There is always a limit to how much a particular watch can resist water pressure. What exactly does waterproofing a watch mean?

Water resistance indicates whether a watch is sealed against an ingress of water under any conditions and that the case and the mechanism can resist penetration of moisture. Yet, under certain conditions, almost every watch will let water in. Therefore, ”water resistance” has a slightly different meaning in the watch-making industry, indicating how much water pressure can a watch withstand. Watches labelled “water resistant” are actually only resistant to moisture. Such watches will not be damaged should they be splashed with a few drops of water while you wash your hands or with a few rain drops.

Just because a watch is labelled “water resistant” does not mean you can swim or shower with it.

Water is actually the greatest enemy to any watch. If you swim or do water sports, you should have an authorized servicer do annual testing of water resistance of your watch. The case may look firm and solid, but the mechanism of the watch is delicate and sensitive.  

Let’s be honest, the only “protection” standing between your watch and the water is a thin caseback. Water can easily find its way to the mechanism, through the smallest openings invisible to the naked eye.

If the mark engraved on your watch says it is water resistant to 100 metres, you may assume it would be safe to wear it while diving in a pool. Unfortunately, that is not entirely true. Diving creates sudden change in pressure, and even though it can last for just a few seconds, diving can cause a great impact on the watch, especially if the watch is not intended for diving.

Water resistance is actually resistance to pressure, and the moment you dive, that pressure suddenly changes going higher than allowed. Several plunges in water may cause pressure that your watch will not be able to resist. The pressure becomes stronger and the water will probably enter your watch.

Sudden exposure to pressure, diving, jumping or swimming should be avoided with most watches. If a watch is water resistant to 100 metres, it actually means that your watch can withstand gradual submersion.



There are watches that are specifically designed for diving. These watches endure extreme conditions such as diving to a depth of 200 metres. Dive watches have a tightly screwed crown, a very solid case and are soundly sealed. If you plan to swim or dive frequently, it is best to choose a watch made for such conditions. In any case, before you make your choice, consult an authorized servicer.

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