First came the Apple Watch torture porn videos. Then the reports of ‘Watchgate’ and ‘Steelgate.’ But what does all this clickbait content really tell us about the Apple Watch’s projected durability? Is it doomed almost as soon as you unleash it from its box?
Here’s what you should know.
1. Apple Watch Sport’s Ion-X glass is nearly (but not quite) as scratch-resistant as the sapphire crystal in Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition models, according to Consumer Reports and other torture testers.
2. And yet, Apple Watch Sport’s Ion-X glass shattered when the watch was dropped less than four feet, screen down, onto a sidewalk, as seen in this video from TechRex.
Side note: DisplayMate’s tests discovered that the sapphire crystal in Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition timepieces is twice as reflective as the less expensive Apple Watch Sport’s Ion-X glass. “Using sapphire instead of glass can be a major issue for smartwatches because doubling the amount of light reflected will significantly wash out the display’s own light, leading to worse contrast and saturation, and making it harder to see the image.”
3. The stainless steel body of Apple Watch models is definitely not scratch-resistant, based upon reports from users and according to 9to5Mac. But as the site points out: “Nearly every polished stainless steel watch made from 316L (commonly known as ‘surgical grade stainless’) or the 904L used on Rolex casings can be scratched, scuffed, and show normal signs of wear and tear.” (The mid-priced Apple Watch models feature 316L stainless steel.) Check out the video below to see how you can buff out scratches yourself for about $5.
4. Apple Watch Sport’s aluminum body appears to resist scratches more easily than the stainless steel watches. As PhoneArena reports: “Those who purchased the entry-level Apple Watch Sport model aren’t having the same (scratch) problems thanks to the matte finish on the watch which tends to cover up any marks made to the aluminum.”
5. Apple Watch holds up pretty well underwater, to a degree. As seen in various waterboarding videos, you can shower with it (though not with a leather band). You could even swim while wearing an Apple Watch, at least in a fairly shallow pool for about 15 minutes. But why would you, unless you’re making your own torture porn?
To date, I’ve not seen any torture tests of the gold, $10K-and-up Apple Watch Edition models. Wonder why?
In conclusion: Any Apple Watch will have its Kryptonite. If you buy an Apple Watch Sport, you should worry about the screen scratching or shattering, but not so much about the aluminum body. If you buy an Apple Watch, it’s the opposite. And if you buy an Apple Watch Edition, frankly, you don’t give a damn.
The one takeaway from all this? Even though I rarely recommend extended warranties, I’d say get AppleCare+ for your Apple Watch. Apple’s ‘limited’ warranty only covers manufacturer defects, not operator error.