Unlocking the Secrets: How to Safely Remove Moisture from Your Waterproof Watch

Unlocking the Secrets: How to Safely Remove Moisture from Your Waterproof Watch

Understanding the Importance of Moisture Removal in Water-resistant Watches

Are you tired of dealing with a foggy watch face every time you go for a swim or get caught in the rain? We've all been there, and it can be frustrating to have a water-resistant watch that isn't truly waterproof. But fear not, because we have the solution! In this article, we will unlock the secrets of safely removing moisture from your watch, ensuring that it remains in top-notch condition for years to come.

Whether you're an avid diver or simply enjoy outdoor activities, having a timepiece that can withstand water is essential. However, even the best water-resistant watches can fall victim to moisture build-up, leading to foggy screens and potential damage. That's why we've compiled a step-by-step process that will help you eliminate moisture and restore your watch's functionality and clarity. Say goodbye to blurry timekeeping and hello to a crystal-clear watch face. Let's dive in and discover the secrets to keeping your watch moisture-free!

What is the difference between a waterproof and water-resistant watch?

The original pocket watches weren’t water-resistant at all: water resistance became important with the development of the first wristwatches. Specifically, Rolex invented the first truly water-resistant watch case, the Oyster, around the end of the Twenties. Back in that time, watch companies called this kind of watches “waterproof”.

But around twenty-five years later, with the development of professional and amateur diving, they companies discovered that they needed to divide watches in several categories based on technical performance, that is, the maximum depth reachable without water seeping in.

The original Rolex Submariner, presented in 1953, was water-resistant to 100 meters. From that time, brands use the “water-resistant” wording, and write the maximum depth reachable by the specific watches on the dials.
Today, everyone uses the term “water-resistant” with the number of meters, and not “waterproof” anymore.

rolex submariner waterproof watch

The Rolex Submariner (from Rolex website)

Why is important to remove the moisture in water-resistant watches?

Even the best water-resistant watches can fall victim to moisture build-up, leading to foggy screens and potential damage to their delicate inner mechanisms. Moisture inside your watch can cause corrosion, rust, and even damage the delicate internal components. That's why it's crucial to understand the importance of moisture removal and take the necessary steps to keep your watch moisture-free.

Removing moisture from your watch not only ensures its functionality but also prolongs its lifespan. By eliminating moisture, you prevent potential damage that could lead to costly repairs or the need for a complete replacement of some parts of the movement. Additionally, a clear watch face allows for easy timekeeping and enhances the overall aesthetics of your watch.

To learn more about watches, buy The Watch Manual here

The Risks of Leaving Moisture in Your Watch

Leaving moisture in your waterproof watch can have detrimental effects on its performance and durability. As you know, moisture can lead to corrosion, eating away at the internal components and causing irreparable damage to the steel-based ones. This can result in malfunctioning buttons, impaired timekeeping accuracy, water damage to dials, or even a completely non-functional watch. Furthermore, moisture can create a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, which can cause unpleasant odors and potentially harm your skin upon contact.

Ignoring moisture build-up in your watch can lead to long-term damage that may not be covered by the warranty. It's essential to address any signs of moisture as soon as possible to prevent further complications and maintain the integrity of your waterproof watch.

Signs of Moisture Damage in a Waterproof Watch

Detecting moisture damage in your waterproof watch is crucial for timely intervention. Some common signs of moisture build-up include a foggy or hazy watch face, condensation inside the watch, or tiny water droplets visible under the crystal. You may also notice that the hands or markers on your watch are not moving smoothly or that the watch is gaining or losing time unexpectedly. Any of these signs should raise concern and prompt you to take action.

If you suspect moisture damage, it's important to act quickly to prevent further complications. Delaying the removal of moisture can lead to more severe damage that may require an expensive professional intervention. Now, let's dive into the step-by-step guide to safely removing moisture from your watch.

Seiko watch moisture

The moisture in a Seiko watch (from Seikomods website)

Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Removing Moisture from Your Watch

Removing moisture from your water-resistant watch requires a careful step-by-step process to ensure the best possible results. Follow these instructions to safely eliminate moisture and restore your watch's functionality and clarity:

**Step 1: Remove the watch from contact with water**

If you notice moisture build-up, and your watch is still submerged in water, remove it immediately. Leaving the watch in water for an extended period can further increase the risk of water seeping in and causing moisture damage.

**Step 2: Wipe the watch dry**

Use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently wipe the exterior of the watch. Pay close attention to the areas where water is most likely to accumulate, such as the case back, crown, and crystal. Be careful not to apply excessive pressure or rub too vigorously, as this can cause scratches or damage to the watch's finish.

**Step 3: Open the case back (if possible)**

If your watch has a removable case back, carefully open it using the appropriate tools. Be cautious and refer to the manufacturer's instructions to avoid damaging any seals or gaskets. Opening the case back allows airflow and aids in the natural evaporation of moisture. If removing the case back is impossible, unlock the crown and pull it to the last step possible. Please note: if you open the back of your watch, you will invalidate the warranty (if still valid).

**Step 4: Place the watch in a dry environment**

Find a cool, dry place to store your watch while it dries. Avoid direct sunlight, as excessive heat can damage the watch's internal components. Consider using a watch drying pouch or a container with desiccant packets to absorb moisture more efficiently.

