Apple Launches Repair Program for First-Generation Apple Watches
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.
I had this problem. The back part of the watch came completely loose and dangling. My Watch at the time was still under its AppleCare contract, so I took it to the local Apple Store. They said they were sending it out for repair, but what I got back was a brand new Watch.
I had this happen but with the watch face coming loose; it was just hanging by the flat ribbon connector. Apple replaced the watch for free with a new watch. I was told the battery had expanded causing pressure and the glue came loose as a result.
I had to have my 1st gen watch repaired last October. It came totally out of the casing, but continued to work. When I got the repair back, I was asked if I had used sun screen or insect repellant. Both of these conditions occurred, as I was in Myanmar at the time it failed. I've been careful about these two items on my repaired/replaced watch (which was done free).
If it is out of warranty, just glue it back on with a continuous bead of clear RTV sealant.