The best waterproof watches come in a huge range of sizes, styles, and capabilities, from rugged quartz sports watches to professional-grade analog divers. And it’s a good thing they are doing. Water may make up two-thirds of the planet and most of your body, but getting even a drop of the stuff inside your watch face can be a serious problem – and unlike the times you revived your waterlogged iPhone with a Ziploc bag full of rice, there’s no quick fix. Fortunately, watchmakers around the world have spent the better part of a century finding new ways to keep the delicate inner workings of your watch dry, whether you’re snorkeling in the Caribbean or simply washing dishes at the House.
Choosing a waterproof watch, however, isn’t as simple as finding something with “water resistant” printed on the dial, especially if you plan to take it to the pool or the beach, or even wear it outside on a rainy day. The first thing to understand about depth ratings on watches is that no watch is truly waterproof, and eventually, given exposure to sufficient depth and pressure, water is bound to break through. path in each of them. So in the 1960s, following a blanket ban on the term “waterproof” by the Federal Trade Commission, brands switched to water resistance ratings instead. And they’ve been using them ever since.
Fortunately, more than half a century later, quality options abound. If you’re looking for a stylish watch that’ll withstand more than the occasional splash at the bathroom sink, any of these picks – the best waterproof watches on the market right now – will do the job with aplomb.
The Best Waterproof Watches Under $200
Entry-level options are where you’ll find plenty of watches that may look like they’re waterproof, but really aren’t. This is mainly because the water resistance ratings are confusing. If a watch says it’s water resistant to 50 meters, you’d think that should be enough (that’s deeper than most recreational divers will ever go), but what is in fact means the watch is splash proof and not really waterproof at all. That’s why your waterproof watch should be rated to 100 meters (or 10 bar, the equivalent of atmospheric pressure 100m underwater) or more. This rating will cover you for most outdoor activities, including swimming and snorkeling, provided – and we can’t stress this enough – that you don’t forget to push the crown back in after setting the ‘time. Any watch rated at less than 100m is impractical for everyday use. And in the sub-$200 range, lower depth ratings can also indicate suboptimal quality.
The Best Waterproof Watches Under $500
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you’ll find plenty of good quality quartz watches with water resistance ratings of 100m or more, and even some decent mechanical watches. This price not only offers a wealth of stylish options, but also more choices rated at 200m, the safe minimum for any watch likely to be used in water. If you’re buying a watch specifically designed to be worn underwater, look for one with a screw-down crown, one of the most reliable ways to keep H2O away from the movement.
The best waterproof dive watches
These watches all have three things in common: great water resistance, above-average durability, and a classic diver’s watch look. In this range, you can also expect to find premium Japanese and Swiss movements, 316L stainless steel cases, scratch-resistant sapphire crystals and other features of professional dive watches. If your goal is maximum water resistance, here you can choose an option of up to 600 meters, which is enough for the most serious divers. Style-wise, though, these guys tend to be big, bulky, and utilitarian, making them more of a weekend accessory than a weekday, especially if you’re lining up your daily zooms in a dress shirt.
The best waterproof fitness trackers
Fitness trackers can do a lot more than keep tabs on your steps and heart rate, but if they can’t handle a little water, they’re not really worth the time. Whether you’re training for a triathlon in the pool or working out on the elliptical, the best waterproof fitness trackers won’t let a touch of moisture come between you and your essential metrics. These bad boys are built to withstand your sweatiest workouts, and more.