Should everyone own a water resistant watch?

Following Anthony’s feature challenging the need for water resistant watches, we present the other side of the argument.

Grudgingly I need to begin by agreeing with some my learned colleague’s points. Perhaps not the best tactic for a counter argument but Anthony made valid points. In certain environments, say a trendy wine bar in Whitehall, a 300m water resistant watch is a technical irrelevance. A beautiful one if the watch happens to be a 124060 Rolex Submariner, but an anachronism, nonetheless. I recall interviewing the CEO of Formex for one of our podcasts who stated with some certainty that 90% of waterproof watches are never submerged; yet all his watches in the company portfolio offer 100m+ resistance because that’s what customers wanted.

Formex automatic reef

The Formex REEF Automatic Chronometer - Image credit WatchGecko.

First let us take the sub-aqua world and place it respectfully aside. It really should not be part of this debate as it is obvious that a waterproof watch is important for adventurers who prefer their air supply pressurised. We will therefore focus on the non-SCUBA community. People who will never submerge their wrists in the ocean or at least no further than a gentle snorkel on holiday where 300M resistance is significant overkill - yet they love their Omega Seamaster.

I believe it is all about a mindset. There is a distinct type of person who feels reassured by having a 500m watch on their wrist. And this argument splits into two parts; first the confidence that comes with owning high capability equipment and second a sheer, unashamed, love of kit.

You can tell people who wear a waterproof watch before you see their wrist. They generally have a love of technically advanced equipment, and they draw confidence from having that capability as part of their daily routine, be it a car, phone, outdoor equipment or a watch. Whether it is a boost prior to an important presentation or the moment before you climb Kilimanjaro, having a watch that can take anything life throws at it does give you confidence.  As you face a tough task, recreational or professional, and glance at your Tudor Pelagos you do get a tingle of confidence knowing that, at least one part of you, can face anything today.

And then there are the kit-junkies, a category I am happy to be bracketed into. I love technical watches that are at the pinnacle of their design genre. Whether it be a high end Speedmaster Master Chronometer Moonphase or a 1000m Squale 101 Atmos or an equally wonderful sub-£100 indestructible, anti-magnetic, Casio GA-100. What all these watches have in common is that they have been designed without compromise and part of that process is making a watch which will fight aquatic elements. For such minded people it is a basic requirement for a watch that it can hold back water or humidity. That its seals are tough enough to ward off inclement weather or fine sand. A watch lacking this capability (to me) is lacking something fundamental. And I argue that beautiful watches are made with this capability so why wouldn’t you have it?

If you ask me honestly, could I make it through a day without requiring a 200m water resistant watch then answer is patently yes! But if you asked me, would I want to do it, the answer is an equally emphatic no!