If you plan on swimming, diving, or playing around the water, your watch should be waterproof. As you likely know, some watches are easily ruined when submerged.
So are watches really waterproof?
Yes, some are.
You just need to know what to look for.
Definition of Waterproof Watches
Companies use a variety of terms to market their watches.
Some watches are labelled as waterproof, water-resistant, or water-sealed.
In the 1960s, the Federal Trade Commission started cracking down on watch manufacturers’ claims that their watches were waterproof.
Companies now need to prove that their watches are 100% waterproof to include “waterproof” on the label.
If the watch cannot keep fully protected against water and moisture, it is water-resistant.
Water-resistant means that the watch can withstand some water or moisture, such as a splash of water from the kitchen sink. They are not typically designed to keep water out when submerged.
What Makes a Watch Waterproof?
Technically, no watch is completely waterproof. Every watch has a limit to the amount of water pressure that it can withstand.
Watch manufacturers use a small rubber or silicone gasket to seal the case. To increase water resistance, diving watches tend to have thicker cases, heavy-duty gaskets, and fewer crowns, limiting the areas where water can enter the watch.
Looking at the water-resistant rating helps you determine the maximum depth of submersion before the seal may break:
- 3 ATM (30 meters)
- 5 ATM (50 meters)
- 10 ATM (100 meters)
- 20 ATM (200 meters)
Some watches go beyond the 20 ATM rating and follow a separate standard for diving watches. A typical scuba diving watch should be rated for depths of 200 to 300 meters.
Which Type of Watches Can Be Considered Waterproof?
For most people, a waterproof watch should be able to resist complete submersion in water.
You should be able to wear it while showering, bathing, fishing, and swimming in shallow water. This requires a water resistance rating of 5 ATM (50 meters) or higher.
If you plan on snorkelling, surfing, sailing, or engaging in other water sports, look for a water-resistance rating of 10 ATM (100 meters) or higher. 20 ATM (200 meters) is the minimum water-resistance rating suitable for skin diving.
Which Types of Watches Are Not Waterproof?
A water-resistance rating of 3 ATM (30 meters) is not waterproof.
If you wear one in the shower or bath, water will likely reach the inside of the watch.
Even if the seal keeps water out, moisture may slowly penetrate the watch face and internal components, which may slowly corrode some of the parts.
Top Five Extremely Waterproof Watches
The following waterproof watches come with water resistance ratings that make them suitable for use in the water.
1. Casio Men’s MDV106-1AV 200M Duro Analog Watch
Featuring a durable resin band to create a superior water seal, the Casio Men’s Duro Analog Watch is water-resistant up to 200 meters.
You can wear it while showering, bathing, or engaging in water activities, including snorkelling and diving.
2. Timex Women’s Ironman Transit 33mm Watch
With a water-resistance rating of 10 ATM (100 meters), the Timex Women’s Ironman Transit Watch is suitable for snorkelling and swimming but not diving.
The digital display makes it a versatile choice as it includes a 100-hour chronograph with 10-lap memory, 24-hour countdown timer, and a customizable alarm.
3. Timex Unisex Expedition Classic Digital Chrono Alarm Watch
The Timex Unisex Expedition Watch comes with a variety of features, including a water-resistance rating of 10 ATM (100 meters).
As with the Iron-man Transit Watch, you can wear this Timex watch when snorkelling or swimming. It also has a nylon strap and rugged case for added durability.
4. Stuhrling Original Men’s Swiss Quartz Dive Watch
The stylish Stuhrling Original Men’s Dive Watch includes a genuine Swiss quartz movement for accurate timekeeping along with a stainless steel case and a screw-down crown.
The watch is made to withstand the pressure of diving and comes with a water-resistance rating of 200 meters.
5. Casio Men’s G-Shock Quartz Resin Sport Watch
Wear the Casio Men’s G-Shock Quartz Resin Sport Watch when engaging in your favourite activities from swimming to diving.
It has a water resistance rating of 20 ATM (200 meters) and features a shock-resistant design.
Along with these watches, there are many other waterproof options.
Just make sure that you check the rating. If you plan on swimming or snorkelling, the watch should be rated to withstand water pressure up to 100 meters.