How to get condensation out of a watch has been an issue since there have been watches.
Sometimes the moisture seems to be from nowhere, and sometimes you may know that you exposed your watch to a bit too much water or moisture. Either way, the question of how to defog a watch becomes an important one!
We will cover some causes of condensation in watches, some preventative measures, and three tried and true methods for how to get moisture out of a watch.
- Why is My Watch Getting Condensation?
- Methods on how to defog watch crystal
- What water-resistant ratings really mean for your watch?
- When should you consult watch professionals?
- How to prevent condensation from happening?
- Bottom Line
Why is My Watch Getting Condensation?
There are a few common causes for condensation in watches:
Drastic swings in temperature
This happens most frequently during the winter.
You leave your cozy home with your watch filled with nice warm air. Once outside, the temperature of your watch and the air within it drop. Cooler air holds less moisture than warmer air. So, as the house temperature air cools toward the outdoor temperature, water vapor in the air is released as condensation.
A crack in the glass
Once your glass has even a tiny crack, the moisture in the air will get into your watch, causing fog and condensation. This can also lead to corrosion in your wach.
A failed water-resistant seal
A less likely culprit is that the water resistant seal in your watch is damaged or out of place. Unless your watch is very old, you would probably have had to drop or strike your watch for this to be the case.
A plunge into the deep
If you exposed your watch to more water or deeper water than it is designed for, condensation and mist are certain to follow.
No water-resistant qualification
Most watches are water resistant to some extent. However, if yours isn’t, even washing your hands may cause the dreaded fog to appear in your watch.
Methods on how to defog watch crystal
The most obvious way to solve your mist issue is to take the watch to a watchmaker. Assuming you don’t want to spend the time or money on that, here are a few sure to work DIY solutions:
Absorb the fog with a bed of rice/artificial desiccants
On top of artificial desiccants such as silica and cat litter, a bowl of rice is conventionally the handiest when it comes to a case of emergency watch mist removal. Historically, rice has normally been used for dehydrating camera equipment and preventing salt shaker clumping.
Among all kinds of rice, the instant branch is more commonly adopted in terms of moisture-wicking than uncooked rice, as it produces better results with its already dried state of preservation.
Simply place your watch into a ziploc bag or similar item with some rice. Leave the watch in the rice for a day or two and your watch should be dry.
Note that for some watches, the crown will need to be removed. Please refer to documentation for your particular watch to learn how to remove the crown.
In the same fashion, you can leave the crown into a small container of silica gel or cat litter for a while to get the fog off your watch.
Get the mist out of your watch under direct sunlight
Simply laying your watch in the sun for a few hours might also fix a foggy watch face.
Depending on the design, removing the crown may help speed this process up a bit.
Warm the foggy watches with alternative sources of heat
The sun doesn’t shine brightly every day, so how to remove moisture out of a watch in the winter or on cloudy days?
The whole point of laying a foggy watch under the sun is to dry its face and crystal by heat. So to replace sunlight, we must find other controllable artificial heat sources.
The safest alternative will you find to substitute sunlight is a desk lamp. It radiates a considerable level of warmth, so simply shine the lamp on the crystal of your watch.
A blow dryer may also work, but this typically requires you to spend time on the task, rather than simply leaving the watch under a lamp. On the lowest setting, aim the hair dryer at the back of the watch. Using a hair dryer may not be quick!
What water-resistant ratings really mean for your watch?
There’s little transparency in interpreting water resistance ratings at the back of your watch.
If your watch indicates that it is water resistant to 50 meters, you may think that you could go diving with that watch. You would be wrong.
In fact, the official guidance for watches certified to 50 meters water resistance is to keep even just swimming to a minimum! You also can’t shower in warm water with a watch rated to 50 meters. The whole watch water resistance system is mostly marketing.
For regular swimming, you need a watch rated to 100 meters water resistance.
The funniest one to me is that a watch rated to 30 meters water resistance actually means “splash resistant” in the industry – meaning that you will probably be okay if you wash your hands!
Water Resistance True Meaning:
- 30 meters (3 bars/ATM): Resist against hand-washing, water splashes, and a drizzle.
- 50 meters (5 bars/ATM): Resist against heavy rain.
- 100 meters (10 bars/ATM): Resist against water sports like swimming or snorkeling.
- 200 meters (20 bars/ATM): Resist against deep diving.
Be safe with your watch. Unless you spent a lot of money on a dive watch, keep it out of water.
When should you consult watch professionals?
As mentioned earlier, condensation may be the result of a serious issue with your watch. If your watch is valuable, monetarily or otherwise, make sure to take it to a watchmaker if condensation recurs frequently.
A wristwatch, no matter the movement type, is a piece of finely designed and manufactured machinery. Only a watchmaker should take your watch apart or attempt to diagnose problems.
How to prevent condensation from happening?
You aren’t going to live your life to avoid watch condensation.
No problem. The solution to avoiding mist in your watch is to buy a watch with a water resistance above anything you are likely to need. I would recommend 50 meters water resistance at a minimum so that rain and hand washing are never an issue. If you might find yourself washing a car or a dog, go with 100 meters water resistance.
Its better to understand the true meaning of the watch industry’s marketing gibberish about water resistance than to be stuck in a cycle of having to buy a new watch every few years.
Condensation, no matter how thick or thin the fog and mist inside your watch covers, needs to be dealt with. Not only because of your enjoyment of your watch, but because corrosion is certain to occur if you leave the moisture trapped in your watch.
The best way to maintain your watch and stop as many incidents for moisture to enter your watch face as possible is to be aware of what water-resistant value it’s intended for. The easiest way to do this is to always buy watches with at least 50 meters water resistance.
If our DIY methods above don’t work for you, or if the problem recurs frequently, make sure to use the services of a professional watch maker.
The next time you are wondering how to get condensation out of a watch, try the ideas above first.
Related: Two Great Dive Watches