Automatic watches, also known as self-winding watches, are a popular style of mechanical watch that winds itself using an internal rotor that rotates with the natural motions of the wearer's wrist. Many luxury watch brands offer stainless steel automatic watch models. One appealing feature of some automatic watches is their water resistance and waterproof rating, making them suitable for swimming, snorkeling, or other water activities. However, there are some common misconceptions and myths surrounding waterproof automatic watches. In this blog post, we will debunk 7 of the most common myths about waterproof automatic watches.
Myth 1: An automatic watch is inherently waterproof
While some automatic watches are waterproof, being an automatic watch does not automatically make a watch waterproof. The water resistance capabilities of a watch are dependent on the case, crown, and gasket construction, along with strict testing procedures. Some automatic watches have very poor water resistance while others are highly water resistant to depths of 300m or more. You cannot assume an automatic watch is waterproof - you have to specifically look for timepieces with a high water resistance rating. There are in fact lot of things that you need to consider while choosing automatic watches for the hassle free usage over a long period of time. Afterall a watch is not just a watch, it is a souvenir that is cherished for long.
Myth 2: Automatic waterproof watches should not be worn in the shower
This myth emerged because soap and shampoo can damage watch gaskets over time. However, modern waterproof automatic watches are designed to resist hot water and soaps. As long as the watch has at least a basic 3ATM/30m water resistance rating, there is no issue wearing it for showering, swimming, or bathing. However, care should be taken to avoid hitting the watch against hard surfaces that could compromise water sealing. Bastion’s stainless steel automatic watch is specifically designed to withstand the water pressure of daily use.
Myth 3: Any waterproof watch can be worn for scuba diving
Water resistance ratings are not all created equal when it comes to the high pressures encountered while scuba diving. Although a watch may be water resistant to 200m or 300m, it does not mean it is suitable for the intense water pressure experienced at those depths. Only watches specifically engineered for diving, marked as professional diver's watches, have the required waterproof rating for scuba diving. Wearing a standard waterproof watch for diving risks leakage, flooding, and watch damage.
Myth 4: Automatic waterproof watches never need waterproof testing
It's a good idea to have the water resistance on any automatic watch tested every few years. Gaskets and seals can slowly deteriorate with daily wear and exposure to dust, sweat, soaps, and natural skin oils. Taking your waterproof automatic watch for periodic water resistance testing ensures it still meets factory specifications. This is advised for any watch worn frequently in or around water.
Myth 5: Screw-down crowns make a watch completely waterproof
A screw-down crown can improve water resistance but does not make a watch 100% waterproof, especially to significant depths. To achieve robust waterproof ratings for diving and swimming, the whole watch case, crystal, and gaskets need to be engineered to resist water penetration under pressure. A screw-down crown helps improve water resistance slightly, but other factors are more important. Some watches with a screw-down crown still only have basic water resistance while others with a push/pull crown have excellent waterproofing due to their case and gasket construction.
Myth 6: Automatic waterproofs should be opened up for cleaning
While an automatic movement needs occasional maintenance like cleaning and lubricating, this should only be performed by a qualified watchmaker. Amateur opening of the watch case can easily damage gaskets, compromising water resistance. It's preferable to have an authorized dealer handle any internal servicing and maintenance to make sure waterproofing is retained.
Myth 7: Getting an automatic waterproof watch severely wet ruins it forever
Many people think water damage ruins an expensive stainless steel automatic watch forever, but often it can be repaired by an expert watchmaker. Unless the moisture damage is severe, the movement can usually be disassembled, cleaned, dried, re-lubricated, and reassembled by someone skilled in watch repair. Any degraded gaskets and seals will be replaced. This restores waterproofness and performance. So while it's still best to keep automatics water-free, occasional moisture exposure doesn't necessarily permanently destroy them.
Waterproof automatic watches are designed to withstand wet environments during swimming, showering, water sports, and more. However, there are common misconceptions about how waterproofing works. Not every automatic is waterproof, water resistance has limits for diving, and periodic maintenance is still required. By debunking these myths, you can have accurate expectations about using an automatic watch around water. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines, get periodic water resistance testing, and you can confidently use your automatic watch worry-free.