Apple Watch Series 7 Water Resistance

Apple Watch Series 7 water resistance wetsuit

The latest Apple Watch just dropped. Like its predecessor, the Series 7 wasn’t injured by the fall. Far from it. A range of upgrades leave the wrist-borne computer in fine fettle: sleeker design, larger screen, tougher glass, faster charging, five new colorways, brighter display, a QWERTY keyboard, blood oxygen monitoring and sleep tracking. What hasn’t changed: water resistance. Like its predecessors, the Apple Watch Series 7’s water resistance is 50m. What does that mean? According to Apple . . .

Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Series 3 have a water resistance rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010 (link added). This means that they may be used for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or ocean. However, they should not be used for scuba diving, waterskiing, or other activities involving high-velocity water or submersion below shallow depth.

How shallow is shallow? What does Apple mean by “high-velocity”? Let’s take a deep dive on the Apple Watch Series 7’s water resistance . . .

Apple Watch water resistance bubbles

Fifty meters (164.04 feet) of water resistance may seem like plenty, given that the average swimming pool is only 2.44m (eight feet) deep and Jaws still keeps most swimmers close to shore. But that’s not how it works. A watch’s water resistance rating isn’t just about how deep you can dive with your watch without destroying it. It indicates the amount of atmospheric pressure (ATM) the watch can withstand.

I say “just” because the Apple Watch Series 7 water resistance is partially related to sustainable water depth. The deeper you go underwater, the greater the atmospheric pressure – an increase of roughly one ATM per 10 meters or 32.81 feet. The water pressure at the top of a swimming pool is 1 ATM. The pressure at the bottom of an eight foot/2.44m deep pool doesn’t even make it to 2 ATM.

The Apple Watch Series 7’s 50m water resistance equals 5 ATM. So if you’re not swimming down to 164 feet what’s the problem?

Water pressure also increases as as you go through water and as your watch strikes the water. Or water strikes the watch.

The H2O coming out of your kitchen tap generates roughly 3 ATM. Not a problem. While no one recommends exposing any watch to the soapy chemicals and humidity showering entails, a showerhead’s water pressure doesn’t max out the Apple Watch Series 7 water resistance either. Posing for Instagram underneath a Hawaiian waterfall wearing a Series 7 or rinsing off a dirty watch with a pressure washer? There’s your trouble

Apple Watch Series 7 water resistance chart

Hakuna matata when you’re wearing an Apple Watch Series 7 playing Marco Polo in a pool or doing the Australian crawl for boring lap after boring lap. At least that what Apple says. The majority of watchmakers disagree.

Maybe that’s because their lawyers aren’t as good as Apple’s lawyers, but there it is: the parting of the waves ways between cautious traditional watchmakers and the watch industry disruptor. While Cupertino’s timekeeper wins the looking swim-ready stakes, keep in mind that the Apple Watch Series 7 water resistance rating is exactly the same as a Jaeger leCoultre Master Date dress watch. 

Waterproof chart

What about body surfing? Or diving – as in jumping into a pool? Do these aquatic activities imperil your Apple Watch Series 7? Yes. Yes they do. And the more frequently your Apple Watch smacks the water’s surface during a cannonball competition (for example), the higher the risk of compromising the case and, thus, the Chinese electronics within.

By the same token, the higher you dive (in terms of feet not drug use), the greater the atmospheric pressure inflicted on your Apple Watch Series 7. Which is why Apple’s fine print exempts them from responsibility for damage due to diving, hidden under the slyly-disguised category “activities involving high-velocity water.”

Bottom line: The Apple Watch Series 7’s water resistance makes the mini-computer suitable for fitness fanatics who [somehow] like lap swimming. If you’re an active pool or ocean frolicker, this is not the water resistant watch you’re looking for. And remember: if someone steals your Apple Watch while you’re splashing about, the Find My Watch app can help cops collar the crook, throwing cold water on his/her/their/its plans to profit by your horological responsibility.

5 comments

  1. The minute someone can make rugged, G-Shock “smart watches” at entry level G-Shock prices, it is going to be game over for a lot companies.

    1. That watch does exist

      Is the Garmin Instinct Solar

      I own one and I am very impressed: Solar, always on time, rugged, 100m WR and affordable (300 euros). Oh, and it US also and excellent wrist GPS

      I also own dozens of G Shocks and Divers

    2. Or if Seiko makes a Spring Drive version for us senile folk who forget to put their smart watch on the charger every night.

  2. So presumably one can do ginger, low-impact “jogging” type swimming, but clearly not any type of all-out sprint? That probably works for most of the market.

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