The best waterproof watches come in a huge array of sizes, styles, and capabilities, from rugged quartz sports watches to professional-grade analog divers. And it’s a good thing they do. Water might make up two-thirds of the planet and most of your body, but getting as much as a drop of the stuff inside your watch dial can be a serious problem—and unlike the time you resuscitated your waterlogged iPhone with a Ziploc bag full of rice, there’s no quick fix. Fortunately, the world’s watchmakers have spent the better part of a century coming up with new ways to keep the delicate inner workings of your timepiece dry, whether you’re snorkeling in the Caribbean or just washing dishes at home.
Choosing a waterproof watch, though, isn’t as simple as finding something with “water-resistant” printed on the dial, especially if you plan on bringing it to the pool or the beach—or even wear it outside on a rainy day. The first thing to understand about the depth ratings on watches is that no watch is truly waterproof, and eventually, given exposure to enough depth and pressure, some water is bound to work its way into all of them. So in the 1960s, following a blanket ban on the term “waterproof” by the Federal Trade Commission, brands switched to water-resistance ratings instead. And they’ve been using them ever since.
Thankfully, over half a century later, quality options abound. If you’re looking for a stylish timepiece that’ll stand up to more than the occasional splash at the bathroom sink, any of these selects—the very best waterproof watches on the market right now—will do the job with aplomb.
The Best Waterproof Watches Under $200
The entry-level options are where you’ll find a lot of watches that might look waterproof, but really aren’t. Mostly, that’s because water-resistance ratings are confusing. If a watch says it’s water-resistant to 50 meters, you’d think that ought to be plenty (it’s deeper than most recreational scuba divers will ever go), but what it actually means is the watch is splash-proof, and not really waterproof at all. That’s why your water-resistant watch should be rated 100 meters (or 10 bar, the equivalent amount of atmospheric pressure at 100m underwater) or higher. That rating will cover you for most outdoor activities, including swimming and snorkeling, provided—and we can’t stress this enough—you remember to push the crown back in after setting the time. Any watch rated less than 100m isn’t practical for everyday wear. And in the sub-$200 range, lower depth ratings can also hint at sub-optimal quality.
The Best Waterproof Watches Under $500
If you’re willing to spend a little extra coin, you’ll find lots of good quality quartz timepieces with water-resistance ratings of 100m or more, and even a few decent mechanical ones too. This price point not only offers a bevy of handsome options, but also more choices rated 200m, the safe minimum for any timepiece that’s likely to be used in the water. If you’re buying a watch specifically to wear underwater, look for one with a screw-down crown, one of the most reliable ways to keep H2O far away from the movement.
The Best Waterproof Dive watches
These timepieces all have three things in common: great water-resistance, above-average durability, and classic dive watch looks. In this range, you can also expect to find higher-quality Japanese and Swiss movements, 316L stainless steel cases, scratch-proof sapphire crystals, and other hallmarks of professional dive watches. If maximum water-resistance is your goal, you can snag an option here rated up to 600 meters, enough for the most serious scuba divers. On the style front, though, these guys tend to be big, bulky and utilitarian, making them more of a weekend accessory than a weekday one—especially if you field your daily Zooms in a dress shirt.
The Best Waterproof Fitness trackers
Fitness trackers can do a lot more than keep tabs on your steps and heart rate, but if they can’t handle a bit of water, they’re not really worth the time. Whether you’re training for a triathlon in the pool or grinding it out on the elliptical, the best waterproof fitness trackers won’t let a touch of moisture get between you and your essential metrics. These bad boys are designed to stand up to your sweatiest workouts, and then some.