Are Quartz Watches Waterproof?

Some Quartz Watches Are Waterproof

Nearly all quartz watches sold today have some level of resistance to water.  That resistance may be to a light rain only, or it may be to high pressure hundreds of meters under the sea.  Thankfully, all but the cheapest watches will be inscribed with the level of water resistance for that particular watch.

Are Watches Water Proof. Watch displayed in puddle of water.
Are Watches Water Proof? Check the marks on your watch.

This information may be found anywhere on the watch, but it is commonly engraved on the back.  It may also be on the watch interface itself or on a bevel surrounding the watch face.

Depending on the country-of-origin and the brand of watch, manufacturers have different symbols for Water Resistance.

Do any of these symbols answer the question “Are quartz watches waterproof”?  Yes!

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Origin of the Watch

The most common indicator symbols are BAR, ATM, and M.

M equals “meters” of water depth.

Each BAR equals the air pressure on Earth at sea level, and also 10 meters of depth under water.  Therefore 2 BAR = 20 meters of depth.

Each ATM (or “Atmosphere”) is also equal to the air pressure on Earth as seal level, and also 10 meters of depth under water.  Therefore 2 ATM = 20 meters of depth.

Although BAR and ATM are calculated differently and have slightly different values, they are considered the same for the purpose of watch ratings.

Water Resistance Labeling Details:

1 ATM:  Only the very lowest end watches are 1 ATM, and it is typically not marked on the watch – these watches are not even resistant to rain or hand washing.  Toy watches, free watches, and plastic watches may be in this category.

Type 1: 30M, 3ATM, 3BAR (or only written as “Water Resistance”) –  Watches have only water resistant for hand washing or raining weather.  Most fashion watches are rated to 30M.  Should not be worn in the shower or around steam.

Type 1 30M Watches are ok in rainy weather. Young Person holding umbrella and checking watch. Person is wearing raincoat, has bleached stylish hair.
Type 1 30M Watches can withstand rainy weather

Type 2: 50M, 5ATM, 5BAR – Watches are usually used in swimming, river diving (not used in snorkeling or water sports ).  You need a 50M watch to wear in the shower.

Type 3: 100M, 10 ATM, 10BAR – Watches are used in swimming, snorkeling, water diving, scuba diving down to 100 meters.  At this level, a watch begins to be considered as genuinely Water Proof.

Type 2 (50m) and Type 3 (100m) Watches are ok for swimming. Woman in orange bathing suite in blue water of swimming pool checking watch
Type 2 (50m) and Type 3 (100m) Watches are ok for swimming

Type 4: 200M, 20ATM, 20BAR – Watches can be used for all aquatic activity, including complex water sports, down to 200 meters.

Type 4 (200M) Watches for Snorkeling. Man and two kids snorkeling in bright blue water surrounded by colorful fish.
Type 4 (200M) Watches Can be used for Snorkeling

Diving Watch:  Diving watches (or Diver’s watches) are marked DIVER’S or DIVER’S WATCH followed by the meters of depth that the watch is rated for.  In 1996, the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) published ISO 6425 which is a complex series of criteria and tests that a watch must meet and pass in order to be marked as a Diver’s watch.  While Dive Computer’s are becoming more common, Diver’s Watches are still popular among aviators, military divers, collectors, watersports participants and outdoors enthusiasts.

Conclusion

Thanks to markings on your watch, you can easily define which water resistance level your watch has.  Most quartz watches on the market now have water resistance ranging from 30M to 50M.

The answer to the question “Are quartz watches waterproof” is that it depends on what you are doing while you wear the watch!  Thankfully there is a fairly standardized system of markings that let you know what you can and can’t do with any particular watch, as covered in detail above.

Please check out these amazing, well reviewed yet moderately priced dive watches:

Brand
Seiko
Red/Blue Bezel
Seiko
Seiko
Citizen
300M
Citizen
Seiko SKX007J1 Analog Japanese-Automatic Black Rubber...
Seiko Divers Automatic Blue Dial Men's Watch
SEIKO Prospex"Turtle" Save The Ocean Diver's 200M Automatic...
Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch,...
Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch,...
Model
Seiko SKX007J1 Analog Japanese-Automatic Black Rubber...
Seiko Divers Automatic Blue Dial Men's Watch
SEIKO Prospex"Turtle" Save The Ocean Diver's 200M Automatic...
Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch,...
Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch,...
Model Number
SKX007J1
SKX009J1
SRPD21K1
BN0150-28E
BJ8050-08E
Movement
Japan 21 Jewels Automatic Self-Winding Movement (Caliber 7S36)
Japan 21 Jewels Self Winding Automatic Movement (Caliber 7S26)
Automatic
Light Powered Eco Drive
Light Powered Eco Drive
Face
Luminous Hands and Markers on Black
Rotating Blue And Red bezel With Blue Face
Blue Dial with Luminous Hands
Luminous Hands on Black Face
Elapsed Time Bezel; Luminous Hands and Markers on Black Face
Band
Black Rubber
Black Rubber
Stainless Steel
Black Rubber
Reinforced Urethane
Water Resistance Depth
200 Meters
200 Meters
200 Meters
200 Meters
300 Meters
ASIN
B000RF6QRY
B000RF6QT2
B07S6LSYRT
B016R90VBK
B000EQU15O
Brand
Seiko
Seiko SKX007J1 Analog Japanese-Automatic Black Rubber...
Model
Seiko SKX007J1 Analog Japanese-Automatic Black Rubber...
Model Number
SKX007J1
Movement
Japan 21 Jewels Automatic Self-Winding Movement (Caliber 7S36)
Face
Luminous Hands and Markers on Black
Band
Black Rubber
Water Resistance Depth
200 Meters
ASIN
B000RF6QRY
Red/Blue Bezel
Brand
Seiko
Seiko Divers Automatic Blue Dial Men's Watch
Model
Seiko Divers Automatic Blue Dial Men's Watch
Model Number
SKX009J1
Movement
Japan 21 Jewels Self Winding Automatic Movement (Caliber 7S26)
Face
Rotating Blue And Red bezel With Blue Face
Band
Black Rubber
Water Resistance Depth
200 Meters
ASIN
B000RF6QT2
Brand
Seiko
SEIKO Prospex"Turtle" Save The Ocean Diver's 200M Automatic...
Model
SEIKO Prospex"Turtle" Save The Ocean Diver's 200M Automatic...
Model Number
SRPD21K1
Movement
Automatic
Face
Blue Dial with Luminous Hands
Band
Stainless Steel
Water Resistance Depth
200 Meters
ASIN
B07S6LSYRT
Brand
Citizen
Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch,...
Model
Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch,...
Model Number
BN0150-28E
Movement
Light Powered Eco Drive
Face
Luminous Hands on Black Face
Band
Black Rubber
Water Resistance Depth
200 Meters
ASIN
B016R90VBK
300M
Brand
Citizen
Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch,...
Model
Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch,...
Model Number
BJ8050-08E
Movement
Light Powered Eco Drive
Face
Elapsed Time Bezel; Luminous Hands and Markers on Black Face
Band
Reinforced Urethane
Water Resistance Depth
300 Meters
ASIN
B000EQU15O

Further reading:

A Concise History of the Quartz Watch Revolution