Hamilton Khaki

Article By: Logan Hannen

What is up, watchfam?! Today, we’re going to take a look at water resistance, waterproofness (a word that Google didn’t underline as being wrong so I’m using it), and just how reliable that cute little number on the dial or caseback really is.

Before we get too far into it, let’s get something out of the way that I think will help a lot of you with this question. Ready? I’m gonna blow your mind.

NO WATCH CAN BE TOTALLY WATERPROOF!

Boom! I said it. Before anyone gets all uppity, though, let me explain: waterproof, the idea, implies that no matter what you do shy of breaking the thing, water will not be able to get into the watch. In 99.99% of cases, this simply isn’t true of watches. Even super impressive diver’s watches suffer from one, fundamental flaw: they have a crown.

The crown and its stem create an entry point for water to infiltrate the otherwise magnificent dry innards of your timepiece. With a diver’s watch, you of course have a screw in crown, something that is designed to keep the water out of the watch. If you forget to lock the crown back into place, in most watches this spells certain doom for your water resistance rating. Are there some pieces that have actually designed the crown to counteract this? I’m sure (super compressors are an example of a piece with a crown that doesn’t screw down that maintain high water resistance). Ultimately though, the more holes the case has, the less water resistance it’s likely to have.

But there is a bigger issue at play. Your watch’s water resistance rating isn’t so much an assessment of how much water it can take as it is an evaluation of its ability to withstand the pressures (literally!) of being underwater. Once you are submerged, the pressure changes from your standard air pressure, increasing pretty significantly even just below the surface of the water. It is this increase in pressure that the water resistance is really measuring; in other words, how much can your watch take before it totally implodes (or explodes, depending on the pressure really).

Water resistance is usually measured in intervals, such that you typically see something like 50 meters rather than 63.45 meters or some other odd number. It also varies greatly depending on the type of watch you have. Dress watches tend to have lower ratings than dive watches because the odds of encountering depths of water at, say, a black tie event or wedding are pretty slim (unless the wedding is Aquaman themed, that is). Still, this can be a useful bit of information to have when it comes time to make a purchase decision. And if you do decide that water resistance is important to you, make sure that its listed water resistance is supported by some of the things we discussed here today. And perhaps most importantly, remember to keep it classy, watchfam.