Best Women's 'Waterproof' Watches for Watersports and Summertime Activities

Stylish 'waterproof' women's watches you can swim, surf and go under water with.

Water resistance in watches is an essential feature. One of the top enemies of both electronic and mechanical watches is water. But accidental splashes or moisture exposure can't be avoided. 

Today, even the average basic quartz watch has some degree of water resistance to withstand moderate water exposure.

Here are the different levels of water resistance and what it means.

Water resistance at 100 feet/30m/3 ATM- Can withstand light splashes, spills and rain showers. Suitable for normal everyday wear and best to avoid water contact. 

Water Resistance at 165 feet/50m/5 ATM- Also mostly for normal everyday wear, can withstand light water contact.

Then there are watches equipped with a higher level of water resistance making them suitable for swimming, surfing and going under water with when scuba diving: 

Water resistance 330feet/100m/10 ATM- Good for low-impact recreational water sports such as surfing, snorkeling, sailing and swimming but not diving.

Water resistance 660 feet/200m/20 ATM- Suitable for swimming, serious water activities and water sports, good for scuba diving but not deep sea diving.

Here are some great women's water resistant watches and brands offering various levels of water resistance:

Top 'Waterproof' Women's Watches

Top Brands for Ladies Water Resistant watches

Women's Diver Watches - Divers Standard

If you dive or participate in more demanding water sports, look for a watch designed to go even deeper.

Fivers 300+m- a professional dive watch that is water resistant to 1000 meters or 3300 feets. It is designed for professional deep sea diving and can withstand extremely high pressure at saturated helium and mixed gas depths.

Explore diving watches here. The top watches, brands and buying guide.

Water Resistant Watches Guide

Water Resistance Standards

What does it mean when a watch is water resistant? What does the water resistance rating mean?

Water resistance refers to the degree to which a watch can withstand water pressure. It denotes the amount of water pressure a watch can handle before it lets water in and gets damaged.  

Water resistance is rated for pressure not depth of immersion. The ratings are not to be taken literally.

Water resistance indicates the extent or degree to which the watch can withstand water exposure and pressure without damage.

Watch makers typically indicate the water resistance in watches in feet (ft), meters (m) or atmospheres (ATM). Water resistance is also denoted in bars. I bar equals 1 atmosphere.

ATM is a measure of water depth. An atmosphere can be compared to a 33 foot or 10 meters tall tube filled with water with the watch at the bottom.

The water resistance rating indicates the water pressure that it would take to overcome the seals and damage the watch.

The International Organization for Standardization has set standards and terms for water resistant and divers watches.

Water resistant watches are watches that can withstand a certain level of water pressure. They are not damaged by exposure or immersion in water, temperature and pressure changes below and up to the level they are rated water resistant up to.

To be declared water resistant up to certain levels, watches undergo strict tests on their ability to resist water damage at certain depths and to ensure they meet the standards for water resistance set by the ISO.

Even watches that pass these tests are only able to resist water damage to a certain depth. This level of depth is indicated by a mark on the caseback or on the dial.

Water resistant watches have rubber gaskets that seal the caseback, crystal and crown to keep moisture out. They also normally have screw down crowns casebacks for a tight seal.

Water Resistant vs. Waterproof

Women's water resistant watches have the ability to withstand water damage at certain pressure levels but they are no completely waterproof. How much water exposure the watch can handle depends on its water resistance rating.

A watch's features list/description will indicate to what extent the watch is water resistant.

The term waterproof has the connotation that a watch is impervious to water. `Waterproof' is a misleading term in the world of water resistant watches. In the past, it was used as a marketing term but now its use is prohibited by both the International Organization for Standards and the Federal Trade Commission.

The terms used are water resistant and divers watch standards.

There are no 100% waterproof women's watches. Watches are resistant up to certain pressure levels and provided they are maintained well. 

No watch is completely waterproof. There is a limit as to how much water pressure any watch can handle. A watch is only water resistant up to a certain level and under specific pressure and temperature conditions.  Immersion at a depth beyond the recommended number may result in damage to the watch

Also, water resistance ratings are based upon ideal lab conditions. When a watch is tested by its manufacturer, the test is done in a laboratory under optimal conditions like using a fresh gasket, sitting motionless in a pressurized water tank with still water, etc. Unfortunately, real-life conditions often produce radically different outcomes.

How Water-Resistant Watches Came To Be

In 1891, Swiss watchmaker Francois Borgel patented a sealed case design that significantly reduced the ability of dust and water to enter the case. However, the stem opening was not adequately sealed. In 1925, two Swiss watchmakers - Paul Perregaux and Georges Peret - patented a screw-down stem system.

In 1926, Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex purchased Perregaux’s and Peret’s design and combined it with Borgel’s design and a fitted crystal to create the aptly named Rolex Oyster.

During the summer of 1927, a London secretary named Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English Channel wearing a Rolex Oyster on her wrist. The watch survived the journey watertight and kept time accurately all through. The Oyster became a huge commercial success.  

Water Resistance Watches Care and Maintenance Requirements

Synthetic rubber gaskets that seal the joints between parts of the case, the crystal, the caseback and sometimes the crown to keep out moisture wear out over time. They dry out, lose elasticity or become brittle compromising the watch's water resistance ability. 

This is why it is essential to have your watch retested for water resistance once per year or often if you you go under water frequently, as sea water causes the seals to deteriorate faster.

Always check the caseback for the water resistance rating and read the manual before you expose your watch to water and also to understand the post water exposure care requirements.

Before you expose your watch to water, ensure that the crown and caseback are screwed tightly. Never turn the bezel, crown or pusher under water as this compromises the gaskets. 

Have the watch tested and the gaskets replaced after replacing battery to ensure it remains water resistant. 

It is still not advisable to shower with your water resistant watch as chemicals in soaps can damage the watch parts and seals.

Polluted, acidic and corrossive water may damage the seals and compromise the watch's water resistance.

If you wear a water-resistant watch into the ocean or a chlorinated pool, rinse it afterward in clean water to remove the salt and chemicals. Exposure to salt water, which is corrosive, can be more damaging to a watch than exposure to fresh water.  If your watch has been immersed in salt water, you should rinse it in fresh water and then gently dry it.

Unless your watch is a diving model, specifically made for underwater use, it is probably a good idea to remove your watch prior to going to the beach or the swimming pool. 

If your watch is not water resistant and it has been immersed in either fresh or salt water, it may be necessary to have it examined by a jeweler.  

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As the Chinese Proverb goes: ''An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can't buy that inch of time with an inch of gold''. Well, you can buy a great timepiece to help you manage the precious gift that is time while expressing your style!