We’ll begin with clarifying the meaning of waterproofing. No watch can be fully waterproof, the term “water proof” in selling watches has been illegal to say in the USA since the 1960s. “Water resistant” is the term that watch manufacturers use today and that can mean anything from a splash of water in the shower to a ocean dive of 100 meters.
What we will explain here is how to make sure that watch (any watch, diver or not) lady’s or men, can be as water resistant as possible. The watch manufacturer normally list on the dial (face) or on the back of the watch how deep a watch can be submerged in water. The figure they use can be in bars, meters, or feet. (3 BAR = 3 ATM = 30m = 100ft).
This process would ensure that a regular watch will be just as water resistant as it was when it came out of the factory. We will continue to diver’s watches in the area below. Let’s take a common everyday watch – Fossil, Guess, even Timex, and say that we replaced the battery and now we want to be sure that this watch will be as water tight as it possibly can be.
Open the watch back.
Check the O-ring or gasket and replace if needed. We place the new or old gasket in the Gasket/O-Ring Lubricator, and leave it there while we continue with the watch inspection.
Clean the back of the watch carefully, use q-tips with silicone, and make sure that both the watch back and watch case are free of any dirt or debris.
Remove the stem and crown , and clean the case tube ( if any) and the crown . If the crown is damaged, it needs to be replaced. Click for more help on removing and replacing the crown and stem.
After cleaning the crown and the tube (the hole in the case), apply silicone in the crown and parts of the stem. Make sure that the stem and crown are back in place in the watch and are functional.
Clean the crystal of the watch and inspect. There should be no cracks or damage to the watch crystal, if any are found the watch crystal should be replaced. Click for more information on replacing watch crystals.
Now that the crystal is either clean or new, get some epoxy, SUC Rocket cement, or G-S Crystal Glue and go carefully around the crystal and the case, applying glue on the edge. You only need to use a very small amount of this glue. The purpose of this is only to seal little imperfections that either the crystal gasket or the existing crystal glue may have. Let it dry at room temperature.
Now Remove the gasket from the Gasket/O-Ring Lubricator, the gasket or O-Ring should covered with silicone. Place it either in the groove of the case, or in the back of the watch.
Apply more silicone to the back and the case and close the watch. (See our: How to Close a Watch Back article for help with this)
Set the watch and look for any glue or silicone left over and clean it.
If everything is done as mentioned, a watch water resistant to 3 Bar would probably be resistant to 4 or 5 in control environmental A.K.A. Bergeon Waterproof Tester.