For many, smartwatches are a practical and elegant addition to everyday outfits. Apart from design, the degree of dust or water resistance can also be a key factor when choosing a watch. We’ll tell you what IP67 and IP68 mean for watches, and what to look for when choosing one.
Waterproof vs. water resistant: what’s the difference?
When choosing a smartwatch, you may have already come across the terms waterproof and water resistance. Both describe the resistance of a watch to water ingress, but each in slightly different ways.
What does it mean for a smartwatch to be waterproof?
Water resistance refers to the resistance of a smartwatch’s seal to the ingress of solid particles (such as dust) and liquids (such as water). However, this is only resistance in the context of short-term exposure to water. Just because a device is waterproof does not mean that you can bathe or shower with it without worry.
In this case, the so-called IP certification is used to express the degree of resistance. The smartwatch is then marked with a code in the form IPXX, where the first digit indicates resistance to solid particles (dust) and the second indicates resistance to liquids.
What does it mean that a smartwatch is waterproof?
The “waterproof” designation is already given to devices that are able to withstand a defined time/distance underwater without being damaged by that stay.
Water resistance can be expressed in barrels, atmospheres or meters, where these values tell how much water column pressure can be applied to a smartwatch without water penetrating it. In the case of metres, you get an approximate idea of how deep you can dive with the watch.
One bar/atmosphere means that the smartwatch is waterproof to a depth of ten metres. So if you’ve come across a watch whose manufacturer claims 5 ATM water resistance, you can dive with it to a depth of 50 m.
It is important to note, however, that these are values obtained in laboratory conditions. In practice, the smartwatch’s resistance to water will be lower.
Smartwatch water resistance table
The previous paragraph has already mentioned that the waterproof rating of smartwatches or other electronics cannot be taken literally. Laboratory conditions, for example, do not account for salt or polluted water, so you should take the certification outputs with a grain of salt. For example, for swimming in the sea, in most cases, watches with a 10 ATM rating are suitable.
Water resistant Water resistant Water resistant Watch is resistant to humidity. They should not come into direct contact with water. 3 ATM / 4 bar / 30 m The watch will survive brief encounters with water. They should not be harmed by rain or hand washing. 5 ATM / 5 bar / 50 m Watches do not need to be removed for surface swimming, even showers should not be a problem. 10 ATM / 10 bar / 100 m Watches are designed for snorkeling and water sports at the surface. 20 ATM / 20 bar / 200 m Watches are suitable for water sports, snorkeling or deep diving. 30 ATM / 30 bar / 300 m The watch is designed for professional divers who dive with apparatus.
Smart watch water resistance chart
Smartwatch water resistance chart (IPXX certified)
The water resistance parameters are then generated in a similar way to the waterproofness. So you shouldn’t take the certification literally here either. It is also important to note that IP certification differs from the previous one not only in the type of resistance, but also in that it deals with dust resistancein addition to water resistance.
A higher level of certification does not necessarily mean that all the features of the previous levels are included. For example, a smartwatch labeled IP68 may not be splash-proof. For more detailed information on the certification of a given device, please refer to the manufacturer’s specifications.
IP Certification Characteristics IP4X The watch is resistant to ingress of very small objects. IP5X The watch is partially dust resistant. IP6X The watch is dust resistant. IPX5 Watch is resistant to splashing water from a distance of up to 3 m for 3 min. IPX6 Watch is resistant to intense splashing water, rain or spills. IPX7 Watch can withstand immersion to a depth of 1 m for 30 min. It should therefore survive accidental immersion. IPX8 The watch can withstand immersion to a depth of at least 1 m (maximum specified by the manufacturer). IPX9 The watch is pressure water resistant.
Summary of smartwatch IP specifications