Waterproof watch faces

I love to make chain maille watch bands but can only find
water-resistant watch faces…which usually means wash the
dishes…toss the watch.

Since I sell these I need watch faces that are fairly
water-resistant to waterproof. Does anybody have an idea where I
could find these faces…I’ve searched the net (at least I’ve tried)!
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Tucson sounds like so much fun and a great learning opportunity,
wish I could have gone…maybe next year.

Thanks again,

Well, I don’t recommend washing dishes in watches, but I have forgot
and they have taken a brief “shower” with no worse for the wear. I
buy Geneva watchfaces from Combowatch.com and have been pleased with

But they are not watches to “dive” in (or wash dishes) though I have
done the latter without any ill results.


Check your local discount stores: K-mart, Target, Wal-Mart (not my
favorite, but their prices are good.) These stores carry waterproof
watches and water resistant watches too. You will not pay much more
than wholesale and have a better variety of styles.

Hi Liz. I make a lot of watch bands, but long ago I decided that the
generic watches available through jewelry suppliers are not good
enough to justify putting a ton of work into the band. So I use only
brand-name watches such as Seiko, Tissot, Wenger, etc. These can be
had at serious discounts at such sites as Worldofwatches.com or
Overstock.com. Last year’s model at 60% off can allow you to put
together a reliable, waterproof, and saleable package.

Allan Mason

Currently, NO watches are -legally- allowed to be sold in the US
with the “waterproof” designation. Even $10,000 rolex divers watches
aren’t sealed well enough for the FTC to allow that designation.
Certainly nothing less than 15 bar water resistance should even be
considered as reasonably water resistant, and these usually start at
a couple of hundred dollars.

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers

Water resistance of a watch has a few different variables. Pop off
backs are generally less water restistant than a screw off back.
Screw offs usually have 6 small notches around the edge, whereas
popoffs are usually smooth around the edges. Whether it is popoff or
screw off, there normally is a rubber gasket inside, and water
resisitance is affected by the age/condition of this gasket.
Replacement every couple years is needed to maintain W/R. In
addition, the stem and crown, crown in particular, are important to
W/R. Screwdown crowns offer more W/R than any other type, but the
overwhelming variety of watches do not use this feature, as it adds
expense. Rolex uses this feature. The traditional variety that simply
pops in and out, come as whats termed as dustproof, and waterproof,
although the W/P is by no means actually waterproof. Small feminine
designs are generally less W/R than medium to larger styles such as
sports styles. By the way, keep in mind that the FTC ruled years ago
that NO WATCH is waterproof, but that some are more water resistant
than others, based on things like back type, crown type, case
material, crystal… In addition, W/R ratings such as 50M(meters)
does not mean 50M under water, but means 50M of atmospheric pressure.

Ed in Kokomo

Perhaps you should be looking for watch cases, rather than watch

Sorry, all…but I wear nothing but Timex and I swim in them [I live on a lake] and wash dishes in them and bathe dogs in them. I won’t say
they’re foolproof, but then, little is…


Sorry, all...but I wear nothing but Timex and I swim in them [I
live on a lake] and wash dishes in them and bathe dogs in them. I
won't say they're foolproof, but then, little is...

And I fix 'em. Everyday. Except Timex, cause they generally cost more
to repair than their worth. A watch retains W/R for a while, but it
fades with age, wear and tear, etc… As I replace batteries (av 2-4
dozen a day) I inspect gaskets around the back, and as I see ones in
need of replacement, I suggest to the customer, tell them the
additional cost, and either replace it or mark the inside of the
watch that they refused gasket replacement. Then when they come back
later saying “You replaced my battery and now my watch is leaking
water”, I show them that on such and such a date they refused to pay
the cost for gasket replacement, as recommended at time of battery
replacement. The argument stops there. If they want the watch dried
out, repaired, I charge them the appropriate amount, and then, mark
the inside of the repairs made, and why, and that this customer
tends to try to cast blame on others. Ask any watchmaker/repairman
about water and watches, and we will all tell you that there is no
such thing as a water PROOF watch. Also look at the manufacturer’s
warranties on pretty much all brands, and there will be an exclusion
for free warranty service on a wet watch, even the ones designated
for diving.

Ed in Kokomo

Anyone who designates a watch as ‘waterproof’ is asking for trouble.
No watch made is ‘waterproof’, only water-resistant and the figures
usually claimed on the dials are usually laughable. Sure, when the
watch was made it might have tested to the equivalent of 100 metres
depth in ideal conditions but the first time the winder is turned to
adjust the time or wind a mechanical movement, that claim is
compromised as dust, grit or even skin particles can get between the
’O’ ring seal and the winding shaft lifting the seal clear or scoring
the shaft. Then the water can get in. Another consideration is that
many makers test the watches under dry conditions (so they don’t risk
wrecking the movements on case failures) and others do the test in
reverse, by putting the cases in a vacuum to see if any air leaks out

  • again so that they don’t risk the movement - neither of these
    testing methods is, of course, directly relevant to actual conditions
    100 metres under the sea…

I always tell customers that, where a watch is marked 100 metres, it
is usually safe to 10 metres but only if it has a screw-down crown
and is well maintained with case seal and winding shaft changes at
regular intervals. In practice, of course, very few watches are ever
used for other than surface swimming or in the shower and this is
what the manufactureres rely on.

One other thing which may be worth mentioning for our newer readers
is the folly of taking off a wrist watch at night and putting it on
a bedside table. While the watch is being worn it is at a comfortable
body temperature and under relatively stable conditions but, when it
is removed, the air inside it cools down and contracts, effectively
making a vacuum which sucks in the dust off the bedside table
through the hole where the winder enters the case. This dust then
mixes with the oil on the pivots and turns it into a very effective
grinding paste! More often than not, when a watch is opened for
service, you will find a dark patch on the movement near the winding
hole from just this cause.

Best Wishes

Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK

A while back someone was looking for glass watch covers for small
paintings. A search for Horological supplies should provide you with
a very large list of sources for watch crystals. Newall seemed to
have a very good selection.


Attempting to buy crystals from contacting horological supply
companies may have a little roadblock. They will want to know the
part number of the particular crystal you need. (An exception would
be if you want a simple round flat mineral crystal.)

You might want to contact your local watch repair jeweler. My father
has been repairing watches since 1948. For many years, he subscribed
to a service from one of the crystal companies. As often as there
were enough new styles of crystal to fill a “drawer” they would send
him a metal file drawer with the latest selection. He has THOUSANDS
of crystals. Most of them are for watches that never stuck in the
market long enough to be needed even once.

So my idea is that you find a watchmaker and ask to look through his
cases of old crystals. You’ll find pieces that are much more
interesting than the plain flat types. They’ll probably be happy to
sell some of the old styles for a song.

Francis Kisner