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What "water resistant" means
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Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
What "water resistant" means on 03/14/2010 13:54:02 MDT Print View

Here's some information that came up in another thread seems to me to be of broader interest. I don't know about you, but I found this to be counter-intuitive and misleading industry double-speak, even if "standardized".

When you get a watch, and I presume anything else watch-like (e.g. a heart rate monitor), the meaning of the term water resistant to xx meters is not intuitively obvious. Here is the actual meaning, according to the Wikipedia article Water Resistant mark. Paraphrasing the article:

Water Resistant xx meters/feet is an indication of the static test pressure that a sample of newly manufactured watches was exposed to. An indication of the test pressure in terms of water depth does not mean a water resistant watch was designed for repeated long-term use in such water depths. For example, a water resistant watch marked at 30 meters depth cannot be expected to withstand activity for longer time periods in a swimming pool, let alone continue to function at 30 meters under water. Testing Diving Watches is more rigorous.

Relevant standards are:

  • ISO 2281 water-resistant watches standard
  • ISO 6425 divers' watches standard
What the markings mean in plain English is counter-intuitive to many, so here are the meanings (according to the Wikipedia article).
Water Resistant to 30 meters

Suitable for everyday use. Splash/rain resistant. NOT suitable for swimming, snorkeling, water related work and fishing.

Water Resistant to 50 meters

Suitable for swimming, white water rafting. NOT suitable for snorkeling, water related work, and fishing.

Water Resistant to 100 meters

Suitable for recreational surfing, swimming, snorkeling, sailing and water sports.

Water Resistant to 200 meters

Suitable for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports.

See the article for the meaning of diver's watch ratings if you are interested.

Edited by blean on 03/14/2010 17:40:01 MDT.