Even if you have a dive watch that is equipped with a helium valve and screw down crown with a depth rating of 1,000m/3,300ft water resistance, it’s a good idea to take it off your wrist when taking a shower. Sure, it’s nice to think that your watch is getting cleaned at the same time as your body, but this shortcut may not be worth it in the long run.
If a watch can go under water then why can’t I shower with it?
The main reason we advise against showering with your watch on is because the shower environment is different than diving underwater. The two issues with the shower are sudden temperature changes and soap.
Depth ratings on watches are for water resistance when submerged under water, specifically when swimming or diving. Watches are designed for colder water than hot. Depending on your preference, showers tend to be warm or hot – creating sudden temp changes from room temperature to hot and steamy, back to room temperature and possibly cold if you step outside of the bathroom on a chilly day. This can cause unwanted expanding and contracting on components of the watch. This potential distortion to the rubber seals and gaskets can turn into a problem, especially when met with the next issue: Suds and bubbles that change the water.
Although we’re told soap and shampoo is good for our skin, the truth is that many of these products contain chemicals that are not good for parts of your watch. What makes a watch water resistant is not the thick stainless steel case and sapphire crystal, but rather the rubber gaskets, oils and glues that hold it all together. Soaps can adversely affect the integrity of these parts, which in turn could allow water to get through the seals and leak into your watch. Not to mention soap scum building up in the nooks and crannies of your timepiece!
I have been wearing my watch in the shower for years and it’s fine.
That is great! But it doesn’t mean that it isn’t slowing deteriorating parts of your watch that may need replaced sooner than expected. It’s one thing to plan for a scheduled routine maintenance, it’s another to have to send your watch in for a water damaged movement.
What about the hot tub, sauna or steam room?
It is also advisable to avoid wearing your watch in these places due to the temperature changes (and possibly the chemicals in the hot tub).
It’s a conspiracy!
You or someone you know may disagree with the advice on this page entirely, and perhaps your watch will continue to function properly after years of never taking it off in the shower, but why take the chance? If the watch is expensive, difficult to replace, or has sentimental significance, we highly recommend that you remove the timepiece and place it in a safe spot before jumping into a hot, steamy and soapy shower – you’re already taking your clothes off and it only takes 3 more seconds to do the same with your watch.