Standard has been updated to provide clarity for consumers.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed a standard for watches sold as water resistant.

The standard has been developed to provide clarity on what the term water resistant means and to provide assurance to consumers that a watch branded as water resistant really does what it claims. ISO claims that there is a degree of uncertainty in the market at present.


ISO 22810 replaces ISO 2281 which has been used by the industry since 1990 when it was first published by ISO. The new 2010 edition removes any ambiguities and brings the content up to date with state-of-the-art developments.

The new International Standard ISO 22810 will require watch manufacturers to prove that their watches are water resistant against what it is calling “industry best practices and international know-how”. For example, the standard will require manufactures to prove that a watch that claims to be water resistant to 30 meters can be worn for all types of aquatic activities to that depth without any water being able to penetrate the case.

Vincent Grossenbacher, secretary of the subcommittee that developed the new standard, said that the introduction of the standard is a win-win situation for consumers and those in the watch trade. He added: “For the first time, manufacturers are free to choose the tests and sampling plan, on condition that the end product meets the requirements of ISO 22810. Consumers, on the other hand, gain guaranteed protection that any watch on the market sold as water-resistant must satisfy ISO 22810 – regardless of the brand.”

ISO 22810 adopts not only a technical approach by giving a set of minimum requirements for water-resistant watches, but also seeks to give consumers useful information – precautions for use, notions of physics – and better all-round protection. It is expected to make a huge splash in the horology industry, ensuring timeless quality and continued customer satisfaction.

ISO 22810 covers watches intended only for daily use and for swimming, while ISO 6425 covers watches that can be used while scuba diving.

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