Wearing a watch is one of those things that just feels right. It is a symbol of class, wealth, and power, and it is only fitting that a watch should last a long time.
However, no matter how careful you are with your watch, it is likely to get rusty, dirty, and smelly over time. And if you are unlucky, you’d notice moisture on the inside of your watch. If you’ve ever had this problem, you’re not alone – and you probably don’t want to be.
All our watches are subject to some degree of moisture damage, especially when we spend a significant amount of time in cold environments. Over time, this can lead to slow, frustrating, and costly repairs.
Here are 5 ways to remove condensation from watch face without visiting your jeweler:
What Water-resistant Means for Your Watch
Water resistance is one of the most important specs watch owners look for in watches these days. And it can be a deciding factor when you’re picking a waterproof watch. Water resistance refers to a watch’s ability to work underwater.
The back of our watches has engraved water-resistant values. However, dive watches or mechanical watches engraved with a 100 meters rating don’t always mean you can dive 100 meters deep with it.
There’s nothing like a 100 percent waterproof watch. With time, water-resistant watches lose their resistance. Most waterproof watches rely on the O-ring around the crown to protect them from moisture.
This O-ring is a gasket that acts as a seal around the crown of the watch. Considering that the O-ring gasket is often made from silicone or rubber, it turns to wear out with time, thus reducing the resistance of the watch. This wearing out may take months or years, but it happens.
How to recognize condensation forms in a waterproof watch
Before we dive into how to get the moisture out of your watch, it’s a good idea to show you how condensation looks like in a watch.
Condensation in a waterproof watch looks like a couple of tiny drops of water that appear on the inside of your watch. In case you’ve got a foggy watch face, then it’s probably because of condensation.
What causes moisture in a watch?
Condensation in a watch occurs due to several reasons. Understanding these reasons can help prevent subsequent occurrences.
1) Sharp temperature change
Suspended air particles from cold weather or during winter may get inside a watch and once you get inside a warm area, these particles liquefy forming droplets on the inside.
2) A compromised gasket
If the water-resistant seal in some watches is compromised, you may see condensation form from time to time.
Gaps around the crown can also be a source of the moisture damage you experience. Consider visiting a reputable watchmaker to repair the compromised gasket.
3) Prolonged immersion in water
If you submerge your water-resistant watch underwater for a long period, condensation can form. This is because the pressure in the water over time can force some water to pass the waterproof gasket.
4) A crack on the watch dial
If there’s a slight crack in the watch’s glass, suspended air particles from cold weather can easily enter the watch. Once this happens, condensation easily takes place once these air particles liquefy.
5) Quality of the watch
Poorly made watches with very weak waterproof gaskets are prone to water damage. If the quality of the watch isn’t what you thought it would be, it’s a good idea to return it. Most of the problems fall into this category.
6) Absence of water-resistant feature
Some watches are not water-resistant at all, making the condensation easy to form. Once some non-water-resistant watches are mistakenly dropped in water and not treated quickly enough, the likelihood of condensation forming is high.
How do you defog a watch?
So then, how can you stop your watch from steaming up? There are a few Do It Yourself (DIY) methods to remove condensation from the watch without causing damage to the watch. Try out these simple methods and in no time your watch will look as good as new.
1) A bed of rice.
Instant rice or uncooked rice is reportedly more effective at absorbing droplets of water. Professionals have used rice in the past to protect camera equipment from a humid environment.
Remove the crown of your watch and submerge it in a small container of rice. You can also use an uncooked bowl of rice in this case. Leave it for a night or two before checking the watch face to see if it has absorbed the moisture.
2) Silica gel sachets or cat litter
Silica gel packets are perfect for removing condensation from a watch. Remove the crown of the watch and submerge it in a container full of packets of silica gel. Leave it there for a day or two.
If you can lay your hands on some pieces of cat litter instead, follow the same procedure to get the fog off your watch.
3) How to Remove Condensation from Watch using Direct sunlight
On sunny days, you might use direct sunlight to evaporate the condensation and defog your watch. Remove the back of the watch (if it is easily removable) and lie the watch face and crystal directed downwards in a position where the sunlight can warm it. Allow the watch in sunlight for some time and check it regularly to prevent overheating.
4) Alternative heat source
If it is possible to remove the back of your watch, and the battery. Use a blow dryer on low heat to dry the inside of the watch. Using an alternative heat source is very intuitive.
Place the hair dryer a few centimeters away to reduce the level of heat the watch gets. If possible, use the hair dryer in the open air so you end up with the lowest dew point inside your watch when you are done. Allow the watch to cool for a couple of hours before you put it back together.
5) Visit a reputable watchmaker for repair.
If you damage the watch, a trip to a reputable watchmaker (not a jeweler) is necessary. No matter the level of water damage to the watch, we highly recommend bringing the timepiece to a watchmaker repair shop for repairs as soon as possible.
How to prevent condensation in your watches.
You can use preventive measures to avoid subsequent condensation problems. We list a few below:
1.) Pay attention to the water-resistant that a manufacturer recommends for a particular timepiece.
Always make sure you use the watch below the resistance levels indicated by the manufacturer to compensate for the wearing of the water-resistant seal.
Different ways of expressing water resistance include BAR, ATM, and meter. But what do they mean?
- 3 ATM/BAR or 30 meters water resistance rating: This watch is resistant to rain and water splashes.
- 5 ATM/BAR or 50 meters water resistance rating: You can wear this water resistance watch during swimming. They are not suitable for snorkel or diving.
- 10 ATM/BAR or 100 meters water resistance ratings: This water resistance watch is good for most water sports like swimming, sailing, and snorkeling. However, they are not suitable for deep diving.
- 20 ATM/BAR or 200 meters water resistance rating: You can use this waterproof watch for many water sports, including deep diving. They can withstand high water pressure.
2.) If you notice a crack in the screen, make sure you replace it as it already presents a risk.
3.) Don’t submerge the watch in water for longer periods if it is not necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I stop my watch from steaming up?
For many watch owners, the concept of condensation inside a watch is nothing new. It’s a fact that everyone with a watch gets frustrated at least once.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these occurrences. One of those ways is to take note of your watch’s “waterproofness” and stay within those limits when you use it.
Can water damage a Rolex?
Though Rolex shines when it comes to watchmaking, their watches are not free from water infiltration.
As earlier said, no watch is water-resistant forever. However, servicing your watch occasionally should keep condensation or any water-related issues away from your watch.
How can you tell if a watch is water damaged?
You may already know that water damage is the number one reason why watches break. This is true for all brands of watches, high-end and low-end.
No matter how carefully you treat your watch, there are still chances that it can be damaged by water. There are a few places to check if a watch is water damaged.
- The Watch Dial: The easiest way to know that your watch is water damaged is if it suffers from condensation. If you notice moisture in the watch face, then it’s probably due to condensation. You can follow the simple methods above to deal with this issue.
- The Watch Performance: Often time, moisture can damage the inner workings of the watch. If the hands of your watch stutter or stops working, this is probably because moisture has damaged the moving parts inside. Make sure you always check the battery (power source) before you conclude.
- The Luminous Hands and Markers: If you own a luminous watch, it’s also a good idea to check the luminous hands and markers especially if the watch is new. Check to see if these parts still glow. If they don’t, then this is probably due to water damage. Most Luminous watches use luminous paints like Luminova and SuperLuminova and they are easily affected by moisture.
Whether a cheap casual watch or a luxury timepiece, a foggy watch is not a lovely sight to behold. You should get rid of the condensation in a watch early on before it damages the dial of the watch.
You may have a different method to get rid of moisture inside your watch. However, we’ve just given a handful of the popular ones.