Water Resistance in Watches

No doubt you are familiar with watches that have the additional benefit of being water resistant.  This resistance can vary all the way from 50 meters to 1,000 meters depending on the type of watch. There are several features that make a watch water-resistant. The gaskets are the most important, gaskets are basically o rings made of rubber, nylon or Teflon which form a watertight seal at the joints where the crystal, case back and crown meet the watch case. If a water-resistant watch has chronograph features these chronographs will have their own gaskets as well. Secondly, water-resistant watch cases are lined with a sealant which keeps water and moisture out.

Other features that contributed to water-resistance is the thickness and material of the case. Steel or titanium cases can resist the high pressure of deep waters. Solid gold cases can be water resistant if they are thick but likely will not be much use if you are looking to go deeper then the depth of your standard pool. Also, a case back that screws-in rather than one that pushes in contributes to a watch’s water resistance. Many divers’ watches have a screw-in crown that help prevent water from getting into the case through the watch-stem hole. When it is screwed down it forms a water tight seal.
One thing to keep in mind when purchasing a water-resistant watch is the manufacturer’s recommended depth is theoretical. For example a watch that is labeled “water-resistant to 50 meters,” will keep water out at 50 meters if both watch and water are perfectly motionless. Of course these conditions are never met in real life because the movement of the wearer’s arm through the water and the movement of the water increases the pressure on the watch dramatically. Don’t let this keep you from enjoying the pool or shower though, a watch labeled resistant to water for up to 50 meters is plenty safe for these activities.

Now if you are looking for a watch that can go into deeper depths without any damage you would seek out watches labeled with water-resistance of 100, 200 and even 1000 meters. A 100 meter watch can be used for snorkeling. A 200 meter watch is able to be worn while scuba diving and a 1,000  meter watch can go to depths of roughly three-fourths of a mile! 1,000 meter watches can endure the pressure of deep-sea diving easily. Some even have valves that allow the wearer to release gases that have seeped into the watch so the case is not damaged as the diver ascends to normal atmospheric conditions.

One vital piece of information to remember is that water resistance is not permanent. Gaskets can be damaged or misshapen, cases can be dented through normal use or crystals loosened or cracked. In order to preserve the water resistance of a watch you must be sure to do preventive maintenance. At least once a year you should take your watch in for service, so that it can be tested and ensure that their are no leaks.

-Carlos at Raymond Lee Jewelers

One of South Florida’s leading watch sellers.

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