Is a Rolex watch waterproof? Or should we say water-resistant instead?
Which term is more appropriate?
Today, we will answer those questions and learn the difference between a waterproof watch and a water-resistant Rolex timepiece.
Now, even if you have some of the best watch accessories to protect your watch from damage and scratches, these accessories can only safeguard your luxury timepieces to some degree – but not against water.
That is why it is still crucial to know if your watches are water resistant or totally waterproof for you to know the extent of their protection in water filled environments.
So, to learn more, here’s a quick guide to Rolex’s water resistance ratings.
What’s The Difference Between A Water Resistant Watch And A Waterproof Watch?
To clear things up, you should understand that there is no such thing as a waterproof timepiece.
Even Rolex watches with a waterproof case does not mean they have a complete barrier against water. The watches will be affected by water pressure.
Strictly speaking, water-resistant watches carry a rating that essentially permits up to which depth they can keep water out from affecting the watch’s movement.
On the other hand, waterproof watches are capable of withstanding water without any damage and provide a complete barrier.
However, there are only a handful of watches that are completely waterproof.
So Are Rolex Watches Waterproof Or Water Resistant?
All Rolex models are not waterproof. However, they have a water resistance rating that varies depending on the type of the watch.
If it’s a Rolex dive watch, you can expect a high level of water resistance, but if it’s a dress watch, the water resistance might be more limited.
Here are some of the facts that Rolex owners or soon-to-be-owners should know about a watch’s water resistance features.
Can You Shower With A Rolex?
Yes. Wearing a Rolex watch while having a hot shower won’t affect your timepiece. You can even bathe in a hot tub if you want.
Just make sure the crown is fully locked and tight.
As long as you are mindful of your Rolex water resistance rating and follow some basic precautions, wearing your watch while showering and bathing can be safe.
Most Rolex watches that are not dive watches have a minimum water resistance rating of 100 meters, such as the Rolex GMT-Master, Day-Date, Datejust, and others.
The only exception is the Rolex Cellini, with only 50 meters of water resistance.
Can You Swim In The Ocean With A Rolex?
Again, yes. Most modern Rolex watches, even watches designed not for diving, can still be worn when swimming in pools or shallow ocean waters.
Just be mindful of your timepiece and avoid high-impact activities, such as diving from heights or engaging in vigorous water sports. As always make sure the crown is fully locked and tight.
However, if you have Rolex Oyster watches, such as the Rolex Datejust, consider cleaning your timepiece after swimming in the ocean to prevent salt damage.
Can Water Damage A Rolex?
Yes. That is why Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf invented the Oyster case that is still used in Rolex’s Oyster models today.
The Oyster case is made to prevent the water from penetrating the watch case and affecting the small intricate components inside.
The impenetrable case provides a safe and dry environment and protection against water, dust, and shocks.
However, the water damage issues don’t just stop with pools and showers. You also need to be careful about moisture.
Watches that have pre-existing damage or broken seals and gaskets on the winding crown can allow tiny particles of water droplets to enter gradually, which can also affect its mechanism.
Why Are Rolex Watches Water Resistant? Rolex Oyster Case
The Rolex Oyster case was an innovative creation of the Rolex brand patented in 1926 and is inspired by an Oyster shell.
Its design consists of a bezel, a case back, and a winding crown screwed down against its middle case, effectively forming a barrier that guards against water and other external elements.
Some of their mechanical watches for diving even have a helium escape valve and Ringlock system, which help Rolex watches withstand high water pressure, especially in deep sea diving.
These features of a Rolex watch, paired with a robust rubber watch band, will make your water activities, such as scuba diving, more enjoyable and worry-free.
Rolex Oyster Water Resistant Watches
If you are looking for Rolex watches with the most water and pressure resistance features, then you should check out their dive watches.
These models have been thoroughly tested and proven safe and reliable for use by deep-sea divers.
The Rolex Submariner
Introduced in 1953, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner is the first commercially available watch capable to withstand water pressure up to 100 meters underwater.
These Rolex watches feature a rotatable bezel that allows a diver to accurately and safely monitor diving time and decompression stops.
