Whether you're going diving, or simply washing the dishes, it is good to have a handle on exactly how far your watch will get you when you submerge it under water. In this article we are going to explore the difference between water resistance and waterproof and what it all means in relation to your watch.
According to current valid standards, a wristwatch may be termed "water resistant" if it is able to withstand perspiration, water drops or rain. It is not suitable for swimming.
Higher resistance values are usually indicated on the dial or case, for example, in the form of the test pressure in bar or in metres.
The watch’s most important property is the gaskets or O rings, made of rubber, nylon or Teflon, which form watertight seals at the joints where the crystal, case back and crown meet the watch case. Another factor to consider is the sturdiness of the case, which must withstand pressure without distorting. A steel or titanium case or a steel case plated with gold can be worn safely underwater. Gaskets are also lined with a sealant to keep water out. A screw-in case back is also preferable to one that is pushed in.
No. All water resistant watches should have their water resistance checked every time the battery is changed or the case is opened and the gaskets dislodged. That’s why it is important to take your watch to a repair centre with water resistance testing equipment. If you wear your watch often while swimming or expose it to a lot of sweat, it should be checked at least every two years.
"dry" testing using air pressure measurements to see if the case expands as a result of air leaking into the case – if it doesn’t the watch is water resistant.
"Wet" testing – the watch is subjected to air pressure, then submerged in water. Emerging air bubbles will point to air seepage into the watch before it was submerged.
This guide has been developed by the Jewellers and Watchmakers of New Zealand (Inc.) in conjunction with the major watch importers and wholesalers in New Zealand.
In time, the seals on your watch may deteriorate. We recommend that you have the water-resistance of your watch checked once a year by a watchmaker who will replace the seals if necessary.
The Jewellers and Watchmakers do not recommend using any watch whilst in the shower, spa or hot pool.
Any manipulation of the case or ageing of the sealing material may allow water to penetrate even cases with good water resistance. Gaskets can become corroded by chemicals or crystals loosened or broken. Hairsprays, perfume sprays and heavily chlorinated water can also cause damage.
Your guarantee covers defects in material and workmanship for a certain period from the date of purchase. When purchasing your watch make sure the conditions of the guarantee are explained and the appropriate form is filled in by the vendor. Well-known brands often come with an international guarantee. When buying your watch in New Zealand your purchase is also covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. Keep your guarantee in a safe place.
Looking for a water resistant watch for driving? Shop our diving section here
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