Digital crown durability

unclebob101

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 15, 2018
30
2
Just yesterday decided to get my first ever apple watch, third generation. Now I’m having a concern about the durability of the digital crown. I’ve been used to the gestures of iPhone X but on apple watch 3 I have to press the button every time I want to close an app. That seems a lot of button presses and I don’t want it to break on me. Tl;dr - How durable is this thing?
 

StumpyBloke

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2012
2,215
1,864
England
Just yesterday decided to get my first ever apple watch, third generation. Now I’m having a concern about the durability of the digital crown. I’ve been used to the gestures of iPhone X but on apple watch 3 I have to press the button every time I want to close an app. That seems a lot of button presses and I don’t want it to break on me. Tl;dr - How durable is this thing?
Who knows. Who cares. Judging by the complete lack of posts regarding its lack of durability...

Stop sweating the small stuff. Either send it back and get a refund or just use it and enjoy it!!
 

waw74

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
3,399
285
and how many times a day did you press the home button on your older iPhones?
or the space bar on your computer's keyboard?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Aspasia

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,190
511
Just yesterday decided to get my first ever apple watch, third generation... How durable is this thing?
They're incredibly durable for a computer, and quite durable for a watch. Maybe not G-Shock-class durable, but durable enough that you'll find vanishingly few complaints on the topic here or elsewhere.

Some models are especially so: the diamond-like coating (DLC) on the Space Black stainless steel models is amazingly tough, and the sapphire crystal models are as scratch-resistant as any watch crystal anywhere. (Flip-side: the Ion-X glass on aluminum Watches is less brittle than sapphire, so less likely to shatter if banged hard. But, that's not common.)

Based on my experience with the original-issue Series 0 stainless steel Watch and my current aluminum Series 5 versus my previous Casios and Seiko, I'd say:

  • The Ion-X crystals on the aluminum Watch seems less scratch-prone than the mineral crystals on my previous Casio Pathfinder and Seiko diver watches, both of which have significant scratches, vs none yet on the Watch.
  • The sapphire crystal on the stainless, titanium and Edition Watches is pretty much indestructible. I wish this was available on the aluminum Watch, which I prefer.
  • The stainless steel bodies of my old Seiko and Series 0 Watch show slight burnishing-type scratches, nothing readily visible and easily polished off if I were so inclined.
  • The silver aluminum body of my 3-month old Series 5 shows no scratches, but I expect it will with time.
  • The titanium shell of my Casio Pathfinder, by comparison, looks like it was chewed on. G-Shocks are plastic, so they tend to look beat up after a while. That's part of their charm, actually.
  • I've had no hardware failures or durability issues with any of these watches and, with all of them, love to play with their gizmos and features. If anyone was going to wear out a button or the crown, it'd be me.

Bottom line: enjoy your new Watch! It's a tool; use it hard in good health.
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,576
2,220
Between the coasts
How durable? Apparently, very durable. I've never read a post where someone complained of a digital crown failure. I've had two Watches, it's never been a problem or concern.

If you want to get some idea of how it's built, check this article about Apple's patent application, which includes some drawings. It's from 2015, so there may have been some changes since then, and the patent filing describes alternate approaches to some features, so it's not a definitive description of exactly how it works. https://www.patentlyapple.com/paten...gy-behind-the-apple-watchs-digital-crown.html

For those who love mechanical watches, this is something to love - it has gears and bearings; in spirit very much like a traditional watch. Also note that there are no mechanical switch contacts; it uses magnets on the shaft, which actuate solid-state Hall-effect switches - those things don't wear out.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,270
4,222
Atlanta
Worry about how long the battery will last or how long it will be supported or how long before it gets too slow to use. All of these will likely happen WAY before anything else fails.
 

nickdalzell1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 8, 2019
700
284
I'm always worried the crown will catch on something at work and pop off and go bouncing to who-knows-where one day. I really wish they just had the side button. one button that acts as home, power on/off, double-tap for Apple Pay, tap and hold for Siri, Emergency call, or Power options...

I really don't understand what the crown is really there for. You can't select icons in the app list, or use it from the watch face to bring up notification center or control center, and it seems only good for scrolling 90% the time. Why not a pinch gesture? Oh wait that also works. So what's the crown there for again?
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,209
34,219
Perspective:

The Apple Watch launched in April 2015, it’s reaching its fifth year anniversary in approximately two months, and there are still first GEN watches that are perfectly/fully functional with the digital crown. So use that as a comparison in terms of ‘durability’.
 

