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Let’s Clear the Confusion: Your Smartwatch Isn’t Waterproof, Here’s Why

Smartwatches have become incredibly popular in recent years, offering a wide range of features and functionalities. From tracking your fitness goals to receiving notifications, these wearable devices have become an essential part of many people’s lives. However, one common misconception among smartwatch owners is that their device is waterproof. In this blog post, we will explore the truth behind this belief and explain why your smartwatch is not as waterproof as you might think.

Understanding Water Resistance

Before we delve into the limitations of smartwatches’ water resistance, it’s important to understand what water resistance means in the context of consumer electronics. Water resistance is measured using a rating system known as the Ingress Protection (IP) rating. This rating indicates the level of protection a device has against solid particles and liquids.

Typically, smartwatches come with an IP67 or IP68 rating. IP67 means the device can withstand being submerged in water up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) for up to 30 minutes, while IP68 indicates that the device can handle being submerged in water at depths greater than 1 meter, usually specified by the manufacturer. However, it’s crucial to note that these ratings are tested under controlled laboratory conditions and may not accurately represent real-life scenarios.

Limitations of Water Resistance

  1. Pressure and Depth: The IP ratings mentioned above are based on tests conducted in static water conditions. Real-life scenarios can involve variations in water pressure and depth, which can exceed the limits specified by the IP rating. Therefore, activities like swimming, diving, or even showering with your smartwatch on can subject it to pressures that go beyond its water resistance capabilities.
  2. Salt water: It is also important to know that IP ratings are tested in fresh water. Even if your watch is truly waterproof, that doesn’t mean that it can also withstand the extra-corrosive properties of salt water. Just think about it: Why are real traditional dive watches (that are 200m+ waterproof) are built like tanks and have screw-down crowns? Why does the service of G-Shock models include a pressure test?
  3. Aging and Wear: Over time, the water resistance of your smartwatch can deteriorate due to wear and tear, exposure to various environmental factors, and degradation of seals and gaskets. Even if your smartwatch had excellent water resistance when you purchased it, it may not remain as effective after months or years of use.
  4. Temperature Extremes: Extreme temperatures can impact the water resistance of your smartwatch. Rapid changes in temperature, such as moving from a cold environment to a hot shower, can cause seals to contract or expand, compromising their effectiveness. Similarly, exposing your smartwatch to high temperatures, like leaving it under direct sunlight, can lead to internal damage.
  5. Water Resistance vs. Waterproof: It’s important to differentiate between water resistance and being truly waterproof. While water resistance can provide a level of protection against accidental splashes or brief immersion, it does not guarantee complete protection against water. A device labeled as waterproof would be able to withstand any water-related activities without any negative consequences.

How resistant are the most popular smartwatch models?

The truth is that most smart watches, including the Samsung Galaxy 4, 4 Classic, 5 and 5 pro, the Google Pixel Watch, most HUAWEI models and even the Apple Watch series are only water resistant up to 50 meters. Even if they are advertised as watches that you can swim or scuba-dive in, they are actually not up to the task and will fail sooner or later. They will reliably survive some sprinkle of water like when you wash your hands or get caught in light rain, but that’s what 50m really means and that’s what 50m meant 25 years ago too in the world of horology.

No day passes without a Facebook Group post or a Reddit thread without someone wondering why their watch is dead after swimming in it. Yes, it will probably not die the first time you submerge it, but why gamble with an expensive device? Do you really need it during a shower or swimming? Use a dive computer then, they are actually built to be waterproof.

Want proof?

Here is the Waterproof Level section of a very popular smart watch which was advertised heavily with imagery of scuba diving:

5 ATM, Dive (up to 30 meters)

*This product complies with 5 ATM-rated 50-meter water resistance under the ISO 22810:2010 standard, and can be worn during shallow water activities, such as swimming in pools and shallow waters along the coast. This product meets the requirements of the EN13319 standard for diving accessories, and supports free diving with a maximum depth of 30 m.

*It should not be work in hot showers, hot springs, or saunas (steam rooms), nor during platform dives, high-pressure rinsing, or other activities that involve high water pressure, high temperatures, high levels of humidity, or fast-flowing water.

*It is not suitable for scuba dives, technical dives, and diving activities exceeding a depth of 30 m. Rinse off the watch with fresh water after using it in seawater.

Read between the lines: It is not really suitable for swimming or diving… especially when you find this in the small print:

Water resistance is not permanent, and protection may decrease with daily wear and tear.

Protect Your Smartwatch

To ensure the longevity of your smartwatch and minimize the risk of water damage, it’s crucial to follow these tips:

  1. Understand the IP Rating: Familiarize yourself with your smartwatch’s IP rating and the associated limitations. This will help you make informed decisions about when and where to expose your device to water.
  2. Avoid Submerging in Water: Unless explicitly stated by the manufacturer, avoid submerging your smartwatch in water, especially beyond the limits of its water resistance rating.
  3. Rinse and Dry: If your smartwatch comes into contact with water or sweat, rinse it with fresh water and thoroughly dry it using a soft cloth. This will help remove any residue or moisture that may cause damage over time.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Take care of your smartwatch by regularly inspecting the seals, gaskets, and charging ports for any signs of wear or damage. If you notice any issues, consult the manufacturer or authorized service center for assistance.


Most smartwatches are only water-resistant. This means that they can withstand some exposure to water, but they are not designed to be submerged in water for long periods of time. If you take your smartwatch swimming or diving, you are risking damaging it. If you want to avoid expensive repairs and want it to last for a long time, just take it off before you shower and leave it behind when you go swimming.

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