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Is The Stainless Steel Apple Watch Band Waterproof

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You love wearing your Apple Watch. But you also love jumping into a swimming pool, an ocean, or hot springs in winters to have that relaxing and entertaining dip. I know what you are worried about. Can you get both together? Is the stainless steel Apple Watch band waterproof, and can you take it under the water?

Don’t worry alone. Count me in. We will proceed together in getting the answers to our questions. So, let’s start finding them out.

A simple and concise answer that I found to our question is, No, our stainless steel Apple Watch band is not waterproof. Hey, hold on! I know the answer is somewhat disappointing for you. But, that’s not all. It is not waterproof; however, it is water resistant. But, what does that mean? It means we can wear our stainless steel bands while washing our hands or enjoying the rain, but wearing it in jacuzzis, swimming pools, and having a dip on beaches is not recommended.

But, it’s not necessarily prohibited. By going through the users’ reviews and experts’ recommendations, we can get a detailed guide on how and when to wear our stainless steel Apple Watch band in and under the water.

To understand clearly, we need to have a deep insight into what is meant by being water resistant and waterproof and the difference between the two features. Moreover, what makes a watch band water resistant or waterproof, and what precautions do we need to take while using any one of them. So, let’s move ahead to dig deep.

What is Water Resistance and What Does it Mean for Stainless Steel Watch Bands?

If I talk about the technical definition of water resistance, it implies the ability of a product to resist water penetration into it to a certain extent but not completely.

Since damage caused by water, such as corrosion and rust, is one of the most common problems experienced by people who like to wear metal watch bracelets, getting a watch band that protects itself from these harms makes sense.

Water resistance for various products, including watches and watch bands, is usually measured or rated according to the IP water resistance rating. But, when it comes to Apple Watch and Apple Watch bands, it’s not the case. Apple uses standard rating criteria for its watches and accessories that depend upon the depth tests.

What is IP Rating, and How is it Different from Apple Standard Rating?

IP is an acronym for Ingress Protection. It is the rating method used to classify the resistance levels or protection a product or material provides against foreign bodies such as water, dust, etc. Most electronic devices and gadgets available in the market, including smartwatches and smartphones, use the IP rating system to measure the degree of water resistance a product offers.

Apple does not use the same method for its iWatches. Instead, the company uses a standard method that includes lab testing for the effectiveness of water resistance. The watches are tested for various depths of water. For example, most Apple Watches, excluding those from Series 0 or Series one, are water-resistant up to 50 meters.

A question just popped up in my mind. Does it really mean that I can dive deep down to 50 meters with my stainless steel Apple Watch band?

Let’s see what experts say about that.

If your watch and its band claim to be water-resistant up to 50 meters, it doesn’t mean that you try to put its effectiveness to the test. It is tested in the labs to have an estimate of the pressure it can handle at that depth. Hence, practically trying it for scuba diving may cause damage.

Here is another important thing that I want to bring to your knowledge. Water resistance is not a permanent quality and may reduce over time. Don’t forget that most Apple Watch bands are not designed to stand repeated impacts. And these watch bands cannot be retested. Therefore, if your watch bracelet has once come safely out of the water, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ready to take a dive again.

What is the Difference between being Waterproof and Water Resistant?

Unfortunately, many companies throw these two terms as if they could be interchangeable. But this is not the case. I have already told you that water resistance is the ability to avoid water penetration to a certain degree. On the other hand, the technical meaning of being waterproof is the impermeability to water, regardless of the time a product is subjected to water.

It implies that a water-resistant watch band can be kept on while washing hands, in the rain, washing dishes, or taking a bath, but preferably not in the swimming pools. In comparison, a waterproof watch band is just perfect to be dipped in the water for as much time as you want to stay there.

What are the Two Stainless Steel Band Options for the Apple Watch?

For anyone who has a hankering to give their Apple Watch a more dressy look, there are two stainless steel watch bands that the company offers:

  • Milanese stainless steel band
  • The stainless steel link bracelet

Milanese Stainless Steel Band

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Designed in Milan to give your iWatch the desirable Swiss timepiece look, it is one of the most sought after stainless steel watch bands. But, we aren’t here to talk about how does it look. Instead, we need to know whether it is waterproof or not.

A clear answer that I got after my research was from the manufacturer itself.

Barb Ottawa, a customer, asked a question on the official Apple website. Just like you and me, he wanted to ask whether he could wear his watch band during swimming or not. And the representative replied that the Milanese watch band should not be worn while swimming.

Probably, because of the mesh design, when water accumulates in the closely braided metal, it takes time to get dry. A long stay of moisture in there may cause damage.

Stainless Steel Link Bracelet

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/XWtLfUVccskof2WgTXhl1OaTBbwtke-_CbJPwBCgdzLlw8KOArzgczLxXFp4lOykp2-Xsx9E0o2j_NK1N6a-6dO49XLx7gaRLxrtwRJ0NwumyKKM8R1_7SnR0nmoLFbxpdn5uZg=s1600

This is the other stainless steel watch band option we have from Apple. This bracelet is made with the highest quality stainless steel, 316L, that is resistant to rust.

It means that this product can be used in or under the water. Though the website nowhere mentions that it is either waterproof or water resistant.

Why not Check what their Customers have to Say?

When I don’t find any authentic source of information online, I usually check what other users have experienced. So, let’s see what they have to say:

  • Kathleen, a Milanese watch strap user, commented on 10th September 2021 that she swims two hours daily with this watch band on her wrist and has never noticed a problem.
  • Lori Ann, another Milanese watch band user, reported on August 2021 that she is a regular swimmer who sometimes spends her whole day in a pool and has never faced any problem with her watch band.
  • On another forum, I got to know that seawater can cause erosion or rust, but it’s safe to take these watch bands into a swimming pool (not too often, though).

My Verdict

The Apple itself states that ‘not all bands are appropriate for water use. For example, the stainless steel and leather bands aren’t water resistant and shouldn’t be exposed to liquids’. Still, many customers have experienced no problems at all with the watch bands after keeping them under the water for a long time and repeatedly.

To be on the safer side, I would recommend getting a separate sport band for swimming. After all, you are not going to attend a board meeting in the pool to make your watch look showy down there.

Vivian Ma

Vivian Ma

Hi, I’m Vivian Ma, the founder of ibandio.com, I’ve been running a factory in China that makes watch straps for 8 years now, and the purpose of this article is to share with you the knowledge related to watch bands from a Chinese supplier’s perspective.

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