Home » Blogs » The Time is Running Out: How Water Damage Can Impact Your Watch’s Performance and Value

The Time is Running Out: How Water Damage Can Impact Your Watch’s Performance and Value

by Thomas Jentzsch on April 28, 2023


Watches have been a sign of prestige, style, and status for many generations. They serve as more than just tools that tell time. For collectors, they are investments that retain value and may even appreciate over time.

A single watch can hold significant sentimental value or represent an important milestone in one’s life. It is not surprising, therefore, that the impact of water damage on watch performance and value can be devastating.

Explanation of the importance of watches

A watch is not merely a piece of jewelry or an accessory; it serves as a symbol of personal style and achievement. Watches provide a sense of completion to any outfit worn by both men and women alike.

From classic mechanical movements to state-of-the-art smartwatches with advanced features like fitness tracking or messaging ability, there is a watch for everyone. Watches are also collectible items that hold financial value.

Luxury brands such as Rolex or Omega have long retained their worth over time, even increasing in value after years pass. Collectors often look for specific models or limited edition releases to add to their collections, which can be quite expensive.

Brief overview of water damage and its impact on watch performance and value

Water damage occurs when water enters the internal components of a watch through small gaps in the case or seals designed to protect it from moisture. Once inside the movement area or battery compartment, water can corrode metal parts or cause rust, leading to malfunctioning gears or loss of timekeeping accuracy.

The impact on performance depends on how much water has entered the watch, how long it has been exposed to moisture before being noticed (if at all), and the quality level of any repairs made afterward for restoration purposes. The severity level will determine whether watches that have undergone water damage are repairable and how much it will cost to restore them.

The Basics of Water Damage

Definition of Water Damage

Water damage refers to the harm that occurs in watches when is water enters the internal components through any opening, such as the crown, pushers, or cracks in the crystal. It can lead to a range of issues that affect both performance and appearance.

Some watches come with water-resistance ratings that indicate their ability to withstand exposure to water without sustaining damage. However, even a watch with a high water-resistance rating may not be immune to damage if it is exposed to water beyond its limits.

How Water Enters a Watch

Water enters a watch through any opening on it or its components. There are many ways for this to occur, but some of the most common include swimming or showering with a watch on, submerging it while snorkeling or diving, and exposing it to rain or moisture in humid environments. Seals and gaskets are often used around openings like crowns and case backs to prevent water from entering these areas; however, these seals can become compromised over time due to wear and tear.

The Effects of Water on a Watch’s Internal Components

When water enters a watch’s internal components, there are several effects that can occur. The most immediate issue is usually condensation inside the crystal or dial due to the difference in temperature between the internal parts and external environment. Over time, rust can also form on metal parts leading them towards irreversible corrosion whereas mineral deposits can develop on sensitive electronic components causing them malfunctioned which could be difficult for repair technicians.

In addition to these effects, prolonged exposure could lead mechanical watches‘ movements losing accuracy as their delicate mechanisms become impeded by rust buildup and damages caused by mineral deposits build-up on quartz movements’ electronic components which are sensitive towards humidity changes since they run electronically. Therefore if you want your watch to last, it is important to keep it dry and well maintained.

Signs of Water Damage in Watches

Watches are highly sophisticated and delicate pieces of machinery that require proper care and maintenance to function optimally. Exposure to water can have serious implications on the internal components of a watch, potentially rendering it useless or significantly decreasing its value.

But how do you know if your watch has been damaged by water? In this section, we’ll explore some visible signs, changes in timekeeping accuracy or movement behavior, and rust or corrosion on internal parts that can indicate water damage.

Visible Signs such as Fogging or Condensation on the Crystal or Dial

One of the most noticeable signs of water damage is condensation inside the watch crystal or dial. If you notice fogging under your watch’s crystal, it’s highly likely that moisture has entered the case. This occurs because moisture from outside gets inside through openings in the case; when the air inside cools down after exposure to lower temperatures than those on your wrist, condensation forms.

In addition to fogging and condensation, there may also be visible droplets that form inside your watch’s crystal. These droplets might seem harmless at first glance but are actually an indication of severe internal damage caused by water ingress.

Changes in Timekeeping Accuracy or Movement Behavior

Water damage can lead to various changes in timekeeping accuracy and movement behavior within watches. One common example is a loss of power reserve; this happens when some critical components get damaged due to constant exposure to water.

Moreover, another common issue with watches after they get exposed to water is a disruption in their timekeeping accuracy. The balance wheel responsible for keeping accurate timing may get misaligned due to rusting within the mechanism caused by oxidation from moisture.

Rust or Corrosion on Internal Parts

Water can cause rapid oxidation resulting in rust and corrosion developing internally within the watch. A tell-tale sign of water-damage is the presence of rust or corrosion on the internal parts of a watch. This can lead to malfunctioning movements, at times leading to a complete shutdown or failure.

