The Apple Watch finally gets into the hands of consumers today, and that means that the first accidents and warranty claims will start rolling in shortly. If your Apple Watch gets damaged, it’s important to know what your options are when it comes to repairs and warranty coverage from Apple. That kind of info is usually vague, but MacRumors has obtained Apple’s official Visual Mechanical Inspection guidelines, which help the company’s employees decide the type and extent of damage that’s covered under the Apple Watch warranty.
Those with experience with other Apple products won’t be surprised to learn that the company is quite strict when it comes to damage or issues that are fully covered by the device’s standard 1-year warranty. Only debris or dead pixels under the watch’s display, a detached (but undamaged) back cover, or condensation in the heart rate sensors on the back of the watch are officially eligible for no-cost warranty service within the first year of ownership.
Apple will repair many other types of damage, but under its “out-of-warranty” service, which means you’ll be paying for it. Examples include a cracked crown, scratches on the watch case, cracks in the display glass, or a bent enclosure. The cost for repairing these items depends on your Apple Watch model, with the Sport, Watch, and Edition models carrying an out-of-warranty service price of $229, $329, and $2,800, respectively.
Still, just as with other Apple products, there are some types of damage that Apple won’t help you with under any circumstances. That includes a dissembled watch with missing parts (no harvesting gold from the Apple Watch Edition for you), the use of counterfeit or third-party parts, and “catastrophic” damage to the device.
Apple Watch owners concerned about damage that would normally be covered under Apple’s out-of-warranty service can obtain some level of protection by purchasing AppleCare+ for their device, which provides a significant discount on two incidents of out-of-warranty service and replacements. Again, the price of AppleCare+ and the reduced cost out-of-warranty service depend on your model. Owners of the Sport, Watch, and Edition models can purchase AppleCare+ for $49, $59, and $1,500, respectively, and will only pay $69, $79, or $1,000 for out-of-warranty service.
Owners of all Apple Watch models can also receive an out-of-warranty battery replacement for $79, although by the time you need a new battery, your first generation watch will be so woefully out of date that you likely won’t want to wear it anyway.
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