Apple sapphire debate

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by ajm222, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. ajm222 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    #1
    Jumped back on the forums recently and noticed that every other thread in the AW forum has someone suggesting Apple is using some cheaper form of sapphire in their AWs. Comments about 'impurities' and the glass scratching much easier than the sapphire in your average mid-range watch.

    I find this highly, highly unlikely. I haven't watched the Youtube videos yet that people keep linking, and I am wondering if this is coming from just a single video. But sapphire is a very simple material. Impurities aren't going to impact hardness. Color maybe, but it shouldn't impact hardness. It's also no longer an expensive thing to produce. Cutting costs by using some sort of cheaply produced sapphire, if there even is such a thing, isn't going to save Apple any money whatsoever. And while I imagine all companies cut corners here or there, Apple typically doesn't make a habit of this. Certainly not on something like the grade of a sapphire crystal, on the screen of a watch that's constantly being handled and advertised as being extremely durable. It just doesn't make any sense.

    There are ways to scratch sapphire with something slightly softer than sapphire if the impact is done in a certain way at a certain angle. There's a lot of physics that goes into scratching a material beyond simple hardness. And there are a lot of things out in the world that can and do scratch sapphire. But it's still pretty easy to go years without damaging a sapphire crystal in any way. The AW also doesn't have the same protection around the crystal that most watches do. And it's flat on top. All these things matter. So your AW with a sapphire screen can certainly scratch, but it's not likely. And if you see something you think is a scratch, there's a good chance it may actually be something else, or even under the screen. You can even polish a sapphire crystal with the right materials (cheap diamond paste in various grits).

    I would genuinely be interested if anyone has any evidence of these assertions beyond some random Youtube video. Otherwise, it seems like a bunch of people echoing a single unsubstantiated claim over and over again.
     
  2. dillinkay macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2018
    #2
    I agree, and have been doing quite a bit of research. Apple started with a company that could not remotely handle the requests for sapphire (for camera lenses and the apple watches) and ended up putting them out of business due to the revoked contract due to the yield being of sub par quality. Apple then switched to monocrystal (http://monocrystal.com/) and has been using them for sapphire. If you read up on monocrystals site, they are clearly focused on making top quality synthetic sapphire screens for multiple applications. Im convinced it is legit, highest quality sapphire. The only issue the apple watch has is the shape of the crystal which makes it very unique and more prone to dings and deep scratches.

    No way is apple cheating or skimping on quality here, they are using the best sapphire possible in the shape and size they need it to be.
     
  3. eneisch macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #3
    I have two SS Apple watches (Series 0 and Series 3). Neither have a single scratch on the screen and I do not baby them. The sapphire screen is one of the reasons I have chosen the SS watches over the Aluminum sport models. The screens on those are not sapphire and from what i have seen are much more prone to getting scratched.
     
  4. ajm222 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 19, 2012
    #4
    I have a Series 2 that I have been abusing lately with no issues whatsoever on the surface of the crystal. This of course is simply what we call 'anecdata' - just one person's experience, so it's proof of nothing. But it's been through the ringer. I also noticed that the case has held up amazingly well. The cold forging process they use to harden the steel is legit. Very few marks after being beat up pretty good. Average steel case would look terrible. They're also not going to go above and beyond on the case and then somehow skimp on the crystal, which again I don't even think is possible. 'Cheaply produced' corundum would likely fracture and be discolored instead of being more prone to scratches. The nature of sapphire is that if you cut corners you either get an off color, or you get a fragile crystal that breaks into a million pieces easily. But it's not going to scratch easier.
     
  5. bruinsrme macrumors 603

    bruinsrme

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #5
    I had two editions and a couple of stainless.
    They look new.

    Surely there have been some bumps that resulted in an immediate inspection
     
  6. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 603

    Knowlege Bomb

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    Madison, WI
    #6
    I think the question has been raised because of the "scratch test" videos where the tools used progress upwards on the Moh's hardness scale. The first tool able to scratch the Apple Watch screen is unable to scratch the crystal on a standard watch. This has been shown in more than one or even a few videos.

    I'm no geologist so I have no explanation for it but it seems legit.
     
