Watches and Water: Do they ever Mix?


There are certain dos and don’ts that all watch owners should be aware of when it comes to water. Water and moisture can cause great problems for timepieces, but at the same time, some watches are advertised as water resistant.

So when does water work for watches and when does it become a worry?

When it’s a Worry: Unsuitable Wear

If at all possible, watches should never be worn around water, and should always be removed before washing, cleaning and swimming.

Even water resistant watches should be worn with some amount of care and caution. For example, they should not be worn in a hot bath or sauna as the heat will perish the seals and can lead to them requiring extensive repairs.

Similarly, if it is caught by a jet or pressure washer, this is the equivalent to a deep sea dive, and if the watch isn’t waterproof, the water could damage the timepiece beyond repair.

When it Works: Water Resistance

Certain watches are designed to be waterproof, whether to a lesser or greater degree. They will be designed with features such as water tight seals and a sturdy case. There are different levels of water resistance, however, and you should be aware of the following scale:

  • 3 BAR/98ft: suitable for everyday use and will withstand the odd accidental splash.
  • 5 BAR/164ft: everyday use plus swimming, but not jumping into the water or water sports.
  • 10 BAR/328ft: suitable for everyday use, swimming and snorkelling but not suitable for high board diving or sub-aqua diving.
  • 20 BAR/662ft: suitable for all high impact water sports and scuba diving which isn’t at a depth requiring helium gas
  • 30/80/130 BAR or 993/2648/4300ft: a professional diver’s watch which can be worn for all high impact water sports, scuba diving and saturation diving.

When it’s a Worry: Moisture and Condensation

Exposure to moisture and high humidity can lead to condensation collecting inside the watch face. If this happens, it can be tempting to use one of the supposed home remedies that circulate on the internet to rectify the problem, but these can actually lead to further issues.

The best thing to do if your watch does find itself the victim of condensation is to take it for professional repairs. To minimise the risk of loss, your safest option will be jewellery repairs on the premises. Woodford based customers can look to use EK Jewellers for any watch maintenance.

When it Works: Getting the Right Repairs

Watches do need a service from time to time and it’s always best to get this done by a jeweller that carries out repairs on their premises. This way you can be sure you’re your precious watch is safe and will not be sent away for repairs, which can lead to items being lost in transit.

Remember that regardless of whether a watch is waterproof or not, once a watch has been opened, it can lead to it being unlikely to be waterproof again in the future. Any maintenance required should therefore be carried out by a trained professional who offers jewellery repairs on the premises. Ilford customers can trust in EK Jewellers for an experienced, professional service.


Posted on by Ian Tubby.