What To Do if You Get Water Inside Your Luxury Watch

testing water resistance

There’s nothing worse than realising water or condensation has manged to seep inside your precious luxury watch, especially, if you thought it was water proof!

If your watch has suffered water damage, read on to understand the different ways you can repair it, providing advice. We will also explain the different types of water resistance and what each level stands for in terms of real-life use with water.

What to try first

So, you’ve just noticed your watch has unfortunately suffered from some form of water damage. You begin to panic and you’re wondering what to do?

First, you should have a look at the entirety of the watch. Check the watch face for visible moisture inside, check if the watch’s inner workings seem intact (no stuttering of the watch). If any of these signs are present, your watch needs some form of attention. This will most likely mean that the water-resistance seal was not able to do its job to the fullest of its capacity. Other visible cues showing that your watch has experienced water damage is that there is obvious water inside of your watch, or if a large amount of moisture is visible.

If your watch has water damage but it seems minimal, there are a few options that can be taken to potentially save your watch.

To Remove Condensation from a Watch
Putting your watch in a bag or air-tight jar of dry uncooked rice to absorb the humidity as much as possible from the watch. You can leave the watch in the rice overnight.
Other materials such as salt, silica gel, or desiccant can also do the job, but do be careful not to damage to watch when using any of those materials. Using cotton cloth and leaving it in a warm place may help to reduce condensation from a watch.
Cat litter has been designed to soak up moisture, so as with dry rice leave your watch overnight – We recommend not using cat litter in a cat litter tray, use fresh from the bag!
Leaving it out in the direct sunlight to dry it out though that is highly risky for the watch face since direct sunlight can damage the watch face over time.
Use a blow dryer or fan on warm heat, As with Sun light this method is best if you can remove the back of your watch.

But you should seek our assistance

Whether or not the watch had a minimal amount of damage, the problem with any of the solutions you could try yourself is that if water has got into the works the damage might not be so easy to sort out. The heat methods can end up doing more damage than good if over-done, your luxury watch is an expensive item, why on earth would you want to save a bot of money and cut corners?

So it is highly recommended that you seek some form of watch repair assistance and get help from our experts in regards to analysing and potentially fixing and ordering new parts for your watch. The most important thing you need to do is to avoid causing any serious damage to the watch.

Whilst at first it may seem like there isn’t anything to replace, a variety of parts such as the o ring, parts of the movement, potentially the glass as well as many other hidden individual pieces may have to be ordered by an expert in order to bring your watch back to perfection.

Seeking the help of experts will give you the best chance of giving your watch the fix it deserves. Even if your parts are all fine, just a bit damp, our repairs team will disassemble your watch and clean all the delicate components with traditional methods and ultra-sonic cleaning to remove all specks of dust or dirt.

Discover how Luxury Time Repairs can help save your damaged watch.

If you try to do what a repair shop expert would do, by yourself, it is possible you could further damage your watch and may never get it all together again. Possible issues of trying to repair your own watch:

  • Creating more water damage in other parts of the watch
  • Not using the right tools may lead to not having the screws properly screwed at the end of your work.
  • Using items like a blow dryer can lead to heat damage on the watch.
  • Purchasing parts by yourself thinking it would be cheaper to buy knockoff replacement parts can possibly cause further damage of parts like the watch movement and more. Purchasing for example a replacement o ring for the watch’s water resistance, is much better done by an expert.
  • Not being able to test any seals under pressure could see you watch fail when you need it most!

The different types of water resistance

When purchasing any watch, users should always look at the ratings provided by the brand regarding the water-resistance qualification. It is a common misunderstanding that the “bar” ratings of watches are the ratings in terms of pressure bars (atmospheres) that the watch can withstand underwater. Sadly, that is not the case.

The reality is that Water Resistance ratings are now all under the ISO 2281 water resistance watches standard.

Here is a quick rundown of the main types of water resistance ratings and what they actually stand for:

Water Resistance RatingSuitability
3 atm (30m)Considered ‘splash proof’ which is rain or splash resistance
5 atm (50m)Suitable for showering, bathing, swimming pools, and light outdoor swimming
10 atm (100m)This is where your watch becomes something to use in longer term swims and say snorkel diving, as well as water sports where you are likely to end up floundering such as water skiing
20 atm (200m)Last of the Resistance levels 20 bars is one that every luxury watch potential owner should consider, it is suitable for professional marine activity, skin diving, or serious water sports, this is now a Water Proof watch.

If the watch you are using does not have any of these ratings, you should be extremely careful with it even in constant rain since any sort of exposure to water such as condensation may damage the watch over time.

Also do keep in mind that as the watch ages, it can lead to a degradation of the quality of the o ring as well as the overall water resistance rating to function properly even when buying from a reputable watchmaker. Keep in mind, condensation, time, and humidity are your watch’s worst enemy if you’re watch is on the vintage side.

Overall, water damage in watches is far more common than people tend to admit due to the common mistakes made by the confusing waterproof watches ratings and whether a watch is water proof or whether it can even water resist. As mentioned, the ratings of bars are a little more complex than simply being related to the pressure capability the watch can withstand.

Diving watches have their own Ratings based of depth, along with their own ISO standard ISO 6425.

Divers Watch RatingsSuitability
Diver’s 100mMinimum ISO 6425 standard for scuba diving, 100 & 150m dive watches tend to be older watches
Diver’s 200 or 300mSuitable for scuba diving (not saturation diving) this is typical of the standard for modern dive watches
Divers 300+m for mixed-gas divingSuitable for Saturation (helium enriched) diving. These watches are designed for mixed-as diving, and will have “Divers Watch xxxM For Mixed-Gas Diving” markings to show this

If you’re usual luxury watch was ever to be submerged or get wet due to any sort of everyday life activity and was not meant to get wet like that, you now know how to reduce the chances of being left with a water damaged watch.

Whether you prefer trying to solve it yourself using simple methods or request the aid of an expert is up to you, but we always recommend that for any damage on the inside of the watch, seeking help from an expert is the best thing to do. Getting help from someone who knows their way around inside your watch as well as having knowledge on how to properly and effectively remove condensation on the inside will give you the best chance at getting your prized possession back in the best shape possible.

Learn about our full watch repair service here.