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How Water Resistant Is Your Watch? And Can You Really Wear It In The Pool?

With summer here, we are all out enjoying water sports and just indulging in swimming. But is the watch on your wrist ready to get wet with you?

Interestingly enough, even though a watch may say it is water resistant, it may not be resistant enough to be protected from simple things like taking a shower, let alone jumping into the deep end of that swimming pool.

To be deemed water resistant, a watch is subjected to certain pressure tests. Watches with no water resistance markers are NOT tested and should not be worn in water.


Watch brands use a number of methods to mark their watches for water resistance. These include meters, feet, Bars and ATM (atmospheres). The breakdown equates as follows:

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

You can find the markings (if there are any) for a water resistant watch either on the dial or on the caseback. Of course, no watch will say it is water resistant to just 1 meter, but many watches do offer some water resistance.


Even if a watch is water resistant to 30 feet, it still doesn’t mean you should shower with it or even swim with it. Often these watches do not have water-tight gaskets or screw-in crowns, and water can seep inside when they are exposed to pressure or direct flow.

Watches that are water resistant to 100 meters can be used in water sports, but not for diving. Furthermore, one should never operate the crown or try to set the watch while in the water or while it is wet.

A good rule of thumb is to swim with a watch that has a screw-in crown and is water resistant to at least 200 meters. Dive with one that is resistant to at least 300 meters.