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How to Fix a Watch with Water Damage

No matter how careful you are, you can accidentally over expose your wristwatch to water. Whether you drop it into a curbside puddle or get elbow deep into a home plumbing disaster, these are not ideal conditions for timepieces. Your watch’s water-resistance rating is normally displayed on the caseback or at least in its original packaging. With a rating lower than 50 meters/165 feet, you really shouldn’t take it swimming or submerge it at all. And although the shower, hot tub, and sauna do not technically qualify as swimming, it’s advised to avoid exposing your watch to these high heat and high pressure conditions as well.

Why all the harping on water exposure? Well, I’m not sure if you know this, but warranties do not cover water damage. Neither the watch company, nor the manufacturer will provide warranty services, even if the damage occurs during the original or repair warranty time frame. So it truly pays to do your best to keep your timepiece out of the water. But what is a water lover to do when accidental exposure is practically inevitable?

Fix a Watch with Water Damage

Service and Maintenance

If your watch spends a lot of time on your wrist while you’re in the water, it is best to have it serviced yearly to insure that it remains water resistant up to its test rating. Mostly this has to do with your watch’s seals. It’s not easy to tell if the seal has become damaged or deteriorated over time. So finding the moisture leak, which likely stems from the damaged seal, early will save your watch in the majority of cases. Regular service visits will also usually include a pressure test to rule out other potential leak areas. This means that cracks or dents on your watch’s case, probably from inadvertent dropping or banging against hard services, which could also be the source of leaks, would be identified by regularly – i.e. every twelve months – servicing your timepiece.


The first sign of a moisture leak is fogging under the watch’s face. Even the slightest amount of water inside a watch can cause a surprising amount of damage in a very short amount of time. If you’re able to get your watch to a repair shop as soon as possible, this is the best option. But there are also home remedies to be tried.

How to Remove the Water

The first step is obviously to dry the exterior of the watch, using a soft cloth so as to not scratch the glass on its face. Next, the back cover needs to be removed, as if you were changing the battery. A small flat-head screw driver or related tool might be necessary for this step. Pour out any water that remains by laying the watch face down on a cloth. Let it sit in a warm, dry room like this for at least twenty four hours. There are some other remedies that include a hair dryer set on ‘low-heat’ or laying the watch in the sun to dry. Both of these risk high heat exposure and are ill-advised.

After simply replacing the back cover, your watch will likely return to functioning normally. However, it’s extremely difficult to identify small cracks in the seal with the naked eye, so it’s best to take it in for maintenance so you can rest assured that there are no future leaks. Local jewelry shops can easily answer your questions over the phone or via their website if you need guidance, but will surely offer to re-seal and pressure test your leaky watch at your earliest convenience. Otherwise, you’re leaving your watch vulnerable to accidental water damage in the future that could irreparably damage its internal mechanisms, even though you were lucky this time.

Author bio

This is a guest post by Kate Simmons, a blogger on lifestyle tips and advice meant to make your everyday life easier – keep an eye out for more of her informative articles!

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