Oleophobic or AR coating on sapphire?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by ajm222, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. ajm222 macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 19, 2012
    #1
    Anyone know for sure if Apple applies any type of coating to the top of the sapphire screen on the steel Apple watches - either oleophobic or anti-reflective? Love that they are sapphire of course but wondering if anyone has noticed any type of wear over time that would be consistent with a coating of some kind. Will probably skip a screen protector unless there is a coating that might show small scratches or scuffs or wear off over time.
     
  2. friedmud macrumors 65816

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #2
    I haven't noticed any wear that would suggest a coating on my Series 0 that I got a launch. I've been pretty rough on it... and I've worn it literally every day for nearly 2 years... and the screen still looks good.

    I have a couple of tiny "scratches" on the very edge/corner of my Watch glass... but that's bound to happen over time. The actual top/flat part is completely perfect just like it came out of the box.

    The steel is essentially "brushed" steel at this point :)
     
  3. ajm222 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Very interesting, thanks. That's helpful. I've got the regular stainless myself right now but may be switching to space black to avoid the brushed look that comes with age. Though an even patina can be a good look. Interesting that the sapphire shows a few scuffs at the corners. I guess there's no way to know if they are true scratches (which of course are always possible even in sapphire) or if they're damage to some sort of coating. But you'd imagine if it were the latter, you'd see them on top as well.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 29, 2016 ---
    Actually, just found this in the manual:

    "The front of Apple Watch is made of Ion-X glass (strengthened glass) or sapphire crystal, each with a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic (oil repellent) coating. This coating wears over time with normal usage. Cleaning products and abrasive materials will further diminish the coating, and may scratch the glass or the sapphire crystal."
     
  4. friedmud macrumors 65816

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #4
    Interesting! I obviously haven't noticed anything. I mainly clean mine with warm water, drying it with a paper towel... but occasionally I do clean it with Windex and a paper towel.

    As for the "brushed" steel... you still can't really tell unless you get up close to it. From normal viewing distances it still looks "shiny". Personally, I don't mind the look... the scrapes remind me of the passage of time... I can't believe it's coming up on 2 years old...
     
  5. ajm222 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Amazing. I'm still waffling between the regular and black. They both look great. Scratches drive me nuts though. They shouldn't, but I just can't help it. Will have to decide soon. Thanks again.
     
  6. Archer1440 macrumors 6502a

    Archer1440

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    #6
    The sapphire has an oleophobic coating. It's quite obvious when it is gone, as fingerprints are much harder to clean off, really noticeable after upgrading to a new watch recently how the old one has lost the coating.
     
  7. ajm222 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Interesting. I guess on a traditional watch (which don't have an oleophobic coating obviously) I never noticed the crystal feeling anything but smooth and silky. But we don't interact with the crystal on a traditional watch in the same way. So smooth and silky means something different on an AW.
     
  8. Archer1440 macrumors 6502a

    Archer1440

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    #8
    I've never found myself performing a "force press " on one of my Omegas (which have AR coatings). Even if they did get fingerprints, they would be harder to see with the gap to the dial and the air space behind the crystals.
     
  9. Relentless Power macrumors P6

    Relentless Power

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    Jul 12, 2016
    #9
    It's just my opinion, but if scratches are bothersome to you (As they annoy me as well), the black stainless Might be the more appropriate fit for you. The DLC coating will give you the added protection and hide any scratches pending how badly it's scratched.
     
  10. ajm222 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I think you're right. I'll give it a few more days, but I think the black will win out. I've come to terms with the fact that both are beautiful and there really is no right answer here. But I think ultimately the edge will go to the black for the DLC benefits. I think in the long run this will be better for me personally. Otherwise I might spend all of my time messing with imperfect screen and body protectors and/or constantly trying to polish the thing. Though I will say that after tremendous effort and patience, the armorsuit went on almost perfect. It will pain me to return this one after getting that thing on just right. I'd say the regular stainless for me beats the black in looks by a hair, but the black wins in a couple of other categories. I imagine I will love the black, but also won't find it easy to ship back the regular stainless. I'd keep both but that's not in the budget :)

    I spent quite a bit of time last night investigating DLC and people's experiences with it. Clearly it's not completely scratch resistant, and there's no guarantee I won't scuff it up immediately. Anything can happen. But it seems most people find the DLC to be impervious to damage of any kind under normal circumstances. Regular stainless polished to a high shine will of course get swirlies just by staring at it :) Which is fine. But I think I also like that the black has this added high technology for the same price. And reportedly Apple didn't cut any corners for their DLC - at least on the body of the watch. For whatever reason it seems like the coating on the link bracelet starts wearing off some after a year or so of heavy use, but maybe that's just because the bracelet and case are structurally different and worn differently. I did find a few instances of people that had decent wear on the body after a year or more of heavy use, but it sounded like it was mostly swirls more than anything else, which are probably even completely avoidable the way I wear my stuff. Time will tell.

    Thanks for all of your input.
     
  11. iPhysicist macrumors 6502a

    iPhysicist

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    #11
    I think your oleophobic coating is gone by now. My screen still looks marvelous except for fingerprints. This smear and are not that easy to wipe off anymore. I cleaned the screen with 99,99% Alcohol some day this summer and could not clean of any coating off because it was already gone.
    As you I wear my watch on a daily basis and cleaned it with water and (paper) towels.

    I think it is totally acceptable to lose the coating after 12 month of daily use (and ever so often cleaning).
     
  12. Fzang macrumors 65816

    Fzang

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    Jun 15, 2013
    #12
    You shouldn't ever clean screens with paper towels. Even if it doesn't scratch the screen, it'll wear off what I assume is some sort of covalently bonded oleophobic silane monolayer.
     
  13. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Atlanta
    #13
    No big deal since it will wear off anyway. If you want the oleophobic coating back it is easy and inexpensive to reapply.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/121755652578?lpid=82&chn=ps&ul_noapp=true
     
  14. Fzang, Dec 31, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016

    Fzang macrumors 65816

    Fzang

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    Jun 15, 2013
    #14
    Not sure it'll work on sapphire though, as it likely relies on silicon in the glass.

    Edit: scratch that. It's sitting on the oxygens, so I suppose it could work on sapphire if it's reactive enough without e.g. acid activation.
     

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