Does Sapphire screen get surface scratches?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by eclipse01, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. eclipse01 macrumors 68020

    eclipse01

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    #1
    I heard they do, but was just curious if this was true
     
  2. Relentless Power, Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019

    Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

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    #2
    Your thread title is kind of obscure. You wrote ‘Does sapphire screen still get surface scratches?’ (Still? As in this affects everyone) Ok, so short answer is that sapphire is not impervious to damage, it can scratch. It’s not easy to do, but with the right surface and impact, yes, sapphire can scratch. Now, I have never had a scratch on my sapphire display on any of my Apple Watches, even after hitting it on multiple objects. In most cases, it takes something harder than the sapphire to actually scratch it. This is an entirely subjective discussion, from my experience, I have no scratches whatsoever, but others will tell you that they were able to scratch their sapphire display based off there daily encounters.

    Side note:

    The reason the Apple Watch display can scratch, is because it’s not 100% true sapphire, there is likely some impurities with Apples sapphire that they use, but for the most part it’s fairly durable for a smart watch.
     
  3. ckip10 macrumors newbie

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    #3
    I work in a factory as an engineer and I can tell you based on my experience it is next to impossible to scratch. I bang mine on machines daily with no issues. I tried the aluminum once and the glass was scratched within 2 days. So I am a huge fan of the sapphire. Side note, it will shatter if you drop it on a concrete floor, as I learned the hard way.
     
  4. eclipse01 thread starter macrumors 68020

    eclipse01

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    #4
    Oops, I updated my title. Thanks for your input
     
  5. JGRE macrumors 65816

    JGRE

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    #5
    Only if you scratch it with a diamond, the only harder item on the scale of Mohs.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 15, 2019 ---
    My steel watch has scratches on the steel, but the sapphire glass is impeccable after 12 year.
     
  6. MrWillie macrumors 65816

    MrWillie

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    #6
    I bang my aluminum AW 4 on machinery and still don’t have scratches on it, nor the display. Same with my previous Apple Watch.

    I’ve also dropped mine. While the type of flooring, and how it lands will have an impact on whether the screen breaks or not, the aluminum watch is substantially lighter and hits the deck with less force.
     
  7. eclipse01 thread starter macrumors 68020

    eclipse01

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    #7
    I have banged mine on a few things here and there and just noticed in the right light I have a few surface scratched and a "very light" long scratch across the screen.
     
  8. ckip10 macrumors newbie

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    #8
    I’m not doubting you but I’m not sure what type of metal wouldn’t scratch that ion glass. I deal with CNC machines and it’s night and day between the aluminum and stainless watches. My son has a Nike + S3 aluminum and his screen is a mess so I guess results will vary. I’d love to know your secret so I could save a bunch of money every year. The resale on the stainless models are terrible.
     
  9. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    #9
    I owned an SS Series 0 and the sapphire screen on it remained flawless over the three years I wore it even though I constantly banged it into things. The sapphire screen of my SS Series 4 has also taken plenty of knocks in the six months I have owned it and it still looks pristine.
     
  10. BSG75 macrumors regular

    BSG75

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    #10
    It's quite difficult to scratch the sapphire display. I believe that is possible to get some micro scratches on the anti-reflective coating. I had two Series 0 SS models and the screen remained flawless for the time I owned them. I have a Nike+ Series 4 this time around and already see a couple of small scratches on the screen.
     
  11. Relentless Power, Apr 16, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019

    Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

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    #11
    That can happen, sometimes you can cause a superficial scratch on the oleophobic coating, if the scratch is minimal enough, it should dissipate over the course of time with usage as the coating fades.

    Another member had a minimal hairline scratch on the sapphire, it was on the coating itself, which completely faded once the coating wore off. It all depends how deep the scratch is.
     
  12. RHA macrumors member

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    #12
    I am now on my 3rd aluminum sports watch, Series 0, Series 2 and now Series4. I have always tried to be careful but this is an everyday watch.

    I have 2 or 3 scratches already and ITS ANNOYING. I am reluctant to go the SS route because of cost and desire to stay current. But, if the comments above are correct maybe that is the way to go.
     