  7. dillinkay macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2018
    #7
    We have a few variations of testing, and variations of results.

    Here is the Consumer reports test using the MOH's pics, with a controlled angel and pressure on each watch surface.



    They found the apple watch with sapphire to only scratch at the 9 pick.

    With gerry rig everythings test, he is using a large amount of force with the mohs pics and therefore getting markings on the watch face at 6.

    Its a pretty interesting variation of results, but would suggest with a controlled amount of force and angle, results would be more consistent to what we would expect to see from sapphire.
     
  8. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

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    Jul 12, 2016
    #8
    When it comes to the Sapphire display with the Apple Watch, you’re going to have mixed results based on everybody’s experiences and what type of environment there watch has been subjected to. My own anecdotal experience would be, I have owned _only_ the Stainless models with the exception of the sport model when it first launched April 2015 (Which the Ion-Glass was sub par from my usage in terms of scratch resistance) and I have never experienced any type of damage to the Sapphire at all, and; I sold those stainless watches in pristine condition. That said, if there was any doubt at all that I believed Apple’s sapphire displays was not the caliber to my expectations with the increased price tag over the sport model, then there will be no valid reason for me to want to stainless other than aesthetics.
     
  9. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    Jacksonville, Florida
    #9
    All of my AW look like new but a friend was drunk and brushed his watch against a stucco wall and it scratched the heck out of it. I would still only get the black stainless.
     
  10. WilliamG macrumors G3

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    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #10
    Same. I had my Apple Watch S0 for 2 years or so before moving to the S3 last year. Neither of those had a single scratch on the display.
     
  11. NBAasDOGG, Oct 10, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018

    NBAasDOGG macrumors regular

    NBAasDOGG

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    Netherlands
    #11
    I have personally tested the sapphire on my SS Series 0 and it scratched at Moh pick level 6. Apples sapphire quality is absolutely horrible when compared to the sapphire from real watch manufacturers.
    Curving pure sapphire is a very difficult and expensive process which usually results in a thick sheet of glass. Pure curved sapphire also also bends light significantly more than regular glass!
    This is not the case with Apple watches, which proves that Apple is indeed using a different material mixed with sapphire. That’s the reason why the SS Apple Watch scratches at Mohs level 6!

    You can also see on this video btw...



     
  12. newellj macrumors 603

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    Oct 15, 2014
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    Boston, MA, US
    #12
    It is essentially a different product, though. The sapphire crystal on the Rolex I'm wearing on my left wrist is a solid piece of "glass" (it isn't really glass...). The sapphire on the S4 AW on my other wrist is at best a thin layer, and may not even have all the same material characteristics of what's typically used in mechanical watches - it probably can't, because it needs to work with the touch-sensitive display.

    In any case, I'm not surprised that the sapphire displays in the SS watches aren't as bomb-proof as what you get in high-end mechanical watches. Nevertheless, in normal use, they seem to hold up very well. Heck, my wife and I both had S3 AW Nike versions for a year, and both were perfect when they were traded a couple of weeks ago. Neither of us babies our daily gear.
     
  13. richard371 macrumors 68020

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    Feb 1, 2008
    #13
    Agree with you 100 percent except for wearing my Rolex on one hand and AW on the other. I just can’t :).

     
  14. OriginalAppleGuy macrumors 6502a

    OriginalAppleGuy

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    Sep 25, 2016
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    Virginia
    #14
    I'm not buying the inferior sapphire crystal stories either. I bought the Series 2 SS mainly because of this feature. I tend to bang watches pretty hard on walls, corners, etc. And I did it many times with that watch. There were times when I hit really hard and thought I did put a scratch on the watch as there was what appeared to be one there. But using a microfiber cloth, the face cleaned up as though nothing was there.

    Don't care what people with Mohs hardness testing find on their own. I suspect there is a standard to how Mohs tests are supposed to be conducted so the only difference realized could be the object being tested. Prove you are doing that with references to the standard and maybe I'll believe you.

    Now I have the Series 4 SS and again, mainly for the sapphire crystal face.
     
