Many owners of the original Apple Watch, including TidBITS editor in chief Tonya Engst, have had trouble with the rear cover’s glue failing. In response, Apple has quietly launched an extended repair program for the first-generation Apple Watch, per internal Apple documents published by Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac. Apple will correct this problem for free within three years of the date of purchase.
This repair program covers all makes of the first-generation Apple Watch, including the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch Hermès, and Apple Watch Edition. It’s uncertain whether Apple will repair your actual device or replace it entirely. Apple recommends that you back up your Apple Watch before bringing it in, so be prepared for anything.
There is no troubleshooting process to determine if your Apple Watch is affected, just a visual inspection. For that reason, your best bet to get service is to go directly to an Apple Store, if you have one within a reasonable driving distance. Otherwise, you can contact Apple Support in the United States at 1-800-275-2273 or via online chat. If Apple’s site directs you to a Best Buy, we recommend calling before visiting, since Tonya’s local store wasn’t yet aware of the extended repair program.
If you’ve paid Apple to repair this issue, the document recommends contacting AppleCare to see about a refund.