**Step 5: Wait patiently**

Allow your watch to air dry naturally for at least 24 hours. Avoid the temptation to rush the drying process by using external heat sources such as hairdryers or ovens, as this can cause damage. Much better to let nature take its course, and water to evaporate naturally.

**Step 6: Check for moisture**

After the recommended drying time, carefully inspect your watch for any remaining signs of moisture. If the watch appears dry and clear, you can proceed to close the back, set the time with the crown, and wear it as usual. However, check it carefully: if moisture is still present, you may need to repeat the drying process or better, seek professional assistance.

Following these steps will help you safely remove moisture from your water-resistant watch and restore its functionality. However, prevention is always better than cure. Let's explore some tips for preventing moisture damage in your watch.

Six Tips for Preventing Moisture Damage in Your Water-resistant Watch

Taking proactive measures to prevent moisture damage in your waterproof watch can save you from future headaches and expenses. Consider the following tips to keep your watch moisture-free:

**1. Check the water resistance rating**

Before exposing your watch to water, ensure that it has an appropriate water resistance rating. Different watches have different levels of water resistance, so check the manufacturer's specifications to understand the limits of your watch. Remember: apply these indications very conservatively.

**2. Always check that the crown is screwed in tightly**

Most of the times, water enters a watch because the user did not check that the crown was safely screwed in or tightly closed. Remember to double-check if the crown is tightly closed before using the watch in water.

**3. Avoid extreme temperature changes**

Rapid temperature changes can cause condensation build-up inside your watch. Different metals react differently to heat and cold, so extreme temperatures could allow humidity to find a way into the case. Try to avoid exposing your watch to extreme heat or cold, as this can lead to moisture creation.

**4. Rinse your watch after saltwater exposure**

If you've been swimming in the ocean or have exposed your watch to saltwater, like wearing it during a boat trip, rinse it gently but thoroughly with freshwater afterward. Saltwater can be corrosive and accelerate moisture damage if left on the watch.

**5. Regularly check the seals and gaskets**

Over time, the rubber and silicon seals and gaskets that keep your watch water-resistant can wear out or degrade. Regularly inspect them for signs of damage or wear and ask your professional watchmaker to replace them when necessary.

**6. Service your watch regularly**

Professional maintenance is crucial for the longevity of your water-resistant watch. Schedule regular servicing with a reputable watchmaker to ensure that all components are functioning optimally and any potential moisture issues are addressed. Remember that the optimal timeframe between two maintenance services is five years.

By following these tips, you can minimize the risk of moisture damage and keep your waterproof watch in pristine condition for years to come.

Blancpain Bathyscaphe Chronographe

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronographe (from Blancpain website)

The Importance of Regular Maintenance for Water-resistant Watches

Regular maintenance is essential for the continued functionality and longevity of your watch. Even if you haven't noticed any signs of moisture build-up, it's still crucial to have your watch serviced periodically. Professional watchmakers can detect potential issues and address them before they become more severe.

During a typical watch service, the watchmaker will inspect the seals, gaskets, and movement of your watch. They may also clean and lubricate the necessary components to ensure optimal performance and test your watch for water resistance.

To learn more about watches, buy The Watch Manual here

Recommended Products for Maintaining a Moisture-Free Watch

Several products are specifically designed to help maintain a moisture-free environment for your watch. Consider the following recommendations:

**1. Watch drying pouches**

These special pouches contain moisture-absorbing materials that help remove moisture from your watch. Simply place your watch in the pouch and leave it for the recommended time.

**2. Silica gel packs**

Silica gel packs are small packets that contain silica gel, a desiccant that absorbs moisture. You can place these packs in your watch storage box or case to help keep the environment dry.

**3. Dehumidifiers**

Investing in a dehumidifier for your watch storage area can help maintain a consistently low humidity level, reducing the risk of moisture build-up.

**4. Watch winders with drying functions**

Some watch winders feature built-in drying functions that help remove moisture from your watch while it's being wound. These can be a convenient option for enthusiasts with multiple automatic watches.

Professional Services for Moisture Removal in Water-resistant Watches

If you have attempted to remove moisture from your waterproof watch but are still experiencing issues, it may be time to seek professional assistance. Watchmakers and authorized service centers have the expertise and specialized equipment to diagnose and resolve moisture-related problems effectively.

Professional services for moisture removal typically involve a thorough inspection, cleaning, and drying process. They may also replace any damaged seals or gaskets to ensure the watch remains water-resistant. While professional intervention may come at a cost, it is often the best option for restoring your watch to its optimal condition and avoid to experience the same situation in the next future.


Moisture build-up can be a frustrating and potentially damaging issue for your waterproof watch. However, with the knowledge and steps provided in this article, you can safely remove moisture and prevent future damage. Remember to act promptly at the first signs of moisture, follow the step-by-step guide for moisture removal, and implement preventive measures to keep your watch moisture-free in the future.

By understanding the importance of moisture removal, regularly maintaining your watch, and investing in recommended products, you can enjoy your water-resistant watch worry-free. Don't let moisture ruin your timekeeping experience - unlock the secrets to a moisture-free watch today!

To learn more about watches, buy The Watch Manual here


The Watchonomicon is an independent blog, written and managed by The Watch Manual. The Watch Manual is NOT affiliated in any way with any brand mentioned in articles. 


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