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Naturally, everyone who has purchased a luxury watch wants to know whether and to what extent it is protected against water. Despite all the technology and innovation that goes into wristwatches, water and humidity are and remain a challenge for every watch model. Nevertheless, misunderstandings and trouble still arise when a "water-resistant" watch suffers water damage. So what exactly does the information on water-resistance mean and what should one bear in mind with this topic?


Water-repellent or waterproof: What is the difference?

Even if the subject of waterproofing is actually a technical one, it is more about words in the beginning. Companies make a strict distinction in their watches between devices that are only water-repellent, for example, can easily handle splashes of water and sweat, and those that can actually withstand a certain amount of water or pressure over a longer period of time. Even a "waterproof" watch is subject to wear and tear over time and a decrease in the density of the material used. However, water-resistance values are not arbitrarily set by every watch manufacturer. In Germany, the German Institute for Standardization determines when a watch is considered water-resistant. The timepiece must withstand 30 minutes in one meter of water and then 90 seconds in 20 meters of water without being restricted in its functionality. However, we must also be more precise here: resistance is measured by the pressure to which the watch is subjected in a water tube. The water density thus determined is expressed in bar.As a rule of thumb, about 1 bar corresponds to the pressure that is applied to the watch and organism at a depth of 10 meters. However, the pressure varies, for example, if you jump into water or swim.  

A Rolex watch half submerged in water.ROLEX DEEPSEA 116660 

The following overview can serve as a rule of thumb for timepieces and their contact with water:


  • 3 ATM / Bar / 30 m: The watch is protected against splashes of water as they occur when washing hands.

  • 5 ATM / Bar / 50 m: Showers and bathing are not a problem for this watch.

  • 10 ATM / Bar / 100 m: You can take the watch with you to activities on and in shallow waters. However, when diving and jumping from cliffs, you should leave your timepiece safely stored in a dry place.

  • 20 ATM / Bar / 200 m: The watch is water-resistant, suitable for diving and can easily withstand any water sports activities.


Examples for the water-resistance of watches

To illustrate this situation to you more clearly, we have compiled some watch models from our online shop, which we would like to use to explain what you can do with these models and what you should not do.

An Omega watch with blue dial in waterOMEGA SEAMASTER DIVER 300M

Longines La Grande Classique

The Longines La Grande Classique (Ref. L4.691.6.11.2) is a classic example of so-called dress watches. The water-resistance is indicated with 30 meters, respectively 98 feet. Although this watch is protected against water splashes such as those that occur when washing hands, any contact with water that goes beyond this should be avoided. However, it is the right choice for a fancy reception in the evening or the opening of the opera season.


TAG Heuer Monaco

The TAG Heuer Monaco (Ref. CAW2111.FC6183), classic from the world of motorsport, is also particularly good off the asphalt. With water-resistance of up to 100 meters, this watch can be kept on without any problems when showering or swimming. However, it is not advisable to spend too long under water. Since this watch was not developed especially for diving, it can happen that water may enter the case from the crown over time. This area always carries a particularly high risk for watches. Therefore, always make sure that the crown is pressed down before going into the water. In addition to the case and its workmanship, the material of the bracelet always plays a role. Of course, these are not as expensive to replace as the movement, but it is not advisable to take an extended bath with a leather strap. Nato wristbands are particularly suitable in summer, as their colorful range also adds a touch of color to the wrist.


Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M

As its name suggests, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M (Ref. can withstand pressures of up to 60 bar or 600 meters. The Planet Ocean is not only suitable for diving, it was even specifically designed for it. The built-in helium valve ensures that the pressure inside the watch does not increase too much and thus endanger the movement. Omega has always been competing with Rolex for the ultimate diver’s watch. The Geneva-based company's Deepsea has succeeded in creating a watch that cuts a fine figure both at a depth of 3,900 meters and in everyday life.

An Omega watch with a black dialOMEGA SEAMASTER PLANET OCEAN 600M

Is it still tight?

In winter, your watch may fog up slightly under the watch glass due to the cooling it is exposed to outside. This is not a cause for concern if the fogging only looks like a light fog. However, if drops form, you should definitely consult a watchmaker, as the seal on the watch may not work reliably. 

Even with record-setting water-resistance data, every watch requires the right maintenance. If you frequently allow your watch to come into contact with water, it is also advisable to check the water-resistance of the timepiece at regular intervals. regular inspection, preferably once a year, will ensure that your watch will not go swimming the next time you dive. If you are looking for an affordable, second-hand luxury watch, Watchmaster can assure you that every watch has been inspected in our in-house master workshop and any weak points have been identified and repaired.