The term water resistance refers to the watch's ability to withstand splashes of water to varying degrees. Water resistancy is tested in "still", or static, conditions. So, if you dive into a pool wearing a watch which is 50 metres water resistant, the pressure impacted upon the watch on hitting the water will be far greater than that experienced at a 50 metre static test. Therefore, the number of metres shown on a watch face does not indicate the depth that the watch can be taken to, but rather the static pressure it can sustain.
Only watches marked "Divers" on the dial should be used for diving, as they fully comply with the international standards for divers watches.
Watch manufacturers use other terms to measure water resistancy:
- A.T.M. (atmosphere), where 1 A.T.M. is the equivalent to pressure at 10 metres below the surface
- Bar, where 1 bar is equivalent to pressure at 10 metres below the surface.
Caring for a Water Resistance Watch:
- The buttons on a water resistant watch must not be pressed whilst the watch is under water or still wet.
- Do not pull out the winder whilst the watch is under water or still wet.
- If the case, glass or seal is damaged, the watch should no longer be regarded as water resistant.
- If a watch is exposed to seawater, it should be washed well in fresh water and wiped dry.
Batteries should be changed by the manufacturer or approved service agent so that the seal can be checked and renewed if necessary. If this is not done, the watch will no longer be guaranteed water resistant.
Once you have an idea about the style of watch you want, you may want to think about its movement. This determines its accuracy.
The movement operates only when the mainspring is tensioned by the winding of the crown. This power is then slowly released from the mainspring as it unwinds which in turn drives the hands of the watch.
An automatic watch has a movement similar to a mechanical watch, but it 'self winds' using the movement of the wearer. A small pendulum or weight in the back of the watch moving as the wearer moves their arm. As the pendulum moves around an axel, tiny gears transmit this movement to the mainspring. The winder or crown is retained as a feature so that the time and date can be altered manually. (It is worth noting that automatic watches may not be suitable for everyone, as they require enough body movement to generate the power required to wind the mainspring sufficiently and thus maintain the correct time). Mechanical and Automatic movements are generally far less accurate than quartz, losing or gaining anything up to 30 seconds/day.
A module powered by a synthetic crystal, made to oscillate by an electric current supplied by a tiny battery. A very precise and accurate time measurement, usually within + or - 20 seconds/month.
An innovative movement of micro-electronics that responds to the wearer's wrist action to store energy, maintaining quartz accuracy. The watch "sleeps" to conserve energy if not worn for 72 hours but wakes up when shaken and immediately returns to the correct time. Developed by Seiko.
A quartz movement but with a solar panel covering the entire watch face, converts light from any source, whether it is sunlight or artificial light, to electrical energy. With regular exposure to light, the "battery" is constantly recharged, thereby allowing the watch to run continuously. The frequency to which the watch must be exposed to light to maintain accuracy is dependent on the model and capacity of the rechargeable battery.
Your watch will require care and regular maintenance to ensure its accuracy and to protect its appearance. It is important to note, however, that each brand and model of watch has its own specific care guidelines and you should always refer to the manufacturer's instruction manual or warranty, provided with your watch.
- Avoid water damage to your watch. Check your watch's water resistance and adhere strictly to instructions in your manufacturer's instructions. For information for caring for a water resistant watches, see our section on water resistance. Should water or condensation appear in your watch face, have it checked by a watch specialist.
- Avoid leaving your watch in extreme temperatures as this can cause complications. Generally, extreme heat can shorten the battery life of a quartz watch and extreme cold can cause your watch to gain or lose time.
- Avoid contact with chemicals, solvents and gases, which may cause discolouration, deterioration and damage to your watch.
- Although most watches are, to a degree, shock resistant, do avoid extreme shock or impact to your watch.
- Avoid exposing your watch to strong electric fields or static electricity as the magnetic effect may cause your watch to lose or gain time. For example, wearing a watch to bed where there is an electric blanket may cause problems with the watch. Generally however, most household electrical appliances will not affect your watch.
- If your watch has been worn in salt water and is not designed to avoid corrosion, have it checked by a watch specialist.
- Watches, including their straps, are best cleaned by a watch specialist.
- Have your watch checked and serviced regularly by a watch specialist. The manufacturer's instruction manual will tell you how often you should have your watch serviced. All stores are able to send watches away for specialist care.