Whether you’re testing the limits of a new dive watch, or you’ve found yourself somewhere with a shared bathroom, and you don’t want to leave your watch unattended, it can be tempting to keep your watch on in the shower. Let’s find out if you should, and what that might do to your watch.
No, you should never wear your watch in the shower. The combination of hot water and soap or shampoo will degrade the rubber gaskets that keep your watch’s water resistance over time. This will reduce your watch’s water resistance rating, and require more frequent watch servicing or repair. Even a watch that’s completely waterproof, like a dive watch, can be damaged by wearing it in the shower.
Why You Shouldn’t Shower With Your Watch
While it may be tempting to shower with your watch on, you shouldn’t ever do it with a watch you care about.
When it comes to mechanical watches, the hot temperature can degrade the rubber gaskets, a ring inside the watch that keeps water from getting inside. Over time, this can cause water to get inside your watch and damage it completely.
Soap and shampoo can not only degrade the gaskets in the same way but can also leave a soapy, gunky residue that builds up over time.
With most decent watches, you won’t notice the effects of showering with your watch on until you’ve been doing it for months, or possibly years.
This is why some people think showering with a watch on is no problem. They do it once or twice and see nothing is noticeably wrong with their watch right away, without thinking of the long-term effects.
What About Water Resistant Watches?
Watches that are water-resistant are meant to keep water out of the watch, but not gas or air.
The heat of a shower causes the air inside the watch case to expand.
This wears the gaskets a bit, further degrading them over time, but the big problem is what happens next.
When you step out of the shower, and as the watch cools, the moisture from the air gets inside of the watch, beginning to slowly oxidize the parts inside, including the hands, dial, and even the movement.
This will also dry up the oils in the movement over time and eventually require you to have your watch serviced much more often than you would otherwise.
If that wasn’t bad enough, soap and shampoo can also get stuck underneath a bezel or in the crown as they are some of the hardest parts of a watch to clean thoroughly.
I Accidentally Wore My Watch in the Shower, What Should I Do?
- If it’s water-resistant, like a dive watch, fill a cup or bowl with a mixture of lukewarm (not hot) water and a few drops of dish soap.
- Let the watch sit in the water for about 10 minutes.
- Take it out, and scrub it off with a clean toothbrush, making sure to get all over the watch, including between bracelet links.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean tap water. Make sure to run the water between
- Dry it thoroughly.
This helps clean off all the soapy gunk that comes from the soap and shampoo while showering. The dish soap helps to cut through the body soap and shampoo that may have gotten on your watch, so it can be rinsed off easier. This process is also important after taking a swim in a pool with chlorine, or saltwater from the sea.
When is it OK to Shower Wearing My Watch?
If you really want to push your luck and shower with your watch on (and I don’t recommend it), here are a few tips:
- Make sure it’s water-resistant to at least 100 meters (A watchmaker can verify a watch’s water resistance, don’t just believe whatever water resistance rating is written on the dial).
- Shower with a watch you don’t care much about, like a beater, or one that’s very cheap and easily replaceable.
- Never operate the crown or chronograph pushers while showering or otherwise submerged in water.
- Only shower in cold water.
- Make sure the crown is screwed down, all the way.
- Wash it off with some cold tap water after.
- Dry it thoroughly.
You want to have a watch with a minimum of 100 meters of water resistance since any less can cause easily cause condensation to get inside of your watch.
What about Dive Watches?
Dive watches that have a water resistance rating of 200m are usually designed for diving and of course can handle a swim, or getting caught in the rain, no problem.
Some may think this means you can shower with a dive watch.
That’s not at all the case.
Just like any other watch, dive watches will suffer the same fate of degraded gaskets and lose their water resistance over time.
Losing your water resistance on a dive watch is the last thing you want to happen since the entire point of a dive watch is for it to BE water resistant!
If you want to check if your dive watch is still water-resistant, even after showering with it, you can take it to almost any watchmaker and they should be able to perform a water resistance pressure test.
My Crystal is Foggy, How do I Defog it?
If your watch fogged up after wearing it in the shower, or for any other reason, it’s likely a gasket seal on your watch was compromised and water or moisture entered the case.
Your first instinct may be to put it in a bag of rice as if it were an iPhone or another electronic device that may have gotten wet. Do not do this.
Silica gel sachets work similarly as rice to remove condensation in a watch, but without all of the mess. Leave the watch surrounded by the silica packets in a container overnight, or as long as it needs for the condensation to disappear.
Alternatively, you can leave your watch out in direct sunlight. Leave the watch with the crystal facing up. It helps if it’s a warm, sunny day, and leaving the watch outside would be even better.
If you live somewhere where you only have a few hours of strong sunlight, you can try putting the watch on top of a towel and underneath a lamp.
If that doesn’t work, you can try opening the watch, removing the movement (trickier than it seems), giving the crystal a wipe, and making sure to use a dust blower to remove any potential fingerprints or dust spots afterward. Only do this as a last resort, as opening your watch up can lead to a variety of issues, if you aren’t extremely careful.
You’ll need to find a watchmaker to check the water resistance rating of your watch and replace any rubber gaskets as necessary, as that’s likely the cause of the moisture getting into your watch in the first place.
Can I wear My Watch in the Ocean?
Yes, you can swim in the ocean with your watch, as long as it is water-resistant (I recommend 100m and up for a swim, just to be safe). Always make sure to wash it off with a tap or bottled water afterward to remove any salt from the saltwater, which can also damage your watch, if left unchecked.
What About the Pool?
Just like the ocean, as long as your watch is truly water-resistant, you can swim in the pool with it, no problem. Chlorine and other chemicals can eventually damage your watch if not cleaned off, so be sure to give it a good rinse afterward.
