5ATM Vs IP68 Water Resistance: What’s The Difference?

In this article we will be explaining the difference between 5ATM Vs IP68 as it pertains to the water resistance of a watch. The first thing that I will do though, is give a very brief and concise answer to the question. Following that, I will explain the topic in much more detail if you are interested. So first, the brief definitions of each term.

If a watch has 5ATM water resistance, this means that it can withstand the equivalent water pressure of 50 meters underwater. If a watch has an IP68 water resistance, this means that it is both dust tight, and can withstand being fully submersed into water over a meter deep.

Those are the simple and clean definitions of both 5ATM, and IP68 water resistance ratings. But I’m sure, of course, that you want to know more, right? For instance what do the terms 5ATM, and IP68 actually stand for? And which one between the two is actually the better water resistance overall? We will get into the details, and answer those questions and more throughout this article.


5ATM Vs IP68: An Explanation Of The Terminology

In this section, we will explain why, exactly, the terms “ATM, and IP, are actually used. We’ll start with 5ATM. We actually did an article a while back going in depth into the meaning of 5ATM. You can check that out here if you are interested. Since we are talking about 2 different terms here, this will be a compressed explanation to help keep this article short.

What Does 5ATM Stand For?

The “ATM” in 5ATM stands for “Atmospheres”. This refers to the amount of pressure a watch can take. What we are talking about with watches is how much pressure below sea level it can take. A watch rated 5ATM can theoretically withstand pressures equivalent to that of 50 meters below sea level.

The reason I say “theoretically” is because of the way this resistance is tested. Rather than actually take a watch 50 meters underwater, a lot of times the watch is sprayed with a water jet for a brief period. The force of this water jet is equivalent to the pressure of 50 meters underwater.

So in actual application a watch that is rated 5ATM may or may not actually be able to withstand a depth of 50 meters underwater. There is, after all a difference between being briefly sprayed with water pressure, and actually going underwater while being exposed to increasing pressure from every angle.

What Does IP68 Stand For?

Next, we’ll take a look at IP68. First of all, The “I”, and “P” in IP stands for “Ingress Protection”. This is just a fancy way of stating how effective a watch case is at keeping physical materials out of it. IP ratings usually have 2 numbers. Each one is for a separate type of resistance. The first number would represent the resistance to physical objects such as dust and dirt. The second number applies to the water resistance.

Different IP numbers correlate to different physical and water resistances. The physical resistance number ranges from 1 to 6, while the water resistance number ranges from 1 to 8. In each case, the higher the number is, the greater the resistance a watch will have. For example, an IP20 rating would mean that a watch has a resistance to touch by fingers, and no resistance against water. In this case, the 2 is the physical rating, and the 0 is the water rating.

In the case of IP68, the 6 means that a watch is dust tight, therefore it would be completely resistant against dust. The 8 means that it can withstand being fully submerged in water at a depth over one meter. As for how far over a meter it can go, oftentimes this may be specified in the product manual.


5ATM Vs IP68: Which One Is Actually Better?

So If you’ve been keeping up so far, now that we know what both 5ATM, and IP68 stand for, it should be pretty easy to tell which one has the better water resistance between the two. Clearly a water resistance of 5ATM is going to be better than IP68.

Even though, in the case of IP68, you may not know how much further than a meter the watch is resistant, more than likely it won’t be too much. And it most probably won’t exceed 50 meters! This is because a greater water resistance would probably mean a more expensive watch.

Having a water resistance of just over 1 meter means less strict criteria for water resistance, which should help to keep the prices down by keeping manufacturing costs down.

Now at that, the next thing that we need to look at would be why the terms 5ATM, or IP68 are even being used in the first place. Why not just list how many meters of water resistance a watch has?

Why Is This Type Of Terminology Even Used?

There are a couple of reasons why one would use these different terms to describe water resistance.

One reason to use these abbreviations is that it is simply a much quicker and easier way to accurately describe a watch’s resistances. In many cases, using abbreviations just makes things a lot more simple and clean.

Another good reason is that it inspires confidence from consumers. Using these abbreviations make a watch seem more “official”, or “certified” to handle the specified conditions. As a matter of fact, the standards for IP codes are set by the International Electrotechnical Commission.


Wrapping Things Up

So hopefully today you have gained a better understanding of the differences between 5ATM Vs Ip68. They are two totally different standards use to gauge the water resistance (and dust resistance) of a watch.

There have always been a lot of misconceptions about these two terms, and what they mean. I hope that this article has helped you to better understand the distinction between these terms.

If you liked this comparison, we have other comparison articles between watches and other things that you can check out here

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