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How do I know if my watch is waterproof?

Reloj resistente al agua

More and more people than ever before are interested in how their watch performs underwater and which watches are apt for water sports. Previously we were happy to know if our watch was water-proof but nowadays, we want to know all the minute details and sometimes the instruction manuals don’t answer all of our queries.

On some watches you will see numbers such as WR 30 metres, referring to water resistancy but what does this really mean?

Here, we give you some key pointers to inform you of how your watch works..

Are all Water Resistant watches really Waterproof?

When a watch is classified as Water Resist or Waterproof this means that it has been tested and that it is indeed water resistant. Even so, there is a ‘but’. There are different levels of water resistance and not all watches can withstand the same pressure underwater.

This type of watch has been tested for 30 minutes 1 metre under water. This means that any longer or deeper can damage (or maybe not) the watch. It is better not to take the risk.

On the other hand, if the manufacturer doesn’t mention whether the watch is waterproof or not it is advisable not to get the watch wet.

WR 30 metres

What does WR 30 metres actually mean? Most people think this number is the depth in metres a watch can endure underwater but, in fact it isn’t that. To find out this number, tests are carried out using special facilites.

Here, there are no pressure or extreme temperature changes. Therefore, the experts measure depth only and establish instructions based on these experiments.

So, how to we find out the real meaning of these numbers? Here, we show you a list featuring the most common numbers. This list can also be found in your instruction manual and it will help you learn a little more about water resistance in watches.

What does atm stand for?

  • Water Resistant: Water proof. Only resistant to small splashes.
  • WR 30 m / 3 atm: Resistant to accidental splashes, rain, sweat. Not suitable for showering.
  • WR 50 m / 5 atm: Suitable for surfaace swimming and showering.
  • WR 100 m / 10 atm: Suitable for diving at shallow depths not scuba diving.
  • WR 200 m / 20 atm: Suitable for scuba diving at depths.

Professional Diver 1000 meters

There are specific watches that can withstand great pressures and depths. These are marked WR 1000 m and are designed for specific professional use underwater.


Besides all of the above, your watch will only be water resistant under the manufacturer’s specifications and if it has never been opened. Once it has been opened for a battery change for example this water resistance is not guaranteed.

That’s the reason you allways have to change the battery and get your watch serviced on your Professional watchmaker and tell them that is going to be used underwater.

This is the only way that the necessary maintenace and tests will be done that will guarantee your watch continues to be water resistant.

Automatic watches vs battery watches

In case you are going to use a watch underwater automatic watches or watches with infinite charge such as Citizen eco drive watches which are solar powered are ideal for use as aquatic watches, due to the fact that there is no need for a battery change. They always have the manufacturer’s sealing.

As you can see, it is sometimes necessary to inquire a little more about the objects we buy. If, on your next holiday you are gong skiing or if you are lucky enough to go somewhere warm where you can go for a swim in the sea, do some research on your watch. By doing this you will avoid nasty surprises.

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