Water-Resistance 101

water resistance

This chart (from the Oris product manual) is an accurate guideline of what you should and should not do with your watch according to it’s water-resistance rating


This is The Watchmaker’s advice/general rules of thumb on the topic of water-resistance:


  • If your watch is not marked water-resistant, don’t get it wet
  • If your watch has a rating of 50M or less, it should only be subject to accidental splash; hand washing, dishes, etc.  Do not intentionally submerge it
  • If your watch is rated 100M, it is suitable for surface swimming
  • If your watch is rated 200M, it is suitable for skin diving
  • If your watch is rated 300M or more, it is suitable for professional/SCUBA diving


The rating on your watch is not permanent- water is kept out of your watch by gaskets, and these gaskets deteriorate over time.  If you plan on getting your watch wet, it is a good idea to have the watch tested for water-resistance prior to submerging it. Make sure you bring your watch to a professional watchmaker that has the proper equipment to test your watch for water-resistance.


A final word from the shop owner (Dave)- I don’t care how much you spent on the watch, what the manufacturer says it’s capable of, how your cheap watch never leaks, what the original sales person said you could do with your watch, what the internet says you should be able to do with your watch….  I wouldn’t get any watch that I care about wet.

“Oh but Dave that’s not really fair/right I bought the watch for $2000 and it should be able to blah blah blah.”

Years of (non-stop) thousands of incoming repairs from EVERY brand full of water and rust, ALL of them marked water-resistant.  I’m a bit jaded I guess.  If you like your watch, take it off.