The Truth About Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant

One of the biggest points of confusion in the watch community is the difference between waterproof and water-resistant. When watchmakers were first developing water resistance technology, they reserved it for specific models like dive watches. Today, the technology is much more wide spread. Now, you’ll find that water resistance is a relatively common feature in most models. Whether you’re an avid diver or beach-goer, understanding your watch’s water resistance can be important. Perhaps you’re just curious to learn more about water resistance and what it means for your watch. We’re here to uncover the difference between waterproof and water resistant when it comes to your watch.

What is Water Resistance?

The distinction between waterproof and water-resistant is fairly simple. There is in fact no watch that is totally waterproof. Even in the most advanced dive watch models, there’s a limit to how much water pressure they can bear. They’re not impervious to leaks under any circumstances. Unfortunately, certain watchmakers may use the terms waterproof and water-resistant interchangeably, which is both misleading and confusing. The correct way to describe a watch’s ability to withstand water pressure is water resistance.

Now, you understand that there is no such thing as a waterproof watch. However, you should know certain details about water resistance. At the most basic level, a water resistant watch essentially protects from humidity. Most watches can withstand exposure to a bit of moisture. For example, if you splash your watch while washing your hands or are caught in the rain. On the other hand, if your watch is water resistant, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can submerge it in water.

How Watches Maintain Their Water Resistance

Certain models, like dive watches, are specifically designed to be water resistant when submerged. Most models that fall under the dive watch category must be able to endure depths of at least 200 meters. Almost all watches include a small gasket or ring made of rubber or silicon. This seals the inside of the watch from the outside around the stem of the crown, pushers, dial, and caseback. However, dive watches contain more advanced water-resistant technology. They have fewer openings for water to permeate. In addition, they typically have a screw-down crown and much heavier gaskets around the dial and caseback. If you’re an avid swimmer, diver, surfer, or sailor, a dive watch is the watch for you.

Tips for Preserving Your Timepiece’s Performance

Whether you have a dive watch or a more basic model, you should have your watch’s water resistance tested routinely. Doing so on a regular basis will ensure it’s functioning properly. At minimum, we recommend having a certified professional test your watch’s water resistance annually. However, if you’re avid swimmer, diver, surfer, or sailor, it’s even more important to have your water resistance tested frequently. Even though your dive watch may have greater capabilities, it endures more wear and tear as well as harsher conditions. Especially if you use your watch in saltwater or sandy places, we suggest testing your water resistance several times annually.

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Caitlyn is the founder of Grey Ghost, a New York City-based boutique content marketing agency with a passion for artists, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups. She believes in quality over quantity, creative thinking, and, above all, using language as powerful tool to build lasting connections.

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