Is it OK to swim with a watch?

May 31, 2023

watch at pool

As a watch aficionado and the owner of Watch Box, I often get asked whether it's safe to swim while wearing a watch. To be clear, the suitability of a watch for swimming largely depends on its water-resistance rating. Watches with low water resistance are designed to withstand minor water splashes, such as those experienced while washing hands or getting caught in a brief downpour.

However, these watches should never be worn while swimming or bathing. Water is a formidable adversary for a watch, particularly those without adequate water resistance.

To swim with a watch without risking damage, you should ensure your watch has a sufficient water resistance rating, typically of 10 ATM (atmospheres) or higher. 

An ATM is a standard measure of pressure used in watchmaking. A 10 ATM rated watch is resistant to water pressure up to 100 meters or around 330 feet, making it suitable for swimming or snorkeling.

Can I Shower with My Watch On?

Showering with your watch isn't recommended, regardless of the water resistance rating. The reason? Personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, and conditioners can be highly corrosive to the delicate components of a watch. The chemicals found in these products can gradually degrade the rubber gaskets that help maintain the watch's water resistance.

If your watch accidentally comes into contact with soap or a similar substance, it's crucial to rinse it off with fresh water and dry it as quickly as possible. Remember, taking care of your watch is essential to preserving its functionality and longevity.

Just How Waterproof is a Watch?

Understanding the concept of water resistance in watches can sometimes be challenging, but it's crucial for any watch owner. The water resistance rating of a watch gives an indication of the level of water pressure the watch can withstand.

For example, a watch with a water resistance of 1 ATM can survive exposure to water at a depth of roughly 10 meters, but it's only really suitable for light splashes, not full immersion. On the other hand, a watch with a 30 ATM rating can resist water pressure at a depth of approximately 300 meters, making it suitable for most water activities, including deep-sea diving.

Watch your water resistance !

However, it's essential to remember that these ratings apply to static pressure under lab conditions. The actual water pressure a watch encounters while you're swimming or diving is higher due to arm movement and rapid changes in depth.

Finally, for the thrill-seekers out there who enjoy extreme activities like a cold plunge, a watch with high water resistance is an absolute necessity. The last thing you want is for your adventure to be spoiled by a water-damaged watch. After all, in both horology and extreme sports, being prepared is always the best strategy!

Please note that even the highest rated water-resistant watches should have their water resistance checked and seals replaced every few years, especially if they are often exposed to water. This maintenance helps ensure the watch stays as water-resistant as when it was first made.

Remember, every watch has its own personality and specifications. Make sure to treat your timepiece with the respect it deserves, and it will serve you faithfully for years to come.