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Are Watches Damaged by Cold Weather?

Are Watches Damaged by Cold Weather?

In short - no, it’s unlikely that cold weather will damage a watch. It is however possible that extreme cold weather can affect the accuracy of some watches, for example, mechanical watches. This is because mechanical watch parts are made from metal which expand and contract with changes in temperature. Typically, under high temperatures, a watch tends to lose time, and under low temperatures, it tends to gain time.

With this in mind, if you’re looking for a robust watch to accompany you on your skiing holiday or a cold mountain hike, it’s best you invest in a watch that is especially designed for extreme weather conditions. 

The Best Extreme Weather Watches

With so many weather-proof watches out there, it can be pretty challenging trying to find the best one for you. This is why we’ve hand-selected some of the best (long-lasting) extreme watches the industry has to offer, to help you with your decision. 

The best extreme weather watches include:

  1. Apple Watch Ultra
  2. Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Chronometer
  3. Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project
  4. Linde Werdlin Spidolite Nord
  5. Casio G-Shock Rangeman


1. Apple Watch Ultra

Inspired by explorers and athletes from around the world, the Ultra smart watch by Apple has been designed to take on extreme environments, elevations and temperatures.

With a bigger, brighter display and rugged design, it is the perfect technical tool for adventurers and explorers in a range of environments. In fact, it accommodates the most extreme environments in outdoor exploration with an on-wrist operating temperature from -4° to 131° F. So, whether you’re hiking across chilly mountains or blazing deserts, you can have complete peace of mind that the watch will remain in reliable, quality condition. 

As well as hiking and running, the Apple watch ultra is ideal for water sports, including extreme activities like kitesurfing and wakeboarding, along with recreational scuba diving to 40 metres with the new Oceanic+ app

Discover more incredible information about the Apple Watch Ultra here. 


2. Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Master Chronometer

The Seamaster Planet Ocean watch by Omega is another watch that comes to mind when thinking about durability and extreme weather-resistance/water-resistance capacity. This incredibly resilient watch is water-resistant up to depths of 600m and features a helium escape valve, which ensures that pressure does not build up inside the watch when it ascends back up. 

As well as being a dive watch that can hold its own in frigid ocean waters, the Seamaster is also a wondrous timekeeper suited for extremely cold weather. While most movement lubricants freeze at temperatures around -22°F, the seamaster uses a specialty oil that allows it to function all the way down to temperatures of a whopping -94°F. 

Strong yet lightweight, its titanium casing allows you to carry the watch with incredible ease. It is without a double one of the most robust watches available today. 

3. Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project

The plan for the original Omega Speedmaster Alaska was to survive the extreme temperatures on the dark side of the moon.

It uses a “standard” Speedmaster with a modified dial and hands in conjunction with an outer anodized aluminium thermal shield. This allows the watch to withstand temperatures, in lunar or spatial atmospheres, ranging from -148C to +260C. 


4. Linde Werdelin Spidolite Nord

Inspired by an expedition to Mount Everest in 2007, the Linde Werdelin Spidolite Nord has been designed to balance strength with lightness and optimise performance, particularly in high altitude pursuits. No wonder it’s a popular choice amongst skiers. 

Inspired by the colours of the North Sea’s deepest waters, this robust watch features a sand-blasted anti-corrosive titanium grade 2 case, ceramic bearings, as well as a strengthened balance wheel to maximise how reliable the timepiece is. 


5. Casio G-Shock Rangeman

Just like it says on this tin, the Casio G-Shock Rangeman is one of the most shock-resistant, tough watches on the market. Encased inside a thick layer of heavy-duty resin, the Rangeman is virtually impervious to electric shocks, vibrations, gravity, and temperatures as low as -80°F. Additionally, this G-Shock watch also has a depth rating of 200m, making it durable even underwater - perfect for extreme water activities. 

Reliable and incredibly accurate, the G-Shock comes with a battery that can last up to two years. In addition to this, the watch’s Tough Solar technology allows the watch to charge itself with the sun or any other source of light. Pretty cool, right? 

Other impressive features include an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, a thermometer, sunrise and sunset data, five alarms, and much more. 


Qualities of Extreme Weather Watches 

Accurate and Reliable Movement

In order for a watch to be truly extreme, it needs to come with a highly accurate movement and reliability.  If the case takes a beating, its movement should also be able to withstand the force and still work efficiently. A wristwatch that does not keep track of time properly will simply become pointless.

Incredible Durability

Robustness is not just on the inside. To be associated with “extreme weather”, a watch has to be capable of handling harsh weather conditions and work efficiently even after shocks, bangs, and scratches. In addition to this, extreme weather watches should be able to handle water, dirt, and grime, which are almost guaranteed when wearing the watch during outdoor activities. 

Multiple Resistances

As well as durability, an extreme watch must also be resistant to various elements. Weather is incredibly unpredictable, and you can go from a light shower to a full-blown thunderstorm in a matter of seconds.

Any strong watch that can survive water pressures, extreme temperatures, and heavy dirt can certainly be called an extreme timepiece.


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Written by Kate, for Watch Obsession.

Main image by @realwatchbrothers of the Doxa Sub300T Aquamarine