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How To Determine If Your Watch Is Water-resistant

The watch industry has generally discarded the label "waterproof" as it is a false promise, even for professional diving watches. Due to the legal criteria established by the  International Organisation for Standardisation and the Federal Trade Commission, watchmakers must use the term water-resistant. With the sheer amount of components that make up a watch’s inner and outer workings, the dilemma for any professional within the industry is retaining water resistance even after watch repairs.  

As industry-leading jewellery restoration and repair specialists in Adelaide, watch repairs are one of our specialties. We can ensure water resistance with a specialised procedure known as water pressure testing. Keep reading to find out how it works. 

How Do Watches Become Water Resistant?

The crown, crystal, pushers and case back are the most likely entry points for water, although any externally-facing component of the watch could be the source of a leak. The solution is to maintain a water-tight seal. Even everyday watches are becoming more water-resistant thanks to CAD case fabrication, screw-tight crowns and rubber gaskets. 

A diving watch made for considerable depth is reinforced by stronger case components, heavier gasketing and a screw-in case back. In addition, a unique valve compensates for unexpected surges in internal pressure, which may implode a rapidly resurfacing watch. 

How Is the Water Resistance of Watches Rated?

A rating appears on the dial or case back of your water-resistant timepiece. The figure will be stated in feet, metres or atmospheres, which refers to your watch's maximum safe water depth. 

Ratings can start from 3ATM or 30m ‒ meaning the timepiece is sealed against rain, showering or swimming ‒ to 20ATM or 200m, meaning the watch is designed to withstand extreme watersports and freediving.

Diving watch ratings begin at 100m for scuba diving to 300 m, suitable for saturation diving and mixed gas diving. 

How Are Watches Tested For Water Resistance?

To test pressure, watchmakers or repair centres will use a machine that employs compressed air with a highly sensitive sensor to detect microscopic variations in the watch's size under high pressure, revealing whether or not the watch is water-tight. 

  • The first step is to insert the watch into the testing equipment and place the sensor onto the crystal. The sensor light will turn on after it is properly aligned and ready to begin testing.
  • Following the closure of the testing chamber, the procedure will begin. The space is filled with pressurised air pumped in via a compressor.
  • This is followed by a gradual compression of the watch. The test will commence after the chamber has reached the desired pressure and the watch has stabilised in its compressed position. 

If the watch's water resistance is guaranteed, it will maintain its compressed state for the duration of the test. A green light will appear if the watch can withstand water for an extended period. 

Watches are vulnerable to damage by high-pressure chamber air if any of their seals are compromised. When the internal and external pressures of the watches are equalised, the watches gradually return to their former size, which is detected by the sensor. When this happens, the machine displays a red light, meaning the watch has failed the test and needs reassessment. 

Your Trusted Adelaide Watch Repair Specialists

For fifty years, patrons have relied on Adelaide Jewellery Repair Specialists to bring their much-loved timepieces to life. Our team of skilled watchmakers can diagnose the problem with your timepiece and recommend the best course of action to fix it. 

We can assess and repair a watch's components, including the band, metal links, timekeeping mechanism, face scratches, battery, maintenance, pressure testing and more. You can trust our experienced watchmakers to repair even the most delicate timepieces with the utmost accuracy and care. Our watch repair services include: 

  • Water-resistant watch water pressure testing
  • Battery replacement
  • Replacement watchband for leather and metal bands
  • Scheduled timepiece services
  • Battery installation and replacement 

Looking to have your water-resistant timepiece repaired and pressure tested in Adelaide? Get in touch with Adelaide Jewellery Repair Specialists for watch repairs that are both top quality and affordable.