Sapphire quality?

cap7ainclu7ch

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
380
328
I've had my S0 since release and haven't had any scratches on the display, however my friend got a S3 last year and has noticed some scratches which made me curious, especially after seeing the "sapphire" on the iPhone camera's are actually just a low quality mix that scratches at around the same point that glass does. Has Apple been changing the quality of the sapphire since the S0 or has it always been a low quality sapphire that can scratch at lower Mohs?

I'm just curious because the sapphire is the main reason why I upgraded to the SS model and I'd be very disappointed if I scratched it. However I guess if they haven't modified it and my S0 didn't scratch I should just use it and not worry about it. Just disappointed to see tests where it scratches at a level 6 when a real sapphire watch holds up until level 8. Hoping that the S4 might have a better sapphire quality but not holding my breath.
 

Mercenary

macrumors 65816
Sep 17, 2012
1,152
544
The quality is lower. Plenty of vids on YouTube that show the original watch standing up to an 8 on the mohs hardness scale but recent 'sapphire' watches scratching at a 6. Same as the ion-x glass.

It does contain aluminium oxide so can be called sapphire but it's the same crappy stuff that's on the camera lens
 
  • Like
Reactions: rMBP2013

cap7ainclu7ch

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
380
328
The quality is lower. Plenty of vids on YouTube that show the original watch standing up to an 8 on the mohs hardness scale but recent 'sapphire' watches scratching at a 6. Same as the ion-x glass.

It does contain aluminium oxide so can be called sapphire but it's the same crappy stuff that's on the camera lens
Thats super disappointing!
 

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,231
592
Tokyo, Japan
I had my S0 for two and a half years - it was absolutely prefect when I sold it. I've had this S3 for nine months and it already has numerous scratches (and I'm really careful with my watch, as always) ...


B959509D-9F09-4CE7-B70B-AD40989047B7.jpeg
 
Last edited:

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,231
592
Tokyo, Japan
Those fine scratches are most likely from the oleophobic coating.
No. The oleophobic coating is only several microns thick. These scratches are deep enough to feel with a fingernail.

Here are four more. Again, I baby my watch - I have absolutely no idea how these scratches got there, as I've never dropped the watch, I don't use my Milanese loop band anymore, and it's never been scraped against a wall, etc.


D015D302-8534-46A4-B7FE-07D27923A03D.jpeg
 
Last edited:

cap7ainclu7ch

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
380
328
Kind of makes me want to go with the sport instead of SS...Did the quality change on the S3? Seems like most people with scratched sapphire have S3's.
 
Last edited:

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,455
34,530
Kind of makes me want to go with the sport instead of SS...Did the quality change on the S3?
Let me just tell you this, I have only owned the stainless Apple Watches since They launched. I have used them on a daily basis and have hit the displays on random objects, with no screen protector use whatsoever and sold them in flawless condition with the displays. Obviously every situation with Vary, but I think you’re going to find out that you be more disappointed with the Ion-X Glass versus the Sapphire. The Sapphire alone is worth the price tag if you can justify that if you don’t want to see small scratches on your display.

And for the record, when I did on the sport model, I sold it within _less_ than a week because I did not care for the durability of the Ion– X Glass.
 

ectospheno

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2005
210
226
The quality is lower. Plenty of vids on YouTube that show the original watch standing up to an 8 on the mohs hardness scale but recent 'sapphire' watches scratching at a 6. Same as the ion-x glass.

It does contain aluminium oxide so can be called sapphire but it's the same crappy stuff that's on the camera lens
Just leaving this here...

 
  • Like
Reactions: tromboneaholic

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,231
592
Tokyo, Japan
I don't understand how some people test it and get those results while others have it scratch at 6 on the scale. Maybe it's batch related?
I think that would explain the disparity ... I mean, to have almost ten scratches on my 9-month-old S3 seems a bit excessive to me - especially since I work in an office, and haven't yet worn the S3 while working on my car, etc. They're tiny scratches, but DEEP - definitely not just scratches in the oleophobic coating. My S0 was perfect though, after 2.5 years of use - working on cars, snorkeling, playing volleyball on the beach, various home repairs where it scraped against walls, etc.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Vampire14

cap7ainclu7ch

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
380
328
I think sapphire can vary a good amount from batch to batch so maybe that's it and it's kind of just luck of the draw? Or maybe apple modified it well into S3 production? Do you mind me asking when you bought yours?
 

barjam

macrumors 6502
Jul 4, 2010
385
185
The quality is lower. Plenty of vids on YouTube that show the original watch standing up to an 8 on the mohs hardness scale but recent 'sapphire' watches scratching at a 6. Same as the ion-x glass.

It does contain aluminium oxide so can be called sapphire but it's the same crappy stuff that's on the camera lens
I tried to go aluminum with the three and scratched the face in a weekend. My SS 3 has been every bit as resistant as my original s0 and I absolutely abuse this thing. I work on cars with it, I have slammed it into things and so on. It is still pristine.

