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