In this article, we are going to explain the meaning of 6 bar water resistance in a watch. This is another one of those cases where the terminology can be a bit confusing to some. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have a much greater understanding of this term and what it really means.
The first thing we are going to do is give the simple definition of 6 bar water resistance. A watch that has a 6 bar water resistance can withstand the pressures up to a depth of 60 meters underwater. That is the short version of the story.
However, there is a lot more to learn about this topic. You will need a bit more info to better understand this. First of all, what exactly is meant by the word “bar”, and can a 6 bar watch really be worn 60 meters under water? We will answer these questions and more throughout this article.
What Does the “Bar” in 6 Bar mean?
So, when we use the word “bar”, we are actually referring to a very specific unit of measurement. What we are actually referring to here is atmospheric pressure. This is comparable to the term “ATM” if you have heard that before.
Sometimes the terms Bar and ATM are used interchangeably. So, 6 Bar could also be referred to as 6 ATM. Technically though, a Bar is slightly smaller than ATM, but watch manufacturers will usually consider them the equivalent, since the difference is so small.
Anyway, back to the explanation of a Bar. A Bar measures the atmospheric pressure at sea level. It increases for every 10 meters down that you go below sea level.
So, basically what this means is that you are already at 1 bar before you go underwater. This is the measurement of atmospheric pressure. Once you go 10 meters underwater, you are at 2 bar. Then at 20 meters you are at 3 bar, and so on.
So, wouldn’t 6 bar really be 50 meters underwater instead of 60? Technically yes! But the watch manufacturers are not going by technical definitions. This is probably to make thigs easier to understand for consumers. So, if a watch is rated 6 bar then the intention here is that it can go 60 meters underwater.
That leads us to the next point, which is, what can you actually do with a watch that has a 6 bar water resistance?
Can You Really Take a Watch With 6 Bar Water Resistance 60 Meters Underwater?
You may think that your 6 bar water resistant watch is good for 60 meters underwater. After all, that’s what is advertised, right? Well, the truth is, that you should not actually take a 6 bar water resistant watch 60 meters underwater.
Yes, it is true that it technically can handle that much pressure. But the question is for how long and under what conditions? To better explain that we will need to look at how water resistance is actually tested.
How is a Watch’s Water Resistance Tested?
There are really 3 main ways a watch is tested for water resistance. Usually this involves it being fully submerged in water, sprayed with water jets, or put in a chamber of compressed air.
When it is tested through submersion, the watch is placed completely underwater at its specific rated depth.
When it is tested with water jets, the watch is sprayed with a force equivalent to the resistance that it is rated for.
And lastly, when it is tested with compressed air, the watch is placed in a chamber where compressed air exerts a force equivalent to its listed resistance.
The problem with these methods is that they do not account for all of the factors involved. For instance, swimming, will put additional pressure on the watch. Therefore, if you are wearing the watch at its listed depth, and then swim, this would exert additional pressure on the watch.
Also, there is the question of how long a watch can remain underwater and withstand the pressure. So, when looking at these factors, you will realize that a watch shouldn’t necessarily be worn at the depth it is rated for.
An exception would be certified diving watches. For a watch to be certified as a diver’s watch, it must be able to withstand a depth of at least 100 meters underwater, as well as pass other strict requirements.
So, what can 6 bar water resistance actually handle? Here are some general guidelines concerning water resistance. Once again, here ATM is pretty much the same as Bar in this case.
Water Resistance General Guidelines
- 3-5 ATM: Can withstand splashes of water, rain, and maybe even showering, but shouldn’t be fully submerged in water.
- 10 ATM: Can handle swimming, snorkeling, and maybe even scuba diving.
- 20 ATM: Can handle deep diving.
- 30 ATM and up: Suitable for professional diving, or saturation diving
So, here, you see that 6 bar sits in a weird place. It’s past 5, but below 10, so I would say you could probably go as far as swimming with it on at a surface level. This would make it safe for rain, showering, and surface level swimming.
That pretty much wraps up our brief look into 6 bar water resistance. When buying a watch (or any device for that matter), it is important to know what the water resistance rating means. No one wants to ruin a new watch by exposing it to greater water pressure than it can handle.
Hopefully this little article has helped you to get a much clearer picture of 6 bar, and water resistance in general. Now you know that you can’t always go by the listed rating, but rather have to determine how much water your watch can truly handle.
If you enjoyed this article, then we have plenty of other informative articles about watches. You can learn more interesting or lesser known facts about watches. These articles can be found here