  15. richard371 macrumors 68020

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    #15
    Regardless we do know the so called AW with a “sapphire” crystal does better the “ion glass” version
     
  16. Steve686 macrumors 68040

    Steve686

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    #16
    One side: Apple is using lesser quality sapphire because MY watch has scratches. I’ve tested mine! It’s true!

    Other side: Apple is using superior quality sapphire because MY watch has zero scratches. I’ve tested mine! It’s true!

    Back and forth. Back and forth.

    Some scratch, some don’t.

    Disclosure: I’ve had 4 SS/Sapphire Apple Watches. I chipped a screen corner on my Series 1. Next two Series 2 have had no scratches. My first S1 replaced because of a black pea sized dot that appeared on the screen. My first S2 replaced because of wonky software and erratically responsive touch.
     
  17. newellj macrumors 603

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    Boston, MA, US
    #17
    :D The...Apple...Watch...just...isn't...a...w-a-t-c-h... :D

    Plus, I have serious years and memories with that particular GMT Master. It's almost a part of me.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 10, 2018 ---
    I'm not saying this is a fact, but it is possible that there are changes in the sapphire displays from generation to generation. We need more experience to tell how the S4 Watches will do. OTOH, I don't think a few crazy YT click-bait vids prove anything at all.
     
  18. NBAasDOGG macrumors regular

    NBAasDOGG

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    Netherlands
    #18
    My regular Alu Apple Watch series 2 is also free from scratches, even with smashing it to the environment :)
    The thing is that Apples sapphire (from my SS series 0) was definitely not made with pure Aluminum Oxide and this can be tested with Mohs hardness testing, which is a universal and scientific way to measure hardness.
    This is not a religion to believe, it's a FACT!
     
  19. rsxmachine macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    #19
    The Apple sapphire screen is significantly better than the ion for sure. I have a series 2 which I bought used with no scratches and have had it for a year without scratches. I had a serious 0 aluminium which eventually had a bunch of scratches once I stopped using screen protector. I have an aluminum 4 on order as I can’t keep justifying paying such a high price for a new Apple Watch all the time with such low resale. At 1K these watches should last a long time instead they are obsolete after 1-2 years.
     
  20. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

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    #20
    You could read the countless threads (Literally), of the amount of members with every day experiences who have abused their stainless Apple Watches with the Sapphire display and have not suffered damage for the most part, compared to those complaining/discussing the Ion– X Glass has been far less durable in the sense of scratch resistance. That would be more than of evidence of direct user experience firsthand regarding your post.
     
  21. Steve686 macrumors 68040

    Steve686

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    #21
    People at home and even on the internet performing a Mohs test is at best, on the fringe of being universal and scientific.

    Consumer product reporting, yes. Scientifically controlled test, no.
     
  22. Nozuka, Oct 11, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018

    Nozuka macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Actually it is the case. And it was the first thing i noticed when i switched to SS. I increased the brightness to Max because of it. Always had it in the middle on my Alu S3.

    As proven by displaymate:
    http://www.displaymate.com/Apple_Watch_ShootOut_2.htm


    I'm still not convinced i can believe some random scratch youtube video about this. Because they definitely want the views to get money.
     
  23. abdulkar.im macrumors 68000

    abdulkar.im

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    #23
    I agree, the "tester" may have had a bad screen anyway.
     
  24. newellj macrumors 603

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    Boston, MA, US
    #24
    I'd forgotten about that DisplayMate article. That's just another element of the fairly complex set of trade-offs choosing between aluminum and ion glass vs. stainless steel and sapphire glass. And I totally agree about YT "test" videos. Anything to get a click.
     
  25. OriginalAppleGuy macrumors 6502a

    OriginalAppleGuy

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    Virginia
    #25
    My point about the Mohs hardness testing is there is a standard for doing the test, there has to be. And it probably states the "pen" must be held at X angle with X pressure applied, etc. That way, all devices tested will result in differences in the device, not in how the test was performed.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 11, 2018 ---
    They don't become obsolete after 1-2 years. To replace in that timeframe is the choice of the buyer who just wants newer features. It wasn't until this last software update the original watch was left out. Four years isn't bad for technology
     

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