When you’re looking to buy a watch, you might notice that some watches claim to be water-resistant, or even waterproof. These two terms are thrown around for a lot of products recently, including phones and cameras! But what do these terms actually mean when it comes to watches? And what should you know about it before buying a water-resistant of waterproof watch?
First of all, the term water-resistant is supposed to mean that a watch can withstand contact with water for some time without damage. A waterproof watch is supposed to be able to withstand being completely submerged in water without damage. In the real world though, this is not necessarily how it works for watches that are advertised with these terms.
Waterproof watches are supposed to block out water completely because their seals are supposed to keep water from entering the inner watch workings. The seals are usually made from rubber or plastic, but these materials can become damaged and fail due to extreme temperatures. So to make sure that your waterproof watch won’t fail over time, it’s a good idea to get it serviced every few years.
Something to think about however, is that most watchmaker workshops test water-resistance and waterproofness through dry tests without actually using water. They use air pressure to test for any leaks, so if a watch passes the workshop tests, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will survive real water and pressure conditions. Also, hot temperatures will expand components and gaps in a watch, so getting water on a watch in hot temperatures, or worse, submerging a watch in hot water can cause a watch to fail no matter how waterproof or resistant it’s supposed to be.
There are a few exceptions, with some luxury watchmakers like Rolex having tested certain models in extreme water depths, which would surely survive a few water splashes in an everyday setting. But in general, if you’re considering a watch that claims to be waterproof or water-resistant, remember that you should still handle a watch with care and that any extreme activities or environments can still break down a sturdy watch over time.
I hope this article gave you a little more insight into waterproof vs water-resistant watches. If you’re Interested in building your own watch though, you should check out these fully functional mechanical watches you can make with watchmaking kits! You can get all the tools and guide you need to make you own watch, challenge yourself, and learn about what goes into watchmaking.