Apple recently extended the service policy’s coverage period to up to three years after the original purchase date. If you bought an Apple Watch in April 2015, for example, it is eligible for a free repair until April 2018.
Apple has determined that under certain conditions on some Apple Watch (1st generation) devices the back cover may separate from the watch case. Apple will service eligible devices free of charge. Apple will authorize coverage for three (3) years from the date of purchase.
The service policy has been in effect since last year and applies to any first-generation Apple Watch, including Sport, Edition, and Hermès models, even if the device’s limited one-year warranty or extended AppleCare coverage has elapsed.
Affected customers can call an Apple Store and schedule a Genius Bar appointment, or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider, to initiate the repair process. Or, customers can call Apple Support to arrange shipment of the damaged Apple Watch to an Apple Repair Center in a postage paid box.
Apple advises customers inquiring about a refund for a previous Apple Watch back cover repair to contact Apple Support.
Several users have shared pictures of their first-generation Apple Watch with the back cover falling off on the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors discussion forums, Twitter, and elsewhere on the web. In many cases, the back cover detaches when the Apple Watch is removed from its magnetic charger.
Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, for example, shared a picture of his wife’s stainless steel Apple Watch with a detached back cover last October. He said the Apple Watch, purchased in May 2015, was providing erratic workout readings before coming apart after it was taken off of its magnetic charger.
I sure hope Apple uses better glue for their cars than they do for their watches. http://pic.twitter.com/JkIThwC5B7
— John Gruber (@gruber) October 3, 2016
Apple appears to have fixed the issue with its newer Series 1 and Series 2 models, perhaps by using a stronger adhesive.