I felt it coming; it was an almost sickening feeling. My beloved Apple Watch Series 7, squeezed like a slice of salami between a block of wood and my wrist that was supporting a nearly 75-pound package, encountering a bit of sand trailing over it.
My arms, suddenly gaining herculean strength, quickly lifted the heavy package to relieve the pressure, but it was too late. The sand or gravel covering the wooden frame had carved a tiny, gruesome canyon into the once nearly pristine face of my Apple Watch Series 7.
I feel guilty.
First, it’s important to recognize that this is an aluminum Apple Watch Series 7. No stainless steel or titanium. This is important because the crystal is not made of the sapphire you might find on a high end Breitling watch. Instead, it has Ion-X Glass, which is supposed to approximate a form of rugged Gorilla Glass.
This watch glass, which protects the laptop’s large, colorful and wonderfully sharp Retina LTPO OLED display, is good enough to withstand knocks, drops or awkward bumps in a corner of the desk. It’s not scratch-proof, however, and in the battle between the pressurized grain and the glossy surface of my Apple Watch Series 7, it lost a lot.
My problem is that I have been wearing this watch almost every day since September. It’s one of the first things I put on in the morning – even before I shower – because I train six days a week; I really love how it tracks my curls, push-ups, etc. I also wear it for walks – leisure, exercise and commuting. My Apple Watch doesn’t leave my wrist until the end of the day. (To be fair, I don’t shower or sleep in it.)
It’s on my wrist so constantly, I’m the guy you see taking calls and talking on his wrist like a modern day Dick Tracy (opens in a new tab). The watch is a wonderful companion and I won’t apologize for using it as such.
So sue me if I wore it while I was undertaking the rather arduous project of cleaning out one of my basement crawl spaces. A little history of the house to help you understand the unique characteristics of this space:
Almost forty years ago someone dug up our basement and put all the dirt, gravel and sand (four feet) behind a concrete retaining wall. They added a closet entry and framing around it, then used the space above the still exposed sand to store things. When I bought the house, I continued the tradition. Recently, however, I found that I had to clear the space to access faulty wiring. And since I happen to have a dumpster at my house for a major kitchen renovation, I thought now would be a great time to clean up.
The incident happened when I decided to dispose of a disassembled and boxed early 1990s computer desk. The pressboard sheets were extremely heavy. I reached under the bag with my right hand (I’m the rare right-hander who wears his watch on my right), slid it onto the wooden frame (part of the sand retaining wall) and stood am prepared to hoist it all out of the crawl space.
I didn’t hear the scratching, but I felt it in my wrist.
hard to see
To be honest, I didn’t look at my watch right away, hoping, like A Christmas Story (opens in a new tab)‘s Ralphie and his BB-shot goggles, that while it hurt, the damage was probably minimal, maybe not even noticeable.
Shortly after pulling the bag out of my house, I took a look at the Apple Watch Series 7. To my horror, there was now a large, unsightly gash in the center of the screen of the show. I ran my finger over it. It was deep, messy. Terrible.
Disheartened, I removed the watch and put it on the charging stand while I finished my work.
I can’t say for sure that Sapphire Crystal would have held up better, but I suspect all I would have gotten was a scratch and not that half-inch-longer divot.
My advice is that if you do heavy work or work with your hands and have an aluminum Apple Watch, take it off before you start or at least invest in a decent Apple Watch screen protector or case. Your Apple Watch will thank you for it.
The next step
There is not much to do for the damage. I don’t think it’s going to get any worse and thankfully my Apple Watch Series 7 is working as if nothing had happened, as if unaware of its disfigurement.
I could have it fixed. If it was under warranty or if I was an AppleCare+ member, it might not cost me anything. I’m not. I can still get it fixed (opens in a new tab)but it would cost, at $299, almost as much as a new Apple Watch.
I won’t fix it but I will continue to wear it. Every time I see the flaw, I curse myself and silently apologize to my Apple Watch Series 7. It deserved better than this.