How waterproof are waterproof watches?

First published: 25-10-2018

Men Citizen Skyhawk A-T Red Arrows titanium watch

Watch: Men Citizen Skyhawk A-T Red Arrows titanium watch (RRP £695 )

To work out how waterproof a watch is, you need to pay attention to phrasing. The way a watch’s anti-water qualities are described will clue you in on whether it’ll keep ticking after a dunk in the pool, or if it won’t survive a rinse in the shower.

Water resistance or water repellency?

Waterproof watches come in a variety of descriptions:
• Those described as water-resistant watches can stop the penetration of water to a certain degree, though not entirely. • Water-repellent timepieces have often been treated with a surface coating, making them more resistant to water penetration. • Truly waterproof watches are completely resistant to water.

Why automatic watches are often waterproof

WaterproofAutomatic watches are often waterproof because, unlike their quartz counterparts, they are not powered by a battery. That is, automatic watches use the natural motion of the wearer to wind the mechanical parts within. Thus, there is no battery within automatic watches for water – or water pressure – to tamper with!

Depth of water – it’s about pressure

Waterproof watches usually come with a marker denoting the depth of water they can be safely submerged in. This generally reflects how much water pressure or static pressure the watch can withstand. If the pressure applied to the watch becomes too great, its seals can break, allowing water to enter the watch and damage its inner workings.

Extreme sports watches: a holiday swim vs. scuba diving

While water-resistant watches can withstand splashes from rain and water-repellent watches can usually be used for swimming or fishing, it’s only waterproof watches that can withstand the intensity of high-impact watersports or diving.

As previously mentioned, this is because waterproof watches have been designed to withstand the extreme water pressure you might experience during scuba diving and watersports, and will have reinforced seals, unlike those that are merely water resistant or repellant.

Water vs. the strap

Straps on waterproof watches are usually made from materials such as rubber, silicon, nylon, and resin. This is so that they don’t tarnish or begin to break down or erode from the frequent wet conditions they might face, and so they remain comfortable for the wearer – a soggy webbed fabric strap is no fun.

It is also means they are particularly lightweight, which is important in timed sports, such swimming or diving. Heavier metals and leather, though sometimes used in waterproof watches, are more often used in timepieces not intended for watersports because they are both heavier and more susceptible to water damage.

4 great waterproof and water-resistant watches

1. Dive in at the deep end

Men’s Casio G-Shock alarm chronograph watch GA-100-1A1ER

Watch: Men’s Casio G-Shock alarm chronograph watch GA-100-1A1ER (RRP £110, our price £72 )

World-famous Japanese electronics company Casio has delivered an ideal timepiece for keen sportspeople and athletes that boasts 20 bar (200m) water resistancy: the G-Shock GA-100-1A1ER (RRP £110, our price £72).

Full to the brim with features, such as a countdown timer, five daily alarms, chronograph, world time, perpetual date and time function, LED backlight, and digital tachymeter, this watch will meet all your training needs – no matter the depths you like to train to.

With a sturdy rubber strap and double tang buckle for extra security, this Casio G-Shock watch is as resilient as they come and is suitable for all conditions on land or at sea.

2. Keep it cool poolside

Unisex Nixon The Medium Time Teller watch A1130-2626

Watch: Unisex Nixon The Medium Time Teller watch A1130-2626 (RRP £85)

Nixon is a Californian brand that is internationally renowned for creating beautiful, classic-modern watches that can withstand the commotion of an active lifestyle. Designed specifically for those who want to adventure – and look great while doing it – the Medium Time Teller watch (RRP £85) combines vintage chic with modern sensibilities.

The 100-metre water resistancy of this timepiece makes it great for swimming at the beach or in the pool and should happily survive watersports. The PVD gold plated case and bracelet combined with the understated deep green dial mean that, no matter where you’re hanging out, you’re guaranteed to look the part.

3. Train like a pro

Men’s Timex Indiglo Ironman alarm chronograph watch

Watch: Men’s Timex Indiglo Ironman alarm chronograph watch (RRP £59.99)

Designed specifically for those who want to train like pro athletes by monitoring and improving their performance, this Indiglo Ironman alarm chronograph watch(RRP £59.99) from Timex comes jam-packed with useful features.

Not only does the Indiglo Ironman come with an easily visible screen and a 50-lap memory, but it also features an Indiglo backlight, 100-metre water resistancy, a countdown timer, an interval timer, an alarm function, and a comfortable and hardwearing rubber strap.

Functional, purpose-built, and affordable, this watch is best for those who need a training buddy on a budget!

4. Soak up some technology

Unisex Davosa Apnea Diver Automatic watch

Watch: Unisex Davosa Apnea Diver Automatic watch (RRP £995)

The ultimate watch for serious divers and water sports aficionados, the Apnea Diver Automatic (RRP £995) from Davosa was designed to be perfect for freediving. Fortunately, it’s also a beautiful timepiece for the rest of us who don’t enjoy deep sea diving without water apparatus.

This unique timepiece combines a reliable Swiss SW 200 automatic movement with a water resistance of 20 ATM (ATM being a measurement of pressure equal to about 10 metres of depth), and features hands and figures coated with Super-LumiNova pigment, making it readable even in the worst underwater visibility.

The most crucial part of this watch to divers is the second hand, which bears a red tip, enabling exact reading of the seconds at all times. This waterproof, purpose-built timepiece is truly one of the best and most technologically advanced on the market.


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