3 ATM Water Resistant: Can It Damage Your Watch?

Nowadays, most watches are water-resistant. However, it is vital to note that it is not a static thing; the level of water resistance varies from device to device.

A common unit of measurement for water resistance is the ATM. It is a measure of the watch’s resistance to pressure. Or, more precisely, the amount of pressure that a watch can withstand when submerged in water.

This article will go over exactly what 3 ATM water resistance means. Further, we will discuss what you can and can’t do with such a level of water resistance. But first, what exactly does the abbreviation “3ATM” mean?

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

What is meant by 3ATM Water Resistant?

3 atm water resistant explanation

[su_note note_color=”#c4e5f9″]The 3 ATM water resistances refer to a watch’s ability to withstand 30 meters of water. The ATM used here stands for “atmosphere.” It’s a measure of the watch’s resistance to pressure.[/su_note]

Remember that a 30-meter indication on a watch labelled “water-resistant 3 ATM” does not indicate that the watch is suited for swimming up to 30 meters but can endure the pressure of a 30-meter water column.

Can A 3 ATM Water Resistant Watch Really Withstand A Depth of 30 Meters?

With a 3 ATM water-resistant watch, the first thing that comes to our mind is whether or not it can endure a depth of 30 meters underwater.

According to theory, a watch rated with 3 ATM water resistances may sustain a pressure of 3 bar (30 meters) without losing accuracy. But in reality, it probably can’t. So, what’s the reason?

It has to do with the water resistance rating of a watch. Most watches are not rated for their capacity to endure submerged to the specified depth. Instead, they are graded depending on how much water they can withstand when sprayed with a stream of water that matches their water resistance rating.

For a 3 ATM water-resistant watch, it must be able to withstand a stream of water equal to 30 meters of pressure being sprayed at it. However, there is a big difference between being sprayed with 30 meters of pressure and submerging 30 meters underwater.

With the water jet spray, the watch is only subjected to that type of pressure for a short time. Furthermore, the pressure remains constant and all around you when submerged to 30 meters or more. It means that a watch can endure being submerged for 30 meters.

However, this may not be possible, and even if it is, it may not be feasible for an extended period.

What You Can And Can’t Do With 3 ATM Water Resistance

In reality, a 30-meter water resistance rating isn’t all that impressive. According to how water resistance ratings are calculated, 3 ATM water resistances are equivalent to splash resistance.

As a result, you should be able to wash your hands and wear them in the rain with no problem. Further, it is safe to assume that it will not be damaged if liquids or water are poured on it. It’s also possible to shower with it, but we don’t suggest it.

Thus, these timepieces should not be worn while bathing, swimming, or diving. Because it is impossible to predict how long a watch rated at 3 ATM water resistance will last when fully submerged.

What Are the Different Levels of ATM Ratings?

3 atm water resistant watch
Credit: https://www.active.com/

Even though water-resistant watches can be worn in the water, they have a specific water resistance rating based on how much pressure they can sustain.

Smartwatches have water-resistance ratings ranging from 3 to 20 ATMs depending on the model. Moreover, divers’ watches are made to perform at depths of more than 200 meters.

0 ATM 

Let’s start with a 0 ATM rating. A water resistance rating of 0 ATM signifies that the watch cannot be submerged in any water because it has zero ability to withstand any water pressure.


Water-resistant smartwatches with a certification of 3 ATMs can withstand pressures of up to 30 meters. These gadgets can withstand rain and splashes without damage.

Luxury timepieces typically fall between these two highlighted categories (0 and 3 bar) because the weight of seals and reinforcements is compromised for visual elegance.


5 ATM water resistance is the standard definition of water resistance and is perfect for diving, swimming, showering, and hand washing.

10 ATM

Water-resistant watches with a 10 ATM rating can survive up to 100 meters of water pressure. Smartwatches typically have a water resistance of 10 ATMs. Watches like this are ideal for a wide range of water sports such as swimming and snorkelling, rain splashes, hand washing, and showering underwater.

In general, such a grade signifies that the watch thrives in practically any type of high water resistance.

20 ATM 

Professional mariners or chronograph watchmakers typically use watches with a water-resistance rating of 20 ATMs.

ATM Rating What It Means
O ATM No Water Allowed
3 ATM Suitable for showering
5 ATM Good for Diving
10 ATM Best for Snorkelling
20 ATM Highest water resistance rating used in chronograph watches

How Do You Properly Maintain and Use Your 3 ATM Devices?

To maintain the water-resistant performance of the watch, try to follow these steps to prevent damage to the device. These suggestions include:

  • Do not submerge the device for more than an hour in water.
  • Do not expose the device to direct water contact with pressure, like water running from a tap.
  • Avoid subjecting the device to rapid changes in temperature, whether it is of the air or the water.
  • Dropping or impacting the smartwatch can destroy its water and dust-resistant features.
  • Avoid chemicals including hairspray, perfume, chlorine, and alcoholic beverages.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, it is all about the 3 ATM water-resistant. Watches with 3 ATM water resistance ratings are suitable for light rain or water splashes. They are not meant to be fully submerged to a depth of 30 meters.

Hopefully, this article clarifies all your doubts about 3 ATM water-resistant watches. Plus, this article will help you choose the best water-resistant watch according to your needs. But still, if you have any queries regarding this topic, please feel free to comment in the section below.

Thank you for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Are 3 ATM water-resistant watches suitable for swimming?

No, watches with a 3 ATM water-resistant rating can only tolerate light rain, hand washing, and minor water contact. It is not, however, recommended for showering or swimming.

How to calculate the number of meters of water resistance from an ATM number?

For calculating the number of meters of water resistance from an ATM number, it is important to identify how many meters an ATM number stands for. To find this out, you have to multiply the ATM number by 10. In the case of a watch with a 3ATM water-resistant rating, multiplying three by 10 gives you 30 meters of water resistance.

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