How Can You Tell If a Watch is Water Damaged?

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Watches can cost a lot of money, so when yours gets dropped in water or otherwise gets any type of water damage, it can be unpleasant, especially when it’s your favorite watch! The truth of the matter is, regardless of how water-resistant or waterproof the company claims the watch is, no watch on the planet is 100% waterproof, especially not forever. Because of this, you need to learn what to do when you notice water in a watch that you own, and most importantly, how to prevent it from happening again in the future

My Watch Says Waterproof, So What Happened?

First of all, you should know the difference between a water-resistant watch and a watch that is waterproof. Basically, water-resistant watches can handle some water getting onto the outside of the watch and still be alright. Waterproof watches, on the other hand, can be dunked in water and still be usable. But as mentioned earlier, the term “waterproof” can be a bit misleading because no watch is truly waterproof, especially if it’s an older watch.

Both water-resistant and waterproof watches usually let you know on the package or literature how much water they can take. For example, watches are usually water-resistant or waterproof up to 100 meters (328 feet), 200 meters (656 feet), or even 500 meters (1,640 feet). Once you learn what that magical number is, don’t stray from it. A watch that is waterproof up to 300 feet cannot accommodate the job if you put it in water that is 600 feet deep. This is especially true if you’ll be swimming or diving for long periods of time.

One of the problems with watches is that, on the inside are gaskets that wear out over time. Once they do this, it’s very possible for water to leak through the face of the watch, called the crystal. The worn-out gaskets just aren’t strong enough to keep water from entering the crystal. If you see water droplets or even condensation inside of the crystal, one of the problems could be that there is water inside of the watch.

Even though watches can be water-resistant or waterproof up to a certain number of feet, this doesn’t mean you should always wear your watch when you’re swimming, snorkeling, or diving. In fact, if you look at the “fine print” in the literature that comes with your watch, it often states that to be on the safe side, your watch should be removed before participating in any type of water sport, or even when showering. As a general rule, watches are simply not made to take in huge amounts of water and keep on going.

How to Fix a Water-Damaged Watch?

If your watch already has condensation or water inside of the crystal, there is still a chance you can repair it. Learning how to fix a water-damaged watch isn’t that difficult, and while it may not work for watches that have severe damage, most of these methods work for most watches and most damage. Let’s take a look at some of the methods you can use to dry out your watch and maybe save it from a trip to the trash can or recycling bin.

The first method is an easy one. You’ll place the watch with the case (back) down on the window sill where the sun can reach it. You can also place it on top of a radiator or underneath a lamp. Basically, anywhere that delivers heat to the watch will work, but it’s also important to keep an eye on the watch so it isn’t left there for too long. Why? Because too much heat can damage the watch just like too much water does. The heat will absorb the moisture inside of the watch and hopefully get it dry again.

The second method is one you may have used on your smartphone, and it works for watches as well. This method involves placing the watch in a bowl of dry, uncooked rice. Many smartphone has been saved by placing it in dry rice kernels. The rice does an amazing job of absorbing the water and moisture from inside of the watch, even if you’ve dunked or dropped the watch in water beforehand.

Both of these methods have been proven to work in many instances, but if you try both of them and the watch still has water or moisture in it, you can probably figure out what to do with it next bring it to a professional watchmaker. Especially if you have a very expensive watch or a watch that holds some type of sentimental value to you, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep the watch in your possession as long as possible. A watch professional will be able to help you figure out what to do next, and if that person can’t repair the watch, you might just have to give up at that point.

How to Prevent a Watch From Getting Water-Damaged?

Naturally, the best thing to do with your watch is to make sure you never get water inside of it in the first place. As mentioned earlier, even if a watch is waterproof, it’s still best not to get the watch wet for long periods of time. For the best results, just make it a habit to remove your watch anytime you’re planning to be near water. This way, even if the gaskets become weak, you’ll likely not experience any water damage to your watch.

Having said this, you should know that watches do not have to be totally submerged in water for damage to occur. The water that gets inside of the watch could come from a spilled drink, getting caught in a rainstorm, or even washing your hands. The older the watch is, the more the gaskets wear out, and this means it’s even easier for any amount of water to get inside of the crystal. Unfortunately, sometimes even a small amount of water will get into the watch and go unnoticed for weeks or even months. When you do notice the water, sometimes it’s too late to do anything about it.

When you own a watch, especially an expensive one, preventing water from getting inside of it should be a priority at all times. Being aware of your surroundings and what you’re doing while wearing the watch should become a habit for you from now on. Some experts even recommend visiting a watch repair expert every two years to have the watch checked both inside and out so that the expert can check the gaskets and all of the components to make sure nothing has been damaged from dampness or water. This is never a bad idea, regardless of what your watch may have cost you.

Taking good care of your watch includes preventing water from getting into it and rendering it unusable. If you can’t prevent this from happening, you do have some options, including letting a watch repair expert take care of the problem so that you can get your watch back and wear it without worry from then on. Nevertheless, the smartest thing to do is to prevent this from happening in the first place because it would be a true catastrophe when it happens.