Before you take your new watch anywhere near water, it is extremely important to know if it is water resistant or waterproof. There is a definite difference. Both water resistant and waterproof refer to how the watch was built to sustain exposure to water.

Water resistant typically means that it can withstand some moisture or water, such as rain or a splash from a kitchen sink while doing dishes. Water resistant watches, however, are not built to keep water out when they are completely submerged.

There are different levels of water resistance for watches. These levels are determined through a series of tests at the time they are built. Resistance levels can be deceiving though, as they don’t consider the other contributing factors of a watch being in water. These factors include:

· Pressure changes as a watch is repeatedly submerged under water, such as swimming.

· High temperatures of water like in a bath or hot tub.

· Sudden changes in temperature. Going from one extreme to the other in a short amount of time.

· Age of the watch. Seals may weaken and eventually fail with age.

For the most part, water resistant watches should be kept away from water as much as possible. Some people are under the impression that it is okay to shower with a water-resistant watch. However, soaps and shampoos can leave build up. Abrasive soaps can cause damage to the delicate parts of the watch.

For many years, water resistant watches were referred to as “waterproof.” This changed in the 1960’s when the Federal Trade Commission began to investigate watch manufacturers for misrepresentation. Now, watches must be proven to be 100% waterproof before they can be marketed and sold as such.

Waterproof watches are built to withstand water at a much higher level than a water-resistant watch. A waterproof watch can be completely submerged in water, and some can even withstand a very high level of pressure as well. These types of watches are popular with scuba divers and other water sports enthusiasts.

For those who are unsure about the level of water resistance in which their watch is equipped, it is best to consult an expert. Either ask the manufacturer directly or speak to someone with authority on watches. An expert will be able to tell with accuracy what your watch can withstand.

Unless you are confident about the water resistance of your watch, be very careful exposing it to any water at all.