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Water-Resistant Watch Quick Facts

Published September 30, 2010 | Updated August 11, 2015

Many people want a timepiece that is waterproof. A watch cannot be completely waterproof because it is made of many different parts, but a water-resistant watch is a great investment, and many can be worn while swimming, showering, and even diving. These sport watches and dive watches are available in a range of styles, for men and for women. Consider these facts when shopping for a water-resistant watch.

About Water-Resistant Watches:

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  • Construction

    A water-resistant sport watch or dive watch will have rubber, nylon, or Teflon gaskets set on the crystal, chronograph pushers, and the case at the case back. In addition, a waterproof sealant lines the case of a good water-resistant watch.

  • A Screw-Down Crown

    Screw-down crowns are standard on dive women's and men's watches. It is also sometimes called a screw-in crown. A screw-down crown has gaskets and will create a tight seal for the watch case when it is screwed in.

  • Maintenance and Care

    Water-resistant watches should have gaskets changed whenever the battery is replaced or when doing routine maintenance. Chlorine, perfume, and other chemicals can harm the gaskets or sealant. Limit exposure to these materials or have your watch tested often for water resistance.

  • Testing

    Water resistance is tested in measurements of atmosphere (ATM). Each ATM denotes 10 meters of static water-pressure. This is not the depth to which a watch can be worn. Many watch cases will list the basic measurement of 1 ATM as "water-resistant." These watches will withstand small splashes of water but should not be worn while washing the hands or submerging the hands in water.

  • Diver's Watches

    Purchase a diver's watch if you spend a lot of time snorkeling or deep sea diving. A dive watch usually has a screw-down crown and a screw-down case back. The water-resistance rating for these watches will be at least 20 ATM (200 meters/660 feet). Many high-end watches feature a helium release valve.

  • Water-Resistance Ratings

    Use these guidelines to choose the right water-resistant watch for your lifestyle:

Rating Water-Resistant to Suitable for
3 ATM 30 meters/100 feet Everyday use. No swimming.
5 ATM 50 meters/165 feet Short periods of swimming. No diving or snorkeling.
10 ATM 100 meters/330 feet Swimming and snorkeling.
20 ATM 200 meters/660 feet High-impact water sports and some diving.
Diver 150-200 meters/500-660 feet Scuba diving. Passes ISO regulations.