Yes, You Can Wear a Dive Watch in the Shower
I asked an expert: if it's tough enough for Cousteau it's tough enough for L'Oréal.
Spend any amount of time on the watch internet and you’ll see your fair share of questions from new and veteran enthusiasts alike about where you can and cannot safely wear a watch. From the back nine to the shooting range one locale that comes up surprisingly often is the shower. Which is odd, right? Many modern watches boast triple-digit meters of water resistance so surely they can tolerate a few drops at sea-level. Not so according to droves of commenters. According to them, under no circumstances should you wear or bring your watch into the shower, citing the heat from the steamy water and harsh soap as potential threats to the gaskets that are critical to the integrity and waterproofness of the watch.
Handwringing aside, could they have a point?
I asked Garrin Fraze, a Fort Worth, TX-based, Rolex-trained watchmaker. Unbeknownst to me, I was preaching to the converted. “I usually keep my watches on in the shower as long as they’ve had a pressure test within the last few years.” Garrin continues, “well it depends on the watch. If the watch is watertight and all the seals are good it shouldn’t be an issue. If it’s got a broken or pinched gasket then of course it’s a bad idea but for the most part you’re probably fine.”
But what of the heat and soap you may ask. Garrin clarifies, “gaskets are lubricated with silicone so the issue would be with that. Most of the watches I see come in have gaskets that dried up years ago but the gaskets still keep water out. I would guess the soap is fine as long as you rinse it off and don’t let soap scum build up.”
In fact, showering (or at least rinsing) is something that’s actually recommended by watch manufactures, especially after exposure to salt water. Just make sure you double check that your crown is screwed down before rinsing liberally with fresh water. Give the bezel a turn to dislodge any sand or salt that may have built up then dry the watch with a soft cloth. Don’t forget to keep your watch serviced and pressure tested every few years, not only does it keep pros like Garrin gainfully employed, it helps protect your prized piece from any unexpected hiccups.
Special thanks to Garrin Fraze, @gfrazewatchmaking on Instagram
Illustration by Lilla Horvath for Rehaut