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What do watch depth ratings mean?

Posted by Darrell Spencer on

Watch depth ratings mean that the watch design has been tested at an equivalent water pressure at least once.  The water resistance number on a watch does little to guarantee its performance in a real world environment. There is no universal standard for setting a watch depth rating, so if you want to see how deep a watch can go, you have to take it to that depth.

At Oceaneva we like to test our watches at depth in real world environments so you don't have to. We want our customers to be able to trust that our watches will go as deep as we rate them.  See our water resistance tests here.

Further Information Regarding Water Resistance: as you can see below, the depth rating does not always accurately represent a watches abilities.

  • Water-resistant to 3 Bar/Atmospheres 30m.  Despite the 30 meter rating, a watch that is resistant to 30m is really just splash resistant.  We do not recommend that you take such a watch swimming. Oceaneva does not sell any 30m rated watches.
  • Water-resistant to 5 Bar/Atmospheres 50m. You can technically swim with a 50m watch, but it’s an "at your own risk situation" and you only should if you don't mind if the watch gets damaged.  Oceaneva does not sell any 50m rated watches.
  • Water-resistant to 10 Bar/Atmospheres 100m. A watch rated at 100m water-resistance is great for swimming and snorkeling activities, but not scuba diving. Certain well known brands can live up to this rating, but only if proper care and maintenance has been done. Again, try at your own risk. Oceaneva does not sell any 100m rated watches.
  • Water-resistant to 20 Bar/Atmospheres 200m. A 200m rating seems like you should be able do anything with it, but a just like 100m, we don't recommend you take it scuba diving. You can swim or snorkel with it with little worry, but the pressure scuba diving can pose a risk of damage.. Oceaneva does not sell any 200m rated watches.
  • Water-resistant to 30 Bar/Atmospheres 300m. You should be able to take a 300m rated watch scuba diving.  But do keep in mind any 300m rated watch, from a reputable brand, should have a helium escape valve to equalize pressure. Oceaneva does not sell any 300m rated watches as of 9-7-22.
  • Water-resistant to 50 Bar/Atmospheres 500m. You should have no issue taking a 500m rated watch scuba diving, but it should have a helium escape valve like the 300m watch. Look for brands that have that feature. Oceaneva currently has the WaveRacer 500M Model. 
  • Water-resistant to 100 Bar/Atmospheres 1000M. A 1000m rated watch will have no issue scuba diving and even saturation diving.  It should have a helium escape valve just as any watch that you plan to scuba dive with. Oceaneva's first model was a 1000M diver.  It has since been discontinued in favor of the 1250M rated model. 
  • Water-resistant to Approx.  12 Bar/Atmospheres 1250M. A 1250m rated watch has all the same capabilities as a 1000m rated one. But that extra 250m gives great piece of mind that you can take it down diving as deep as you want. Oceaneva's  The Deep Marine Explorer II Automatic and the Deep Marine Explorer GMT are both rated to 1250m.
  • Water-resistant to 294 Bar/Atmospheres 3000M. 3000m is the ultimate frontier in water resistance, only a few elite brands step into this realm.  3000 meters is deeper than any human will take a be able to take a watch without the assistance of a submarine or remotely operated vehicle. The case backs on a 3000m rated watch will be thicker than other dive watches, as it has to withstand the crushing pressure at those depths.  That will also make it heavier than other watches.  While some brands make their 3000m watches out of titanium to keep it lighter, that does drive the price up to a point well beyond the budget of most buyers.  Oceaneva's flagship Deep Marine Explorer III 3000M Limited Edition is the perfect blend of amazing quality and affordability if you're in the market for a 3000m rated watch.

    As a side note;  never take you watch into a hot shower, sauna, or hot tub.  Steam acts differently that water and you may get into the watch, resulting in damage.  Again, if you like your watch, don't risk it.


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