Water Resistance and Your Luxury Watch (Part One)

From 5 ATM to 15 ATM — what do these numbers mean to your watch? Because all you really want to know is if it can get wet, right?! Let’s talk water resistance.


Most new luxury watches come equipped with some water resistance, and whether they can handle a couple of splashes or can be worn on the beach, will all depend on their water resistance rating.


What’s in a number? When it comes to water resistance and your timepiece, a lot actually! At Craig Shelly, we craft unique and dapper luxury watches that can be worn in the boardroom and on your surfboard! Get into the nitty-gritty of water resistance in today’s post.


How confident are you in your watch’s water resistance? Let’s explore it!

Water Resistance and Your High-End Watch


If you’ve been culling the Craig Shelly watch collections, you may have come across all sorts of water resistance numbers, or ATMs. What do these numbers really mean?


The ATM rating on our watches refers to the fixed amount of pressure they can withstand. The pressure arises when we’re in or near the water, whether it be swimming or standing in the shower. The ATM does not, however, denote the depth to which a watch can be worn.

Most luxury watches are water resistant but not to be worn in the water for an extended time.

An ATM as a unit of measurement stands for atmosphere, and one atmosphere is equal to about 30 feet.


Most luxury watches are water-resistant, but not waterproof — they were designed to withstand some water, but most can’t be worn for swimming laps or extended water exposure.


Water, as most watchmakers can vouch for, is the enemy — seals can fail and cause water to flood your watch, not a great situation. 

Can a luxury watch be waterproof?


There are no high-end watches that are completely, 100% waterproof. The running definition of waterproof is that the watch can’t leak and that water can permeate the case and affect the movement.


Because there is always a chance that water could permeate, most luxury watches are not labeled as waterproof.  


But, what about diving and swimming watches?


Diving and swimming watches are typically categorized as between 200 and 1,000 ATM, so they can be used underwater and have additional durability. These very specific watches have a screw-down crown that increases their water resistance.


Your Watch And The Water


Earlier we mentioned how water is your watch’s worst enemy, so let’s get into that a little more.


How long does the water-resistance last?


When you invest in a luxury watch, you’re investing in a watch that you want to last a lifetime and possibly be passed down as an heirloom — in short, it needs to last. So, does a water resistance last?


It’s important to the functionality of your watch to have it tested for its water resistance at least once a year, possibly more depending on your lifestyle and if you have a watch with a higher ATM rating.


If you’re a surfer, sea kayaker, or take to the open water regularly, the salt can cause premature wear and tear and even corrosion. If this sounds like you, prevent any major damage and have your watch examined a couple of times a year.


What is a water resistance test?


Depending on the type of watch you have, the water-resistance test will vary. A watch expert will examine your watch checking that the gaskets are optimally sealed to prevent water from permeating. The water resistance is reliable, but only for so long, and in time, the gaskets will need maintenance and replacement.


Water-resistant can seem tricky to understand, but really the best advice to follow is to avoid submerging your watch in water if you can, and always check the ATM to get a better comprehension of how much water it can take — because it varies, greatly.


If you have any questions about the ATM rating on your Craig Shelly timepiece, please feel free to connect with us over the phone or online. We understand your luxury watch is an investment, so we want to be a resource and ally for all your watch needs!

Shop now