathing, snorkeling or scuba diving.

100 Meters

330 Feet

10 ATM

This level of water resistance will allow a watch to be worn around household sinks, while playing sports and while swimming, poolside diving or snorkeling. Do not wear it while scuba diving

150 Meters

500 Feet

15 ATM

A watch with this resistance level is wearable around household sinks, while playing sports and while swimming or poolside diving. It is also suitable for snorkeling and scuba diving.

 

NON-WATER RESISTANT: Care must be taken by the wearer to prevent the timepiece from being exposed to situations which could cause the entrance of moisture, this includes steam.

WATER RESISTANT: The general class of water-resistant watches are not intended for, nor should they be worn when swimming or bathing. They should never be exposed to the direct flow of water under pressure (i.e. faucet, shower, garden hose)

100m RESISTANT: 100m timepieces were designed for use in water related sports and activities. These watches were not intended for, nor should they be relied on as "DIVERS WATCHES".

* Do not operate the crown or push buttons when the watch is wet or submerged. If watch should get wet, it should always be wiped dry before attempting to change settings or modes.

If your watch has a "locking" crown, ensure that crown is securely threaded down to the case at all times, except when setting the watch. Chemicals and solvents, with a lower specific gravity than water, may penetrate the case at lower pressures. Certain caustic chemicals may damage seals and diminish the water-resistant capabilities.

Yes=Recommended Activity  No=Not Recommended 

Examples of Usage

Professional Deep Water Diving Recreational Scuba Diving Bathing Swimming Snorkeling  Wash Face, Rain
CATEGORY FEATURES CASEBACK DIAL
Diver*

200 Meters

660 Feet

20 ATM

Water Resistant

Divers 200m

Sport 150m

NO YES YES YES
High Grade Water Resistant

150 Meters

500 Feet

15 ATM

Water Resistant 150m W/R NO NO YES YES

100 Meters

330 Feet

10 ATM

Water Resistant

100m W/R

Sport 100m

NO NO YES YES
General Water Resistant

50 Meters

165 Feet

5 ATM

Water Resistant

50m W/R

NO NO NO YES

30 Meters

100 Feet

3 ATM

Water Resistant

30 Meters

NO NO NO YES

10 Meters

33 Feet

1 ATM

Water Resistant

Water Resistant

W/R

NO NO NO

Accidental

Wetting

Not Water Resistant _____ _____ _____ NO NO NO NO

* Watches that are used for DIVING should be inspected by a dive shop to validate it's depth rating prior to going into the water.


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