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Understanding Water Resistance Ratings in Watches

Water resistance ratings on watches indicate the level of protection against water damage. The ratings are usually expressed in metres, atmospheres and, in the USA, feet, and indicate the depth to which a watch can be submerged without water entering the case. However, it is important to note that water resistance ratings are not permanent and may deteriorate over time. It is always advisable to check the specific water resistance of a watch and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure its longevity.

When shopping for a watch, it’s important to understand the water resistance ratings to ensure you choose a timepiece that can withstand your intended activities. A water resistance of 100 meters does NOT mean that you can dive down to 100 meters, but that it has been tested at 10 bars of pressure.

This guide will break down the different water resistance ratings and help you make an informed decision when purchasing a watch:

You find this in older watches. It means that your watch can withstand accidental splashes or rain. You should not shower or bathe wearing it.

The watch might be suitable for taking a shower, although not advisable, as the soap can deteriorate the seals.

Suitable for swimming, but not snorkelling.

Suitable for swimming and snorkelling but not high-impact water sports like surfing as the lateral forces acting on the crown and gasket may cause water to enter the case.

Suitable for swimming, scuba diving and high-impact water sports like surfing.

Suitable for saturation diving.

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