What the Water Resistance Means for Your Watch

Indicating how well a watch is sealed against water, water resistance is an important feature for many of us.  However, the water resistance standards can be confusing.  The water resistance mark on a timepiece doesn’t necessarily indicate how far under the water you can take the watch.  One reason is that your motion under the water, such as swimming motions with your hands can significantly increase the pressure the seals are under.

DiveMasterSubmerged

The International Organization for Standardization controls water resistance measurement regulations.  There’s no such thing as a “water proof” watch, however watches can have a wide range of water resistancy.  Below is a chart to further explain their water resistant ratings and suitable resistant activities (exposure to water).

Water Resistance Rating
1 ATM
10 Meters
33 Feet
X
3 ATM
30 Meters
100 Feet
X X
5 ATM
50 Meters
165 Feet
X X X
10 ATM
100 Meters
330 Feet
X X X X
20 ATM
200 Meters
660 Feet
X X X X X
30 ATM
300 Meters
990 Feet
X X X X X X
50 ATM
500 Meters
1,650 Feet
X X X X X X
100 ATM
1,000 Meters
3,000 Feet
X X X X X X

 

Rain & Splashes Swimming, Bathing & Snorkeling
Brief Immersion Skin & Recreational Diving
Showering & Shallow Water Professional Diving

The ISO requires dive watches to go through a more rigorous test process (ISO 6425) to ensure they will not take on water during your diving excursion. However, it is recommended that you should have regular pressure testing done to maintain its resistance

Please Note: There are several situations which effect water resistance:  Pulling out the crown will cause most watches to lose their water resistance. Regular exposure to chemicals, hot tubs or saunas can also affect the watch’s water resistance and are generally not covered by the warranty.

 

Here’s a quick guide to determine the best water resistance for your intended use:

Scuba divers, snorkelers, and anyone who wants to be sure that they can confidently play or work in the water with no worries about their watch “taking on water”, usually pick 200 meter and above dive watches, although 100 meter watches can be used confidently for swimming and snorkeling, but not diving.  50 meter watches are great for everyday wear without worry when washing your hands.  30 meter watches are actually best exposed to only occasional splashing.

 

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