What About Baths?
Baths are a little safer than showering with your watch on since they usually don’t produce as much moisture or water pressure. Just make sure you don’t take a hot bath, as that’ll degrade the gaskets just like a hot shower.
You also still want to avoid using soap or shampoo, as it’ll still get inside the nooks and crannies of your watch and be hard to cleanout.
Can I Wear My Watch in the Hot Tub?
Hot tubs can be just as bad for your watch, if not worse. The combination of heat, water pressure, and chemicals can degrade watch seals very easily, if not cause condensation to build.
Always give your watch a good cleaning after wearing your watch in the hot tub.
Will My Watch Straps Get Destroyed in The Shower?
Aside from the watch itself, not all watch straps are waterproof, and some will get ruined when wet.
You especially want to avoid wearing leather straps of any kind in the shower, including exotic animal straps such as alligator, crocodile, ostrich, etc.
Just because an alligator can swim doesn’t mean an alligator watch strap is waterproof!
Metal bracelets, NATO, perlon, and rubber straps are all waterproof and you’d be fine wearing any of them in the shower
Can You Wear an Apple Watch in the Shower?
Apple suggests that showering with an Apple Watch Series 2, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple Watch Series 4 is ok, but just like mechanical watches, soaps, shampoos, etc. can permanently affect water seals and negatively influence water resistance.
Unlike mechanical watches, Apple watches can’t ever have their water-resistance rechecked, so you’ll want to be extra careful about avoiding showers with your apple watch.
Can You Wear a G-Shock in the Shower?
While many G-Shocks are coated in a durable resin material, that doesn’t mean it’s an exception to the effects of showering with a watch we spoke about earlier.
You shouldn’t shower with your G-Shock watch, as their gaskets can degrade in the same way as that of a mechanical watch.
Though, because of the affordability of some G-Shocks, you may be willing to take that risk. That’s up to you, though I’d avoid it entirely.
Can You Wear a Rolex in the Shower?
While Rolex is the most well-known watch brand and tends to make extremely high-quality watches, they’re not indestructible.
Rolex watches will suffer the same fate as any other watch if showered with them too many times. As spoke about earlier, the heat will degrade the gaskets, water-resistance ratings will drop over time, soapy gunk will get in places they shouldn’t be and overall, and you’ll require more trips to the watchmaker for a service.
Not worth the risk.
Can You Wear a Fitbit in the Shower?
Fitbit’s own support page says that the Fitbit Flex is water-resistant, but says you should not shower or even swim while wearing it. The same goes for some of their more water-resistant models such as the Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Charge, they’re not meant to be submerged in water, nor to withstand that level of water temperature.
Conclusion – Don’t Shower With Your Watch
With all the negative consequences showering with your watch can have, it’s just not worth the risk unless it’s a watch, you just don’t care much for. In which case… Why do you want to wear it so badly, even when taking a shower?
12 thoughts on “Can You Wear a Watch in the Shower?”
Great review about Water Resistant Watches. Thank you
I’ve showered with my 150m and 200m and 300m dive watches for the last 61 years same watches for months at a time and never had a problem so I’ll keep doing it till the day I die.
Hey Rob, glad your watches have been holding up! Watches are made to be worn, so I don’t blame you. I just wanted to inform the potential dangers for those who may be on the side of caution with their (often) new watch.
I wear my SKX in the shower all the time. But I’m also someone who wouldn’t mind paying the repair cost, if push came to shove.
Yeah I’ve wore my pulsar 100 meters in the shower for 15 years and its as good as new but I bought a citizen watch 100 meters and it can’t take the shower it gets moisture in it so if I can’t shower in it I don’t need it.
I just bought an Invicta Pro Diver watch for about $80 bucks. Should I shower with it on? I used a Fossil Chronograph watch that was 10 bar water resistant and I showered with it all the time. But the Invicta Pro Diver is 20 bar water resistant. Is it worth the risk showering with it on? Note, the Fossil watch didn’t have a gasket whatsoever, it was just a screw down back.
Hey Stefan, I personally want to point out that you likely can wear the Pro Diver in the shower for quite a while, without issue. Just know there is also a chance (albeit how small) that this may cause a point of failure, and require service, in the future.
What a load of rubbish. I have always worn a watch, Rolex, IWC, Patek etc all my working life, 57 years and never had a problem. What you are suggesting is wrap them up in cotton wool and keep them in a safe in case in rains. As above, rubbish article.
Martin, I’m glad that you’ve been enjoying your watches for many years, without failure. As someone who owns multiple luxury watches, I’m sure you’re very knowledgeable about the potential dangers you are risking by wearing your watches in the shower. Choosing to accept those risks is one thing, but we must consider the other readers who may read this article – not everyone is willing to take that same risk, nor are many aware of the potential service costs that would come with a required service after water damage in a movement.
Hi Martin, as someone who rebuilds watches for a living, I can say that all of the information above is entirely accurate. While some watches “can” and do survive the hot shower, this is often due to luck as much as anything else. Right at this moment I have no less than 20 watches that I am rebuilding due to wearing in the shower, that caused case and gasket seal expansion and deterioration, ultimately leading to movement failure…it broke the watch. Probably 70% of the movement replacements and repairs that I do reveal some degree of water damage, and most customers tell me that they never swim with it on…but they do shower with it on or leave it in the bathroom… just words from someone who fixes watches for a living and tells all his customers “never wear your watch in the shower”, like most every watchmaker I know.
Thanks for your input, Con. I can see how one might wear a watch in the shower for a while, without failure, not realizing the gaskets and etc. are actually degrading slowly over time. Most expect water damage to demonstrate itself immediately, and if they wear a watch in the shower, and the next day the watch is fine, they assume there is no damage, which is not always the case.