What does it mean to be water resistant?

What does it mean to be water resistant?

All too often people have experienced the disappointment that their watch has not lived up to their expectations. But sometimes this expectation is not realistic. The most common unrealistic expectation comprises the understanding of what ‘water resistant’ means and how it applies to a wristwatch.

For starters, the term “waterproof” is not allowed by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. This is because under the proper conditions, anything can leak. But the phrase “waterproof” is used in almost all of the rest of the world. To keep with consistency and maintain the correct understanding, at Ventoux Watches we keep with the phrase ‘water resistant’ and further reinforce this with the exact level of water resistance to help avoid any confusion.


  • ATM. An atmosphere or “ATM” is 10 meters or 33 feet, therefore a watch that is water resistant to 3 ATMs is water resistant to 99 feet. A watch is generally considered water resistant if it can withstand the pressure of 30 meters (99 feet).
  • Bar. The Bar is a unit of pressure measurement that is essentially equivalent to an ATM. If a watch displays that it is pressure resistant to 3 Bar, it would be water resistant to 30 meters (99 feet).


Important terms to familiarize yourself with:

  • Water Resistance. Your watch can withstand accidental splashes such as rain, but it’s not suitable to be submerged into water, nor suitable for shower.
  • 3 BAR / 3 ATM / 30m / 100ft. Your watch can withstand accidental splashes. You can also keep it on during showers, but we recommend you do so only if the watch is new or has been recently resealed. This is because the watch water resistance seal may degrade over time, especially if it takes a knock.
  • 5 BAR / 5 ATM / 50m / 165ft. Your watch can withstand splashes, showers and is suitable for swimming. It is not suitable for water sports, pool-side diving or sea diving.
  • 10 BAR / 10 ATM / 100m / 330ft. Your watch is suitable for swimming, snorkeling but not suitable for high board diving or aqua diving.
  • 20 BAR / 20 ATM / 200m / 660ft. Your watch is suitable for swimming, high-impact water sports and scuba diving.
  • More than 30 BAR / 30 ATM / 300m / 990ft. Suitable for all high-impact water sports, scuba-diving, and saturation diving.

We hope this information helps, and remember, if a salesperson tries to sell you a watch and one of their selling closes is that the watch is water resistant, or waterproof, ask them to explain this further. What type of resistance does this have and to what levels or environments are safe? Knowing full well what the answer is, then you can gauge if they are honest or not. 

water resistant chart

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