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Water Resistance and Watches

Water Resistance and Watches

Authored By Richard Perdomo

Water Resistance and Watches

It is the height of summer now, and as people flock to the Caribbean, or other waters to enjoy the weather, and explore, we've been seeing a lot more of the topic of water resistance in watches pop up. We feel like there's some misconception about some of the terms that watch companies use to describe their watches.

(This Timex has a "WR" or Water Resistant marking, but that doesn't mean that it's safe to swim, shower, or dive with)


The Why of Water Resistance

Watch companies have been using the term "Water Resistant" for years on their pieces for years. The term originally came to be after an agreement stating that watch companies cannot mark or sell their watches as "Waterproof", because of the fact that nothing is really waterproof, anything subjected to enough pressure can break. The "Water Resistance" designation does not mean that you can go diving, or in some cases even swimming with your watch. It only means that a sample of watches from the manufacture has been subjected to a humidity test, and/or a static pressure test. In the end, this really only means that you can wash your hands with it on or get a little rain on it. 

You may be thinking, "Well, it's water resistant" why couldn't I just hop in the pool with it? Well, hopping in the pool subjects the watch to a split second of high pressure because of the surface tension in the water, which can wear down on the crown and pushbuttons (if any) on your watch, over time this could harm your watch, allowing water inside the delicate movement. This can lead to watch failure, and corrosion. Most watches with the "Water Resistant" designation up to 50 meters shouldn't be worn underwater, or showered with, although there are a few exceptions that can be worn in a pool or other static pressure environment.

So What CAN I Get Wet?

Now, this doesn't mean that all watches shouldn't be used underwater. Dive Watches, (no, not the $150 Submariner Copy you bought at a flea market, REAL dive watches) specifically made and each piece tested thoroughly to ensure that it meets a specific standard. This standard being the ISO 6425. Each watch manufactured (not just a sample group) undergoes a series of tests designed to make sure the watch can withstand at least 100 meters, and they also go on to test the watch at 125% of that pressure. If it fails, it is destroyed, if it passes, it goes on to be sold. These watches are designed to handle the pressure of swimming, diving (up to the indicated depth) and are designed to be magnetically resistant. Dive Watches should also be regularly tested to make sure it's still resistant, at pressure things can be warped easily. 

Next time you want to wear your watch out on the boat, or at the pool, just remember to make sure of your watch's depth rating, otherwise it might just cost you your watch! 


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