What does 3 ATM water resistance mean?

Vaer Watches Updated by Vaer Watches

The ATM scale of water resistance in watches starts with 1 ATM as a base resistance - though this rating is uncommon, as it is only found on the lowest quality watches and is rarely advertised or printed on the caseback. If you're shopping waterproof watches for men with a budget over $50, the vast majority of options you're going to encounter are watches with 3 ATM resistance.

Chinese-made fashion watches from brands like Daniel Wellington, MVMT, and Vincero are typically 3 ATM - and like many other aspects of these watches, there's a lot to be desired when it comes to in-water resistance. While a 3 ATM (30 meter) rating sounds pretty substantial, it actually only indicates that the watch can withstand light splashes and hand washing. Anything beyond this runs the risk of breaching and ruining the watch.

In general, you should avoid 3 ATM watches - especially because far superior 10 ATM watches are often available for a similar price.

"3 ATM watches are really the lowest of the low and are one of the tell-tale signs of a cheap Chinese-made fashion watch. Be especially concerned if you see a brand promoting a 3 ATM watch as a rugged outdoor option, because it really shouldn't be trusted anywhere outdoors where there's a legitimate chance of rain."

- Reagan Cook, Vaer Co-Founder

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