No, you should not swim with an IP68 rated watch. The same holds true for an IP67 rated watch. You should stay clear at a pole length’s distance from an IP67 or IP68 rated watch for swimming. For the uninitiated, let us discuss how the IP ratings and ATM ratings affect smart watches and define their abilities for under-water activities and sports. IP68 rating implies that the rated device is rated for Ingress-protection of 68. This implies the device or the smart watch that is IP68 rated is water resistant, but not water proof.
Let us discuss the IP 68 rating in detail. All IP ratings have 4 characters. First two characters (IP) and letters that mean Ingress Protection. The third and the fourth characters are numbers that represent two different things. The third character or number is a rating of the device against dust protection and small particle protection. Maximum possible score for the third character is 6. So, an IP68 watch means that it has the maximum protection against ingression of dust and small particles. The last number represents water resistance with a maximum permissible value of 8. An IP 68 watch has the maximum possible resistance against water. This is precisely where our answer lies. We have a watch that is IP68 rated and is therefore resistant to dust and water to the maximum extent. But, this IP rating does not talk about holding out to the depth pressure exerted on the watch when you are swimming.
When you swim or go below water level, you experience something know as the depth pressure. This pressure increases as you go deeper below water level. As you go deeper, the depth plays out and exerts pressure on everything, including the watch. Due to this pressure, the watch glass, the watch fitments and the sealed unit of the watch will experience a pressure that is higher than the normal pressure at the water level. In most cases, water may enter the sealed unit of the watch to damage the internal watch unit. Or, one of the fitments or body parts of the watch may not be able to withstand the depth pressure. This is the exact reason that we do not suggest swimming with an IP68 rated smart watch.
If you wish to track your swimming activity or if you wish to wear a smart watch during swimming, then look for watches that are rated ATM 5 or ATM 10. An ATM 10 watch is definitely better as it implies that the said smart watch can withstand depth pressure up to 100 meters or 330 feet below water level. A watch with an ATM 5 rating means that your watch is good to withstand depth pressure at 50 meters or 165 feet below water level.
Avoid showering or swimming with an IP67 or IP68 watch smart watch. You will damage your watch. Try to acquire a watch with an ATM 10 rating for complete safety of the watch against depth pressure. The price difference between an ATM 10 and ATM 5 is fully justified in terms of better handling of depth pressure in an ATM 10 watch. Plus, you are able to wear an ATM 10 watch for diving in the pool. ATM 5 works too, for normal swimming in a pool. If budget is not a constraint, an ATM 10 should be the preferred water rating of a watch you intend to wear for swimming. ATM 5 is definitely better than an IP67 or IP68 watch. IP68 is basically a no-go for swimming.
Helen is a geeky nerd who seeks to find and fix tech gaps in the latest gadgets. She is always on the lookout for resolving technical queries of users, and is an avid writer on technical subjects.