If you own an original Apple Watch and take it into an Apple Store because of a fault, then there is a chance you may walk out again with an Apple Watch Series 1 after the company sent a note out to its stores detailing the swap out program, which also extends to Apple Authorized Service Providers.
The replacement program is limited to aluminum Apple Watch models in Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Rose Gold, and is only available in specific countries although the new directive rather unhelpfully does not specify which countries.
Apple’s updated Apple Watch Series 1 debuted in September of 2016 and is essentially identical to the first Apple Watch except for an upgraded dual-core S1P chip. Given the age of original Apple Watches, they are already outside of their default warranty period, but anyone who bought Apple Care will still be eligible for free repairs or, in this case, a likely swap out for a new and updated model.
If anyone ever doubted the wisdom of purchasing Apple Care on some of Apple’s hardware, then this is perhaps one reason to consider it next time around.
In some countries, Apple Watch Aluminum (1st generation) parts (in all colors) may be substituted with Apple Watch Aluminum (Series 1) parts. The parts substitution should now be working properly in MobileGenius and Repair Central.
The Apple Watch, while successful in its own right, has failed to live up to the expectations of Apple fans who had initially expected it to change the way we interact with iPhones. While early adopters bought the wearable in droves, interest even amongst the most ardent fan has waned to the point where new Apple Watch announcements are not the big occasions they could have been. Whether slower than expected sales is anything to do with Apple’s decision to hand out Apple Watch Series 1 devices as replacements for original Apple Watches is unknown, though.