Itinj24

macrumors 65816
Nov 8, 2017
1,206
481
New York
I’m pretty scared to do such thing. What if something isn’t sealed right?
Then you’re better off testing the seals now while it’s still under warranty than accidentally dropping it in a toilet later on and discovering this the hard way.

If you don’t know already, there is a water ejection feature that tells you to operate the crown while the watch may still be wet. Open the control center and tap button with the water drop on it.

I run mine under water periodically to remove the tiny dust particles between the case and the screen.
 

unclebob101

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 15, 2018
30
2
Then you’re better off testing the seals now while it’s still under warranty than accidentally dropping it in a toilet later on and discovering this the hard way.

If you don’t know already, there is a water ejection feature that tells you to operate the crown while the watch may still be wet. Open the control center and tap button with the water drop on it.

I run mine under water periodically to remove the tiny dust particles between the case and the screen.
Thanks for the tip. I’ll go swimming later today and will take my watch with me. (Although that’s pretty scary)🤣
I have one question though - can’t the water seals break down over time and stop holding water out after the warranty period?
 

Itinj24

macrumors 65816
Nov 8, 2017
1,206
481
New York
Thanks for the tip. I’ll go swimming later today and will take my watch with me. (Although that’s pretty scary)🤣
I have one question though - can’t the water seals break down over time and stop holding water out after the warranty period?
There is literally a swimming activity (among many other water activities) in the stock Workouts app on the watch lol.
Not sure what type of seals are used in the Watch and what their lifespan is but if you’re worried this early in the game while still under warranty, your fears wont get any better with time.

Just relax, and enjoy this awesome piece of tech. You’ll be fine.
 

RecentlyConverted

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2015
755
533
I hope it’s very durable. Found this great game, which I hope won’t wear out my crown -

 

TheSkywalker77

macrumors demi-god
Sep 9, 2017
2,336
1,711
Counterintuitive hint: make sure to periodically operate the digital crown under running water.
Yes! I need to do this every few weeks to keep the crown from sticking. Quite annoying but I’d rather that than a stuck Digital Crown :p.
 

Aspasia

macrumors 65816
I'm always worried the crown will catch on something at work and pop off and go bouncing to who-knows-where one day. I really wish they just had the side button. one button that acts as home, power on/off, double-tap for Apple Pay, tap and hold for Siri, Emergency call, or Power options...

I really don't understand what the crown is really there for. You can't select icons in the app list, or use it from the watch face to bring up notification center or control center, and it seems only good for scrolling 90% the time. Why not a pinch gesture? Oh wait that also works. So what's the crown there for again?
Clearing water, changing the number of breaths per minute if you use Breathe, zoom, scroll, adjust what's on the screen, unlock the screen if you've been swimming.
 

Itinj24

macrumors 65816
Nov 8, 2017
1,206
481
New York
Now crowns are gonna snag onto things and pop off???

Highly unlikely... They’re recessed into the case and don’t overlap the edges. I tried a case that caused the crown to be very hard to spin. Scrolling with the touch screen is awful. I missed the crown a lot when I had that case on. Hope they keep it in future Apple Watch designs.
 

nickdalzell1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 8, 2019
700
284
At the least they could have just kept the crown and centered it on the case. Two buttons just feels...wrong.

I sure hope it can't snag and get pulled off. I used to lose crowns on mechanical watches that way.
 

Itinj24

macrumors 65816
Nov 8, 2017
1,206
481
New York
At the least they could have just kept the crown and centered it on the case. Two buttons just feels...wrong.

I sure hope it can't snag and get pulled off. I used to lose crowns on mechanical watches that way.
It’s probably off center to make it harder to push when pulling the wrist up all the way. That was a design change Motorola made with the second version of the Moto 360 for that reason.
 

Itinj24

macrumors 65816
Nov 8, 2017
1,206
481
New York
I thought it was to make room for the side button?
That was the side button. It wasn’t a rotating crown but just a button. They moved it up higher off center so you couldn’t push it when the wrist was pulled all the way up. I had both first and second versions of the Moto 360 and that was definitely an issue they corrected after complaints were made
- - Post merged: - -

0BC5BE73-0470-438B-AB4A-993DE9045C27.jpeg

A2AAF2F8-4FE8-484C-9D9A-00DB3FC2081F.jpeg
 

nickdalzell1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 8, 2019
700
284
I meant on the Apple watch. Not the 360. The crown on the Apple watch probably had to be offset to make the side button fit...

Still would be neat if the crown could pull down notification center or pull up control center. Just feels like it should. I keep forgetting and winding it expecting it to work but you have to use your finger. I also wished I could enable Water Lock with Siri, or even turn on/off Wifi with Siri on the watch. Even Bixby on the Galaxy Watches can do those.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.