Unlike an iPhone, which might spend most of your day sitting in a desk or hiding away in a pocket, the Apple Watch is an expensive device that’s exposed to the world all day long. The chance of it getting banged up and needing repairs one day is very high, and for the Apple Watch Ultra, it seems like repairs won’t come cheap.
One of the downsides to our electronics getting smaller and smaller is that the engineering tricks needed to miniaturize our technology often makes it very difficult to repair. Unlike with a spacious desktop computer, a smartphone or smartwatch’s components are all soldered together and difficult to swap out, while lots of glue and sealants are used to ensure devices like the Apple Watch remain reliably waterproof. Cracking it open to replace just one tiny malfunctioning component just isn’t an option, and often repairs require all of a device’s guts to be completely swapped out.
Apple promises its new Apple Watch Ultra is Tonka tough, with a titanium body and sapphire glass protecting the screen. But nothing is indestructible, and according to the support section of Apple’s website (which provides estimates of repair costs), the $799 smartwatch targeted at athletes and adventure-y types will cost $499 to fix, so long as you’re doing anything other than swapping out a dying battery. For comparison, the most affordable version of the new Apple Watch Series 8 costs just $399 to purchase brand new—$100 cheaper than reviving a dead Ultra.
The steep repair costs aren’t entirely surprising, as fixing the cheapest version of the Apple Watch Series 8 runs $299, or $79 if it just requires a battery swap (the Ultra’s larger battery costs $99 to replace). Older models like the ceramic Apple Watch Edition are even more expensive to fix, too. And not to turn this into an ad for more Apple services, but if you’ve ever hummed and hawed over shelling out extra for AppleCare service, the $100 extra charge it adds to the Apple Watch Ultra is probably well worth it, as it drops repair fees to just $79. It’s the first Apple device specifically designed for extreme use cases, including diving adventures, which increases the odds of it getting damaged, so why not decrease the risks of sticker shock should the unfortunate happen?