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The tragic tale of a shattered Apple Watch

Caitlin McGarry | March 9, 2016
Spoiler alert: This story has a happy ending, but it took months to get there.

But there was no way I was going to stare at a cracked Apple Watch screen on my wrist every day of my life. So when I returned to New York, home of countless iPhone screen repair shops, I decided to make some calls to see if I could get my watch fixed on the cheap.

The search begins

Going to a third-party repair shop voids Apple’s year-long warranty, but since I was eight months into that year anyway, I was willing to risk it to save some money.

First I searched for “Apple Watch repair NYC” in the hopes that the top result would be my savior. No such luck. Two businesses popped up because they mention Apple Watch repairs on their website, but haven’t started offering them yet.

The second shop I called told me that despite the mention of Apple Watch repairs on their website, they’re actually “not planning on it—and you’re only the third person to ask.”

Only the third person? Great. I officially felt like the world’s (third) biggest klutz.

Then I hit Yelp to see if iPhone repair shops in Manhattan that don’t advertise Apple Watch repairs would be able to help me out.

No such luck. I called several businesses, none of which could repair my screen.

This wasn’t going well. Maybe Best Buy could help me out, either with a repair (unlikely) or a referral to a repair shop (also unlikely, I feared). They had me on hold for 15 minutes, then I had to hang up before the holiday Muzak selections drove me to drink.

I called a few more iPhone repair shops from Yelp, none of which planned to repair watches. “You’ll have to go to the Apple Store,” one told me.

Well, at least they were honest.

After calling close to 20 businesses, I decided to branch out of Manhattan and try the outer boroughs. I was willing to travel for Apple Watch screen repair. I struck gold in Queens. The first repair shop I called said that not only could they replace my screen, they had experience successfully repairing Apple Watches. It would cost $135. The savings sounded too good to be true, but I took three trains to Astoria and handed over $40 for a deposit on the glass, which had to be ordered from China.

I was expecting to have my watch fixed before I left New York for the holidays.

Back to square one

But the rest of December flew by. The shipment of glass, which had been expected to arrive in two weeks, was delayed overseas. Then I went out of town for three weeks, and before I realized it, January was over, too. The first week of February, I finally heard back from the repair shop: The glass had come in, but it was no good. The owner had tried to fix another Apple Watch screen, but this glass didn’t recognize Force Touch. It was from a different supplier from the last batch, he told me.


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