  13. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

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    #13
    The ion-X Glass used on the aluminum and sapphire display are totally two different types of materials. I used to own the sport model, and I immediately sold it once I figured out how easily the display could scratch. Even though the stainless model is more expensive and doesn’t have the best resale value, The display is completely superior over the ion-X Glass in regards to combating scratches. If you were someone that really is concerned about scratches and you don’t care for screen protectors, the Sapphire/stainless model is the clear choice.
     
  14. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #14
    Do they scratch? Not easily, however the sapphire does have a natural grain, and if you drop it on that grain line, it will shatter. I had a brand new TAG Heuer dive watch that fell out of my hands from about 18 inches, and the crystal shattered. And I mean shattered. Pieces all over the place. It has a 'sapphire crystal' that was advertised as being 'very durable', and 'shatter resistant'. I sent it in for warranty claim, and they denied it. There was no other damage to the watch, except the screen apparently hit the tile floor at the perfect spot for it to shatter. And it wasn't even a month old!

    Do authentic crystal watch faces scratch, hardly, but shatter, oh yeah...
     
  15. Pseudo-Fed macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I compete shooting defensive pistol competitions outdoors. We use props such as walls with metal frames that live outdoors and get very rusty. On a couple of occasions using bad form I have allowed my Apple Watch Series 4 stainless to get up against the metal frame edge while shooting. After panicking and looking at the watch I brush it off and all of the rusty metal debris wipes right off with no effect on the screen.
     
  16. DiveKitty, Apr 20, 2019 at 11:56 AM
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019 at 12:05 PM

    DiveKitty macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Of course it can.

    Even natural sapphires can scratch and be damaged otherwise they could not be cut or polished into more alluring shapes for jewelry and such. If you look at a natural sapphire ring that has been worn for decades - or even many years of daily wear - you can see all sorts of tiny scratches and abrasions and wear at the facet junctions. If you don’t have an eagle eye you may need a loupe to see the actual scratches, but you will definitely notice a dulled finish even without one. I have had a natural sapphire stone in a ring get a scratch right across table facet from an unknown culprit (was not a diamond) only a few months into having it that I had to get polished out.

    And the sapphire crystal screen is not 100% sapphire due to impurities and so forth in the manufacturing so you can’t really say it is equivalent to a natural sapphire. I have seen testing (may have been on AW3) that showed scratches on the sapphire crystal when using something with a Mohs of 6 (natural sapphire has a Mohs of 8).

    However, it will still be more resistant to scratches than the Ion-X. Some like this extra peace of mind and may be more prone to banging their watch face off things. Personally I have the aluminum for weight and cost reasons and just put on a domed screen protector. I don’t find myself banging my watch off things though typically. If I find myself stumbling through the bush or something without long sleeves I put a stretchy wrist band over it as I am not a fan of the cases that cover the screen and other protective cases don’t play nice with the dome screen protector.

    As others pointed out: hardness is not same as toughness. If it hit the right way the sapphire crystal can crack or shatter. Even diamonds can crack and they are harder than sapphires :) Natural sapphires are actually “tougher” than diamonds but I don’t think this appears to extend to sapphire crystals used for watch faces.
     
  17. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #17
    My AW3 had a slight occlusion in the top corner. Apple gave me full value for a trade-in, but if you looked at it closely, you could see it. It also had a slight edge to it. I was afraid it would shatter, but it held up until I gave it to them.
     
  18. Vanilla35 macrumors 68040

    Vanilla35

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    #18
    I've had mine for several months. If I do a quick swipe on my sleeve to get rid of any smudges and fingerprints, it looks brand new. I haven't examined it thoroughly under a desk light, but I have in direct sunlight, shade, and general indoor conditions and have never noticed any micro scratches.

    I am usually one to notice those types of details, but once again have not observed under direct lamp light in an otherwise dark room.
     
  19. rugmankc Contributor

    rugmankc

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    Sep 24, 2014
    #19
    I bang mine on door jambs all the time. Including the metal part on occasion. No visible scratches.
     
  20. timish macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2002
    #20

    FALSE! There is another item harder than Mohs and that is Dwight Schrute.
     

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