Why Is My Watch Is No Longer Water Resistant?

Written by: Maz P
Updated on:
Diving With a Watch

For many watch wearers, water resistance is a crucial feature that ensures durability and longevity in all conditions. However, it is natural that even the most resilient watches may experience a loss of water resistance over time. This could lead to potential water damage and decreased performance which may have you wondering why your watch has suddenly lost water resistance. There are many common causes of a watch losing its water resistance as well as many steps that can be taken to prevent and address this issue. From everyday wear and tear to improper maintenance and aging gaskets, by understanding the signs of diminishing water resistance, watch enthusiasts can safeguard their timepieces and prolong their lifespan.

What are the Signs of a Watch Losing Water Resistance?

There are many reasons why a watch can lose its water resistance but firstly, you need to identify if your timepiece has. The most common indication of a timepiece losing its water resistance is condensation forming inside the watch case. This condensation occurs when water penetrates the watch’s seals or gaskets and clearly shows a breach in its water-resistant barrier.

Similar to condensation, another telltale sign is a foggy appearance on the watch crystal, particularly after immersion in water or exposure to high humidity. This fogging occurs when moisture seeps into the watch case due to compromised water-resistant properties.

Corrosion or rust may also develop on internal components, however, in most cases, you will be aware of condensation or fogging long before it gets to this stage. Plus, if the watch exhibits any signs of erratic behavior after exposure to water, such as irregular timekeeping, it may be an indicator that water is affecting its performance.

Being aware of these signs is crucial for preserving the water resistance of a watch and addressing the issue quickly.

Why is my Watch no Longer Water-resistant?

Discovering that your watch is no longer water resistant can be concerning and understanding the reason why your watch may no longer be water resistant can help pinpoint the cause. This can make it easier to restore the watch’s water resistance and prevent further issues.

Seals and Gaskets

The most common reason for a watch losing its water resistance is wear and tear on the seals and gaskets that form the watertight barrier. Over time, these rubber or silicone components degrade due to exposure to environmental factors such as heat and humidity. As they deteriorate, they become less effective and result in a loss of water resistance. Additionally, exposing the watch to extreme temperatures or pressure changes, such as wearing it in hot tubs or saunas, can stress the seals and gaskets.

Case Damage

Physical damage to the case, crystal, or crown can compromise the integrity of the watch’s water-resistant seals. Cracks or scratches in the case or crystal can create pathways for water to infiltrate. A poorly-fitting crown may also allow moisture to seep into the case.

Irregular or Improper Servicing

Improper maintenance or irregular servicing can also contribute to the loss of water resistance in a watch. Gaskets and seals need to be replaced regularly whilst the rest of the timepiece should be checked over. Servicing is the easiest way to manage the lifespan of your watch’s water resistance level. Additionally, any maintenance that is not completed carefully may also impact the water resistance. Performing repairs without properly resealing the case can leave gaps that compromise the watch’s water resistance.

Aging

As a watch ages, many of its parts naturally deteriorate over time. Even new water resistant watches may lose their capability as they age. This is why it is so important to have your watch regularly serviced to replace any aging parts and keep the timepiece in top condition.

How can I Restore a Watch’s Water Resistance?

Restoring a watch’s water resistance requires careful attention to its components and proper maintenance to ensure that the seals and gaskets are functioning effectively.

Use Absorbents

At the first sign of fogging or condensation, it is important to try and absorb as much moisture as possible. Uncooked rice is renowned for effectively drawing out moisture, however, silica gel and cat litter also perform a similar job. Just be careful that the absorbent you use is not going to scratch or damage the watch case. Leave the watch for a minimum of 24 hours to allow it time to absorb as much moisture as possible.

Take Your Watch in for Repair ASAP

As soon as your watch shows any signs that it has lost water resistance, make sure it gets repaired as soon as possible. The longer the timepiece is left with diminished water resistance, the more damage can occur. A prompt repair is the best way to save your watch from further issues.

Change the Seals and Gaskets

If you are an experienced watchmaker and feel comfortable performing repairs yourself, you can change the seals and gaskets to ensure the timepiece is water tight. Once this has been carried out, you will want to pressure test the watch to ensure the water resistance has been restored.

How can I Prevent a Watch from Losing Water Resistance?

Prevention is the best cure and keeping an eye on your timepiece’s water resistance is the best way to protect it.

Frequently Inspect the Seals and Gaskets

Make sure to regularly examine the seals and gaskets of the watch for signs of wear, damage or deterioration. Look for cracks, tears, or any deformation in the rubber or silicone components that form the watertight barrier. If any seals or gaskets appear to be compromised, they should be replaced.

Pressure Test the Watch

You can perform a pressure test on your watch to verify its water resistance. If you are a watchmaker or dedicated horologist, you can purchase a watch pressure tester to add to your watchmaking toolkit. Alternatively, a professional watchmaker can conduct a pressure test for you.

Watch Pressure Testing Tool Watch Pressure Testing Tool
$139.99 ($139.99 / Count)
Pressure Test Range: 0.3 - 6.0 bar
04/30/2024 05:42 pm GMT

Regular Servicing

To maintain the watch’s water resistance over time, it is essential to perform regular maintenance and servicing. This ensures that damaged seals and gaskets are regularly replaced while the timepiece is also checked over for any damage that may also impact its water resistance. The watch should be professionally serviced by a qualified watchmaker on a regular basis to ensure that it remains in optimal condition.

Abide by the Level of Water Resistance

Watches have different levels of water resistance and it is important that you don’t disobey this level. Most modern watches now have a basic level of water resistance, however, this applies to splashes and humidity rather than water immersion. Unless a watch is 10 bar or more, you should not take it swimming. The greater the water resistance level, the more pressure the timepiece can handle. Always make sure that your watch has an appropriate water resistance level for the activity.

By following these steps and practicing proper watch care and maintenance, you can help maintain your watch’s water resistance.

Why is My Watch is No Longer Water Resistant FAQs

The best way to check your watch’s water resistance is to have a pressure test carried out. You can do this at home with your own machine or take it to a professional watchmaker who can also carry out a pressure test.

With regular maintenance, water-resistant watches have a long life span. They should be pressure tested every year and seals should be regularly replaced.

100M or 10 bar is the minimum water resistance you should have to swim. Anything below this is suitable to withstand splashes and humidity only.

If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.

AUTHOR

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I started WatchmakingTools to share my passion and knowledge with those already bitten by the watchmaking bug. I’ve often spent hours searching online for answers on a specific issue, and even though there is a wealth of information out there, it hasn’t always been very useful, hence why I wanted to share my own findings.

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