Tomorrow marks the first day of summer, and with it comes a host of wonderful outdoor activities — most of which involve water. Before you dive in, make sure the watch on your wrist is ready to take the plunge with you.
Even though a watch may say it is water resistant, it may not be resistant enough — plain and simple. In order for a watch to be classified as water resistant — and to rate the depth to which it can be submerged — it has to undergo rigorous pressure tests. If your watch doesn't say water resistant, it isn't.
If the watch you are wearing says it is water resistant, it will typically have the depth to which it can be worn. It's important to note that watch brands use a number of methods to mark their watches for water resistance, including feet, meters, Bars and ATM (atmospheres). To simplify these terms, we offer some basic breakdowns:
1 Meter = 3 feet rounded (actual is 3.28 feet)
1 Bar = 33 feet rounded (actual is 33.455 feet)
1 ATM = 1 Bar or 33 feet rounded
No watch is water resistant to just three feet or 1 meter. Most will say 5 bar, 10 bar, 20 bar and up, for instance. You can find the markings denoting the water resistance of the watch either on the dial or on the caseback.
Generally, a good rule of thumb is if a watch isn't water resistant to at least 50 or 100 feet it shouldn't go in a pool. For instance, if a watch is water resistant to 30 feet, it may not have water-tight gaskets or screw-in crowns, and water could seep inside when the watch is exposed to pressure or direct flow. Our guidelines: We will swim with a watch that has a screw-in crown and is water resistant to at least 200 meters. We will dive with one that is resistant to at least 300 meters. Additionally, never operate the crown or try to set the watch while in the water or while it is wet.