It also has a 41mm stainless steel watch case with a highly legible dial and luminescent Chromalight display, where you can easily read the time even in low-light conditions.
This Rolex watch is water-resistant up to 300 meters.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller
The Rolex Sea-Dweller is undoubtedly the most water-resistant watch created by the famous Swiss watchmaking brand.
It features an unbelievable maximum depth rating of 3,900 meters or 12,800 feet, with a helium escape valve and an innovative Ring Lock system.
A newer model of this watch, the Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller, proved its mettle when it was attached to a manipulator arm of the submersible steered by explorer and filmmaker James Cameron and reached the deepest ocean depth humans have explored.
The Rolex Yacht Master II
The Yacht-Master II is easily recognizable for its bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel that is used to measure sailing time between two buoys, which is essential in yacht racing.
Its highly legible dial showcases Breguet-style hands, luminous hour markers, and a date aperture that is powered by an in-house caliber 3135, an automatic movement with 50 hours of power reserve.
It may have a lesser water resistance than other watches above. But it is certainly safe to use even if it gets splashed or exposed to water during yacht races or casual boating trips.
What Rolex Watches Not Waterproof?
It is pretty rare to see a Rolex watch that is not waterproof up to a certain point unless they are vintage watch models made by the brand or damaged luxury timepieces.
As long as older watches are in good condition and have the word “Oyster” on their dials, this means that they are equipped with a water-resistant case and can withstand water exposure at a certain depth.
How Have Rolex Watch Cases Changed?
Almost every decade, the brand introduces new improvements to Rolex watches to ensure their functionality and reliability to match the growing needs of its wearers.
Some of this is the introduction of the Helium escape valve and Ring Lock system that we can see on Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller that pushes the limits of dive watches in the market.
After being tested deep in the Mariana Trench, it resisted the water pressure and continued to perform with Rolex’s distinct precision once back above water, showing its impeccable engineering and robust design in real-life usage.
Are Vintage Rolex Watches Waterproof Or Water Resistant?
Even if you have a vintage Rolex timepiece that has recently passed a pressure test to check its water resistance, we still don’t recommend wearing it while doing water-related activities such as swimming.
Why? Because it’s difficult to determine when the current seals in the watch have deteriorated due to normal usage and wear.
You can have your watch pressure-tested regularly to prevent this. But again, this is not a guarantee, so for us, it’s better to use other watches rather than take a risk with your vintage timepiece.
Are Rolex Watch Bracelets Waterproof?
Rolex-manufactured watch bands, such as the Rolex Oysterflex rubber straps and bracelets made of precious metals, are 100% water-resistant.
On the other hand, opting for aftermarket leather straps will surely deteriorate over time, whether it is used underwater or not.
So, if you want to pair your Rolex watch with other straps to give it a new look, it is better to choose NATO watch straps or other rubber watch bands.
3 Signs Of Water Damage In A Rolex
Even the smallest scratch or damage can make your watch malfunction and compromise its water resistance. That is why servicing your Rolex watch on a regular basis is a must.
And to know the common signs of water damage in your Rolex watch, here are the 3 things you should look for.
If the hands of your watch are not moving smoothly or are getting stuck, water infiltration might be the culprit.
Water can disrupt the intricate parts of the watch movement, leading to irregular hand movement.
Fogging inside the watch’s sapphire crystal is an obvious manifestation of water damage.
If you observe moisture trapped under the crystal, it’s a sign that the watch’s seals might be compromised.
Water damage can also affect the luminous materials on the watch’s dial.
If you found that the luminous coating in hands and indices appears to be uneven, faded, or less vibrant, water could have seeped in and damaged these parts.
Putting It All Together
And we are done!
Those are all the things that you need to know about your Rolex watch water resistance capability. We hope that you’ve learned something new with this guide.
Now, if you want to buy a brand-new watch from an Authorized Rolex dealer, then you might also want to check our article about how the Rolex waiting list works and how to beat it.
And if you have questions, comments, and suggestions, leave us a comment below!