Ask the Jeweler!  -  Water Resistant or Water Proof (Diver Certified)?


Is your watch Water Proof or Water Resistant?  This is a question that I receive quite often.  When someone comes in with a watch that needs a new battery, they always ask about whether they can swim or go in the ocean with the watch they just bought or have had for some time.  I also have three or four watches a week come into the store that have water in them, or visible condensation on the inside of the watch crystal.

It is difficult today to explain to people the difference between Water Proof and Water Resistant, because so many people buy their watches online, or on the popular TV Shopping networks.  When a customer purchases a watch online they are often told or have read that their new watch is water resistant to 30 meters!  They get excited, buy the watch thinking that they can sit in the hot tub, swim or expose the watch to all kinds of moisture and it will be safe!

No.  This is not true.  To understand the difference, we have to look at how the watch is made.  Small rubber gaskets keep moisture out of water resistant watches.  They ARE NOT WATER PROOF!  Resistant means just that.  If the watch is exposed to water from rain or washing your hands, we've never seen an issue there.  Resistant watches, however, when exposed to submersion into water will leak.  Sometimes a leak may not show up for some time.  Other times, you will have moisture build up on the inside of the crystal, especially on a warm day.

Eventually, a water resistant watch will leak enough, that the watch movement will become damaged beyond repair.  In extreme cases, the finish work on the watch dial, (The display part of the watch with the numbers on it), will loose its fine coating, and start to peel away the think varnish covering, damaging the watch even further.

Water Resistant watches should never be exposed to prolonged exposure to water.  The build quality of certain watches can mean that your watch will become damaged quicker, or if it is a better watch, may take longer to allow moisture in.

Water Proof watches will be sold as Water Proof!  During manufacturing, they are tested to depths in water to make sure that Water Tight Seals are safe and secure.  They are most commonly called Divers Watches.  Not to be confused with "Diver Style Watches" that are sold by the thousands on the Home Shopping Channels.  Always ask or look for "Water Proof", or "Certified Divers Watch" when finding a watch that can be exposed to water safely.

Good Divers water proof watches start at around $295.00.  The very good divers watches will range in price from $500.00 to $1000.00 depending on the depth of the watches capabilities and the features that the watch has to offer.

Always Ask!  If you hear a sales person on TV tell you that the watch is Water Resistant, or you read that the watch is Water Resistant, don't assume that you can swim with it.  Eventually, it will leak, can that can happen quicker then most people realize.

When I open a watch up to check it, and I start to see the tell-tail signs of rust or water damage, most often it is too late to save the watch movement.  This kind of damage is NOT Covered by your warranty.  Most manufacturers will charge you if you send it back for a warranty repair, more then we would to replace the inside of your watch. 

So, when you're out looking for a watch that you know you'll expose to water or moisture, remember the difference between Divers Water Proof and the generic Water Resistant Watch!

I want to be the jeweler who gets to change the battery in your watch for a long time.  I don't want to be the jeweler who comes up to you to show you how much rust is inside your watch case!


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