The Apple Watch “Mushy” Digital Crown Hardware Problem

The Digital Crown Problem

This seems to be a problem especially with certain models of the stainless steel version – namely the Apple Watch (stainless steel) with Black Sport Band.

On online forums many owners of the above mentioned model of the Apple Watch found that, upon unboxing, their digital crown feels a bit weird – pressing it feels soft, and without the “clicky” feedback one gets from pressing the contacts button – almost like a used, worn out home button on an iPhone.

Turning the digital crown also is not a smooth process, sometimes the crown will get stuck, sometimes it requires more than the usual force to push the crown – nowhere near as smooth as how the digital crown should feel.

Many at first put it down to several possible theories – different materials used for the stainless steel version; dried up sweat clogging up the digital crown, etc. But mere testing of other stainless steel models have proven that the mushy digital crown is definitely isolated to only some, and other stainless steel models have clicky digital crowns just like all the Sport models. Neither is dried up sweat a good explanation for something that didn’t work right out of the box, and following Apple support document of running the digital crown under water while furiously turning and pressing it does not solve the problem either.

Many overseas have already successfully gotten replacements for their malfunctioning digital crowns.

I have the same model.

I have had the same mushy digital crown issue since day one, but as the Watch was purchased overseas, there was no way I could send it in for servicing until now, when the local servicing options opened up upon the launch of the Watch locally.

I called up Applecare, told them my problem, received a case number, a referral to a local service provider (A.lab), and a promise that the watch would be replaced upon successful confirmation of the issue by the service centre.

But A.lab is notorious for being difficult with their customers for repairs – it really stinks that micro2000/eServ lost the tender for servicing Apple products.

My appointment is in thirty minutes. Wish me luck.

P.S. If you have a less than ideal digital crown, go to the service centre today.

P.P.S. They accepted my watch and said they will send it directly to Apple for them to check and assess. Hope this goes well.

Just wanted to add here, the problem with the digital crown has been there all along, and I always planned to send it in when Apple started supporting the Watch in Singapore. The watch is still very usable all these while despite the faulty crown, and I try to avoid pressing the crown since the main use of presses is for accessing the app home screens, and third party apps on the Watch are still pretty shitty and slow due to Watchkit 1.0. This will obviously change when watchOS 2 rolls by in a few months’ time.


MacRyu is the Mac Blog by Singaporeans and for Singaporeans. It was started in April 2007 as a side project of the then President of the Official Mac User Group of NUS, Ryu, and grew to become possibly one of the most popular Apple-related sites based in Singapore. MacRyu hopes to provide you with more Mac-related info, thoughts and stuff, from the Singaporean perspective.

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