Probably the most common misunderstanding about watches is their water resistance. And by misunderstanding the ability of our watch to resist water, it can easily become non-functional following different encounters with water (splashes, swimming, etc.). We felt that providing a detailed guide could help watch enthusiasts understand their watches’ water-resistance level as well as avoid losing a timepiece. If you’ve been looking for this information, read on!
What does water resistant mean?
If a watch says it is water-resistant to 100 meters, it doesn’t mean you can swim 100 meters below the surface. This is the most common misunderstanding, and one of the most common reasons why a watch goes to pot. Assuming that you’re not aware of different water resistance levels, here is a short guide to help you better understand.
Guideline for WR Levels
Water Resistant 30M:
Suitable for everyday use. Can withstand splashes of water.
Water Resistant 50M:
Suitable for shorter periods of swimming.
Water Resistant 100M:
Suitable for recreational surfing, snorkeling.
Water Resistant 200M:
Suitable for professional marine activity, water sports.
Water Resistant 1000M:
Suitable for deep sea diving.
Furthermore, there are certain watch manufacturers that use different terms to measure water resistance:
ATM (atmosphere) – 1 ATM equals 10 meters.
Bar – 1 Bar equals 10 meters.
The ISO 2281 standard
A standard issued by the International Organization for Standardization prohibits the usage of the word ‘waterproof’ due to not being true. Furthermore, this standard specified the detailed testing procedure to determine watches’ water resistance. This standard was designed for watches intended for everyday use and has been introduced in 1990.
During the testing procedure, watches are not submerged 50 meters below the surface. Timepieces are pressure tested in a laboratory, which can be compared to static water pressure. Even though these tests are really accurate, they are not always right. Your watch can come in contact with water pressure which is everything but static. Imagine you’re doing the washing-up, and accidentally put your timepiece under the pouring water. That is much more water pressure than what your watch was tested for.
These numbers are here just to give you an idea about how your timepiece will react once it comes in contact with water.