Trend Watch: Promoting But Not Explaining Water-Resistant Watches

I am always delighted to see the fashion press give space to discussing jewelry that complements the fashions being shown. With the approach of summer, the May 2008 issue of Glamour magazine devotes a substantial number of pages to swimwear. Along with excellent coverage of the latest styles of bathing suits and tips as to which styles works best for various body types, the magazine includes a page devoted to colorful, sporty watches, proclaimed “a Do!” for the beach (in a photo caption) and for the pool. The headline reads: “7 pool-friendly watches: Swim into summer with a practical—and bold—water-resistant watch.”

 

The watches shown range from a $65 Swatch watch to a $5,365 Cartier selection, all of the timepieces pictured gleaming with drops of water. 

    

 

I’d like to solicit some opinions on the subject matter of that media piece and this blog posting. Based on some research I did, it is my understanding water-resistant does not in fact mean pool-proof (or pool-friendly, if you prefer), and that:

 

  • Watches labeled simply “water-resistant” without a specification of the level of water resistance expressed in meters, should not be submerged in water, although such watches can withstand being splashed with water.

 

  • To be suitable for swimming, a watch should have a specified level of water resistance of at least -50 meters.

 

  • A rigorous swimmer should consider a watch with a higher water resistance rating because of the effect of the rapid and repeated water pressure changes caused by plunging the watch-bearing arm into the water while swimming.

 

  • Heat from a hot tub (or a steam room or sauna) can cause the gaskets to warp, causing a watch to lose its water resistance.

 

  • Going from a hot tub, steam room or sauna into a relative cold pool can cause rubber to contract, affecting the water resistance of a watch due to the sudden and extreme change of temperature.

 

  • Showering or bathing with a water-resistant watch is also a bad idea, again because of the heat. In addition, soap has abrasive qualities that may affect the appearance of the watch and the strength of the bracelet joints. 

 

  • Heavily chlorinated water can affect a watch’s water resistance. Water resistance should be checked in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications at least once a year in any case, and every time after the back of the watch has been opened (for example, with a change of battery).

 

  • Perfume and suntan lotion can work its way into the seams and gaskets, affecting water resistance as well as the appearance of the watch. 

 

  • By law, no watches are permitted to be labeled “waterproof” suggesting they are completely impervious to the effects of water. 

Is this summary of information correct? That’s a lot for a consumer to digest. Tell me, do you think that this is information that should be provided to consumers in an article touting watches as a pool-friendly and beach-friendly accessory? Is it sufficient to tell a reader that a watch is pool friendly because it is water-resistant?