Furthermore, rust and corrosion can cause significant damage to even minor parts that are critical for optimal watch performance leading to costly repairs that might take an extended amount of time. Visible signs like condensation or fogging, changes in timekeeping accuracy or movement behavior, and rust or corrosion on internal parts are clear indications of water damage to your watch.

It’s essential to know these early signs and take action accordingly; otherwise, the damage will continue accumulating overtime resulting in more severe consequences. Water damage prevention measures are vital for preserving a watch’s performance and value over time.

Prevention Measures

Avoiding exposure to water

One of the most effective ways to prevent water damage to your watch is simply to avoid exposing it to water altogether. This means removing your watch before activities such as swimming, showering or washing your hands. Even if your watch is rated as waterproof, it’s important to remember that these ratings are often meant for brief exposure to water rather than prolonged immersion.

If you’re unsure about whether or not your watch can withstand water exposure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and remove it before any potential risk arises. Additionally, if you do accidentally expose your watch to water or moisture, dry it off immediately with a soft cloth or towel.

Proper maintenance and care

In addition to avoiding exposure to water, proper maintenance and care can go a long way in preventing damage caused by humidity and moisture. One way is by keeping your watch clean and free of dirt and dust which can trap moisture inside. You can also use a silica gel pack or other desiccant when storing the watch in a safe place.

Another way is by keeping the gaskets in good condition so they can provide adequate protection from humidity and moisture. Over time, gaskets may wear down or become damaged, so check them regularly for signs of wear and tear.

Regular servicing

Regular servicing by a qualified professional can help prevent potential problems caused by humidity and moisture in the long run. Servicing typically involves disassembling the watch movement, cleaning each component carefully using specialized solutions then lubricating each part properly before reassembly. During this process, technicians will also typically check all vital components including gaskets for damage that could compromise its ability to protect against moisture ingress.

By following these prevention measures carefully every day, you can help keep your watches safe from damage caused by humidity and moisture. Remember that prevention is always better than cure, so take the necessary steps to protect your investment and keep your watches running smoothly for years to come.

Repairing Water Damaged Watches

The Cost and Availability of Repair Services

If your watch has been water damaged, it is important to take it to a reputable watch repair shop as soon as possible. The cost of repairing water damage can vary greatly depending on the extent of the damage and the type of watch. Basic repairs such as cleaning and drying can cost around $50-100, while more extensive repairs such as replacing parts can cost several hundred dollars or even thousands for luxury watches.

It is important to do your research and find a certified watch repair specialist who has experience with repairing water-damaged watches. Some manufacturers may offer their own repair services or have authorized repair centers that specialize in their brand.

However, these services may be more expensive than independent shops. Availability of repair services can also vary depending on your location and the type of watch you have.

Some brands may require you to send your watch back to the manufacturer for repairs, which could take several weeks or even months. Independent shops may be able to offer faster turnaround times but make sure they are properly equipped to handle your specific brand and model.

The Potential Impact on the Watch’s Value After Repair

Repairing a water-damaged watch is not only important for restoring its performance but also for preserving its value. However, it is important to note that repairing a watch that has been water damaged can potentially decrease its value.

To begin with, not all damages can be repaired completely – restoring functionality does not always restore aesthetics such as faded dials or rusted steel components. Additionally, If major components need replacement this could result in mismatched parts due to lack of availability or compatibility issues.

Furthermore, some collectors may prefer original untouched timepieces instead of ones that have been repaired after being damaged by water; if this is the case then repaired watches could be worth significantly less than those without damage. If you are trying to resell your repaired watch, it is important to disclose its history of water damage and repair to potential buyers.

While repairing a water-damaged watch is essential for its performance and longevity, it is important to carefully weigh the costs of repair against the watch’s value. Be sure to research reputable repair services and consult with qualified experts before making any decisions on repairs.



Recapitulation of the importance of preventing water damage to watches

Water damage is a silent killer for watches. Even though watches are designed to be water-resistant, they are not waterproof, and any exposure to water can have a significant impact on their performance and value. The effects of water damage can be devastating for any watch, from minor issues like condensation to severe problems like rust and corrosion.

Therefore, it is crucial to prevent such damages from occurring in the first place. The best way to prevent water damage is by avoiding exposing your watch to water as much as possible.

However, if you must expose your watch to water, ensure that it is well-maintained and serviced regularly. Regular maintenance ensures that any signs of wear or damage are detected early enough before they become major issues.

Final thoughts on the significance of proper maintenance for preserving a watch’s performance and value

Proper maintenance is essential for preserving a watch’s performance and value. It ensures that your watch functions correctly and maintains its beauty over an extended period. A well-maintained watch retains its resale value even after years of use because buyers want reliable watches with good aesthetics.

Taking care of your valuable timepiece should be a priority if you want it to last long without losing its functionality or aesthetic appeal. Regular servicing can help detect potential problems early enough before they become costly repairs; therefore, it’s essential not only for the sake of preserving performance but also financial reasons.


Scroll to Top