Those same lame videos were around with the S0 as well, I remember back then people were saying apple used crap sapphire. Besides, I would trust consumer reports over a bunch of random folks on youtube.
 

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,231
592
Tokyo, Japan
I think sapphire can vary a good amount from batch to batch so maybe that's it and it's kind of just luck of the draw? Or maybe apple modified it well into S3 production? Do you mind me asking when you bought yours?
Got mine last December. Serial starts with FH7VC ...
 

willentrekin

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2013
236
167
US
I briefly had an SS, until I realized I'd bought it with a hairline crack through the screen (long but extremely thin). I have no idea what the previous owner had done with it. But it was the Series 2. I'd upgraded to it from an aluminum S1, and upgraded from it to an aluminum S3.

Besides the hardness, I'd also mention impact resistance. From what I've seen, the sapphire screens are more resistant to scratching, but that makes them more susceptible to chips and cracks from impacts. The Ion-X screen may be more susceptible to scratching when scored in a laboratory, but from all the tests I've seen, withstands a fall from a similar height better than its sapphire counterpart.

Mind you, all the test I've seen have been on YouTube.

(This and haptic feedback were the factors I made purchase decisions on. Aluminum is lighter, and I seem to feel notifications and vibrations better on a aluminum version than the stainless. Disappointingly.)
 
  • Like
Reactions: rMBP2013

cap7ainclu7ch

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
380
328
Just went to the Apple store and the SS display models were pretty scratched up. The back said they were sapphire (some people in another thread were saying that the SS display units might have ionx to save money). I'm probably still going to go SS this round but I'm still not convinced that the Sapphire quality hasn't gone down. I know it's silly but I loved the confidence I had in my S0 that it just wouldn't scratch.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

vintagekeys

macrumors regular
Aug 22, 2018
120
44
Hong Kong
Interesting, now i am super hard debating between a regular alloy version which is 40% cheaper then the SS.
Alloy LTE 4000HKD VS 6000HKD in hong kong, meaning i safe half the money in case i lose/watch get stolen to purchase another one in that same year.

THe only reason i want SS is for the saphire glass but from what i see its not holy and still scratches. I WILL scratch the screen, that`s just me, just not sure if the 200 bucks extra is going to be worth it, as that 200 USD can be invested in another AW5 next year.

If both Saphire and ion-x screens going to scratch regardless then i just as well just buy a little screen protector and buy the cheaper variant.

Just to summerise: I skate in skateparks (not with the watch on, but to give a idea that i am active with sports), i am a bit clumbsy, its super bussy in HK so people constantly walking into each other. i work in IT and have to be in server rooms and under tables.
 

yoheywut

macrumors member
Apr 22, 2015
91
34
I’ll be watching this thread to see if any developments or tests of the series 4 come out. I could see them saving money with the display models by using Ion X glass, but realistically it might be costly in it’s own way to specially prepare a bunch of SS models without sapphire, when they could simply be taking them from the massive assembly line they already have cranking production models out. Maybe Jerry Rig Everything will post a video.
 

vintagekeys

macrumors regular
Aug 22, 2018
120
44
Hong Kong
I’ll be watching this thread to see if any developments or tests of the series 4 come out. I could see them saving money with the display models by using Ion X glass, but realistically it might be costly in it’s own way to specially prepare a bunch of SS models without sapphire, when they could simply be taking them from the massive assembly line they already have cranking production models out. Maybe Jerry Rig Everything will post a video.
Yeah honestly i think they do not mess with that, and they are actually saphire screens, meaning that most likely the coating is the one scratching and making it just look like a regular ion-x glass, so it defeats the purpose of having a scratch free screen.
 

Ron21

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2007
741
361
I think it's definitely a good idea to get a screen protector for any model. I had an S0 SS with a scratched screen, so the sapphire is low quality for sure.

My other regular mechanical watch with sapphire glass doesn't have a single mark in 10 years.
 

mackie8

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2014
882
647
im waiting for jerry rig too haha.... for now im rocking alum GPS S4 ... while waiting for the SS GOLD in mid OCT...still deciding if i want to keep this alum model plus applecare or move on with the SS Gold plus applecare .... i can save $400 (SGD) if i stay with alum model... i dont use LTE too
 

cap7ainclu7ch

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
380
328
I just want some answers as to why there seems to be some watches out there that don't scratch and some that do. Consumer reports clearly got watches that exceed the expectations of what the apple sapphire should accomplish yet jerry rig had his scratch at the level that glass does. Something doesn't add up here.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mercenary

vintagekeys

macrumors regular
Aug 22, 2018
120
44
Hong Kong
I just want some answers as to why there seems to be some watches out there that don't scratch and some that do. Consumer reports clearly got watches that exceed the expectations of what the apple sapphire should accomplish yet jerry rig had his scratch at the level that glass does. Something doesn't add up here.
I think it has to do with rigged tests and tests that do not represent daily carry wear. I also suspect as people say here bad batches of low quality saphire compared to the S0 Saphire glass used initially.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.