Difference between Water Resistant and Waterproof Watches
By Theydiffer - May 18, 2016

Watches are worn for different occasions and activities. Some are used to accessorize for casual wear or special events, while others are used for activities that involve direct contact with water. To understand water resistant and waterproof watches, a brief discussion of water resistance in watches would be a good start.


When a watch is water resistant, it simply means that it is protected from humidity. It can withstand light water splashes from the washing of hands or a little bit of rain, but definitely not submersion in water. Watches have several resistance classifications that allow wearers to identify where and how their watches can be used appropriately. Water resistant marks are usually found on the backs of watches to indicate how protected they are against water penetration. Water resistance ratings of 3 atm or 30 m up to 10 atm or 100 m allows for water-related activities of various limitations but cannot be used for diving. Atm or “atmospheres” here is the amount of pressure a watch can withstand without leaking. Only watches with water resistance ratings ranging from 20 atm or 200 m up to 300+m may be used for specific kinds of diving. So before going out to swim, surf, fish, or dive, it would be best to have your watch checked for an accurate reading of its water resistance level before exposing it to your chosen activity to prevent it from being damaged.

Water resistant vs Waterproof watches

So what is the difference between water resistant and waterproof watches? Actually, no watch is waterproof. As stated previously, there are several resistance classifications that help consumers identify when and where it is best to use their watches. Watches can be used according to different limitations based on their water resistance levels, which are usually stamped on the back. Some can survive light water splashes from rain, fishing, or a quick swim, while others are built for activities that involve water submersion such as diving. However, even those watches are not absolutely waterproof. The term “waterproof” simply seems to be used for watches that have higher water resistance levels.