Your new watch says it is water resistant, but what exactly does that mean? And how do you care for a water resistant watch?
Definition of Water Resistance
A watch marked as water resistant without a depth indication is designed to withstand accidental splashes of water only. Do not submerge such a watch. Higher levels of water resistance are indicated by increasingly higher acceptable depths, usually indicated in meters.
There are a variety of ways to make a watch water resistant. All such watches use rubber gaskets or "O" rings to seal the case back. A watch with a back that screws onto the case provides a higher degree of water resistance. Some crowns (the "winding stem") actually screw into the case to further increase water resistance.
The following usage recommendations are suggested by the Seiko Corporation of America.
Water-resistant to 30 meters (100 feet). Will withstand splashes of water or rain but should not be worn while swimming or diving.
Water-tested to 50 meters (165 feet). Suitable for showering or swimming in shallow water.
Water-tested to 100 meters (330 feet). Suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
Water-tested to 150 meters (500 feet). Suitable for snorkeling.
Water-tested to 200 meters (660 feet). Suitable for skin diving.
Diver's 150 meters (500 feet). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
Diver's 200 meters (660 feet). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
Please note that we do not recommend swimming or diving with your watch unless it has a screw-down crown (also known as ‘screw-lock’ or ‘screw-in’ crown) and is water-resistant to at least 100 meters.
Care for a Water Resistant Watch
It is not recommended to wear your water resistant watch in a hot shower, sauna or hot tub. The extreme heat causes the metal parts to expand at a different rate than the rubber gaskets. This creates small openings that can allow water droplets to penetrate the watch. Sudden temperature changes are especially harsh. Take care not to jump into a cold pool after wearing your watch in the hot tub.
After swimming or diving in salt water, immediately rinse the watch in a stream of fresh water. If your watch has a rotating bezel, turn the bezel several times while rinsing it. This will prevent salt buildup and corrosion of the bezel ring.
Leather straps can be made to be water resistant too. Generally however, leather straps are more easily damaged by frequent exposure to water. So if you are going to wear your watch while swimming -- think of buying one with a metal bracelet or a rubber or nylon diver strap.