Water is life. It makes up the majority of Earth and our bodies, and its individual components are some of the most common elements in the universe. Without it, we cannot exist. However, with it, we can ruin some of our most prized possessions whether they be our phones, our watches, or any other number of creations.
But what about those watches stamped with the phrase “water-resistant?” Unfortunately, “water-resistant” is a far cry from waterproof. And half the time, mainly in the cheaper watches, the proclaimed water-resistance doesn’t prove to be that great anyway. And the ones that are actually and truly as advertised often lose their resistance over time.
So, what do we do when our favorite things are ruined by our most needed force? Fix them.
What does it look like?
When water does get in your favorite watch, what exactly does it look like? How can you tell? The crystal, or the glass part, will get foggy. You may see that fogginess dissipating, but that doesn’t mean that the moisture is no longer a problem. There may still be moisture inside the mechanisms, or electronics if you have a quartz watch.
How does it happen?
The moisture within can come from any number of things. It can often come from the temperature and humidity being different between the outside and inside of the watch. This can cause the seals and gaskets to morph and break apart a little bit, letting condensation form.
Another way water can get in is the obvious submersion. If you wear your watch swimming, or you fall in the pool, or you’re out skiing and the snow melts on your wrist, any of these can get your watch wet. Even washing your hands can cause it to happen. But some of these, like washing hands, would really only happen if the seals are already bad, or if the watch doesn’t even have water-resistance to begin with.
How do you fix it?
There are several ways you can fix your water-logged watch. Many of them you need to be careful about. And you also need to be aware that if done wrong, you can damage the inner workings of your watch. Or just by opening it, you can ruin the seals and gaskets keeping it water-resistant.
If used with care, though, the following things can be helpful in drying out a watch.
Rice is perhaps the most common and praised method of getting moisture out of any type of electronic equipment.
All you need to do is fill a little bag with uncooked rice, maybe a half-cup, open the back of your watch and gently lay it in there, making sure no pieces get lost. You can often just leave the watch in there overnight, but sometimes it may need a whole day or two.
You know those little “DO NOT EAT” packets that come with pretty much anything electrical nowadays? That’s a silica gel pack. These are made to absorb moisture when being shipped and stored, so this situation is exactly what they’re made for. If you find your watch in the unholy watered union, store it with one or two of these (if you still have them) for a day or two, and it should be good to go.
If you have a cat, you likely have cat litter. If you have cat litter, you’ve likely emptied it. If you’ve emptied it, then you know it absorbs moisture extremely well. Just like rice and the silica gel packs, you can store your watch in some cat litter to help get the water out of it. Just be careful not to get any of the sand inside the mechanisms of your watch because that could cause some problems of its own.
This is a possible, but kind of risky way to dewater your timekeeper. Remove the back (you may need to take out some of the pieces too, but be careful not to lose anything) and put it in a spot that warms up, like in the sun, under a bright light, under a heat lamp, or under a medium-set hair dryer. You just need to be careful, because an open watch is much more likely to get damaged from dust or other elements than a closed one is.
Still having problems?
If you’re still having problems, go to a professional. Avoid jewelers as they typically don’t have the full range of equipment needed. Go to a professional watch maker/repair specialist. These trained folk will take the watch apart very carefully, dry each individual piece, check for any rust or other damages like warping, clean the pieces, reassemble the watch with the right seals, and then test it.
Some people even recommend you don’t try to fix it yourself at all. They say you may just ruin it by breaking the seals or letting dust get in. So, if you want to play it safe and seek professional help, check out Times Ticking. We can do anything from Citizen watch repair to Wittnauer watch repair and much more. We have 27 years of experience and some really amazing reviews to back us up.