What does waterproof watch mean?

Wrist Watch

Water is one of the main enemies of a wristwatch. When the tightness of the case is broken, irreparable damage is caused to the mechanism. Today, most modern watches have a special design that protects the internal parts from water or moisture penetration. At the same time, depending on the purpose of the watch, the level can vary from basic to professional. It would seem that everything is simple, but this very characteristic of the watch raises a lot of questions. We figure out what's what.

Men's Japanese wrist watch Orient SP series UG1X00BB

What is "water protection"?

If you look at the reverse side of the watch, you will see the inscription “water resistant” on it, and next to it is an indication of the static pressure and the measurement value - this information will tell you how well the wrist accessory is protected. Before such marking gets on the body, the developed model undergoes a series of tests in accordance with the requirements of the international standard ISO 2281.

Interestingly, during testing in the laboratory, static pressure acts on the watch for a short time and at the same temperature. It is this moment that causes confusion. In real conditions, the actual pressure is often higher and changes as you move.

For example, it would seem that the marking "water resistant 20m (2 ATM / bar)" should allow the owner to swim in hours at a depth of up to 20 meters, but in fact they are unlikely to survive the first swim. The moment the watch comes into contact with the surface of water, the actual pressure will change dramatically and significantly exceed the test pressure.

Frederique Constant Classics FC-292MC4P6 men's Swiss wrist watch with chronograph

Measurement system

Another difficulty is related to the magnitude of the measurement - the most common designations for pressure are meters (m), bars (bar) or atmospheres (ATM). If with meters it is more or less clear, then with other units it is not very clear. To avoid any difficulties, you need to remember a simple rule: when diving, for every 10 meters, the water pressure acting on the object increases by 1 atmosphere. It follows that the marking "water resistant 20m" is identical to the marking "water resistant 2 ATM / bar".

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Men's Swiss watch Swiss Military Hanowa Patriot Chrono 06-5187.04.007 with chronograph

Water resistant from 20m (2 ATM / bar)

It happens that the marking contains only the phrase "water resistant" without indicating the pressure level. This usually means that this model has an initial water protection level of 20m (2 ATM / bar). This is the basic standard for all modern watches. Swimming in such an accessory, of course, is out of the question, but it can easily transfer splashes of water, for example, when washing hands or in the rain.

Water resistant from 50m (5 ATM / bar)

A watch with 50m water resistance (5 ATM / bar) already tolerates high humidity better. Theoretically, in models with this level, you can swim, while observing a number of restrictions: you can not dive, you can not dive, you can not splash, minimize the impact of water. It is unlikely that you will enjoy this kind of bathing, so we recommend you choose from the following categories for wristwatches for swimming.

Water resistant from 100m (10 ATM / bar)

A good option for a summer vacation on the beach or fishing, the watch will withstand splashes, showers, as well as calm swimming, but diving is still best avoided.

Men's Japanese wrist watch Casio Edifice EFR-556L-1A with chronograph

Water resistant from 200m (20 ATM / bar)

In addition to everything that is available to watches with a lower water resistance, you can also engage in recreational diving in these watches. However, it is not recommended to dive to a depth of more than 10 meters. Surely the watch will cope with such a load, but it is better not to risk it.

Water resistant from 300m (30 ATM / bar)

Now you are unlikely to be stopped by anything in your desire to explore and admire the beauty of the underwater world. A watch with a water resistance of 300m (30 ATM / bar) is perfect for just this purpose.

ISO 6425 Certified Diver's Watch

If you see the divers xx m mark on the case, this is a model certified according to the international standard ISO 6425. These are ideal for those who want to buy diving watch... The presence of the standard states that the manufacturer guarantees the accurate operation of the watch at a depth of at least 100 meters (if the number is not specified), as well as an additional 25%. In addition, professional dive models are highly resistant to shock, magnetic fields, salt water and can be operated even in the absence of light.

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Men's watch Jacques Lemans Liverpool 1-1117AN with chronograph


  • Certain chemicals, such as perfume, shampoo, soap, cosmetics or aerosol sprays, can affect the integrity of the gaskets and thus the stability of the watch.
  • Rinse your watch with fresh water after every swim in salt sea water.
  • Whatever level of water protection the watch has, it is forbidden to visit a sauna or bath with it - different parts of the watch expand from the action of high temperatures, this causes deformation and loss of protective properties.

  • Do not adjust the time and other functions underwater - most watches are not designed for this use.
  • If your watch is equipped with a screw-down crown, make sure it is closed before swimming.
  • Check the watch for compliance with the declared water resistance every year or two, as the O-rings will wear out over time.