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Apple recently started selling officially refurbished models of the Apple Watch Series 7. Here’s how they differ from the retail versions and whether they’re worth the savings.
Your refurbished Apple Watch isn’t new. It comes used. It can be from a returned unit that is rarely worn, repaired after replacement, or assembled from reused parts.
Since it’s not factory new, Apple discounts these models. For example, the $399, 41mm Apple Watch Series 7 can be purchased for $339 — a $60 savings.
Apple cleans and inspects each refurbished Apple Watch before packing it into a new box with new manuals and a new charging disc. Here’s what also differs from the new model.
New vs Refurbished: Packaging and contents
The refurbished Apple Watch arrives in nearly identical retail packaging. There is a white cardstock sleeve with the 3D Apple Watch logo on the front. Below is a small sticker that says “Apple Certified Refurbished”.
Behind the front sticker, the stickers on the back are also different. Apple keeps things more general for the revamped model, while the retail unit has a more descriptive label, complete with a photo.
Once you peel off the paperback, you’ll be left with an overall grayscale image of the Apple Watch in refurbishment while the retail unit has an embossed image of the watch inside – including metal type, finish, and size. The assembled ensemble has a public image as well.
Once this chest is opened, it becomes difficult to distinguish them. Each Apple Watch is placed in a paper sleeve next to the guides and the new required charging cable.
Unless you keep on track, it’s nearly impossible to tell which box is new versus the refurbished one. This is true when the clocks pick up themselves.
Side by side, we didn’t notice a difference between the refurbished and the new model. The refurbished model was perfect. Not a single stain, scratch or defect was found. For all intents and purposes, it looked like a brand-new watch.
This is ideal for users because you don’t get a watch that looks like it’s made from used or recycled components. You’ll get the same look and feel as a brand new model.
Certified by Apple vs. Certified Reseller
To be clear, we’re looking at an Apple-certified Apple Watch, which was purchased from the same company. This is different from refurbished units from other distributors.
For example, Amazon Renewed Apple Watch. This Amazon Renewed model only carries a 90-day warranty, which is a quarter of Apple’s one-year warranty on refurbished units.
Apple allows you to take on the AppleCare+ additional plan for more protection while Amazon only offers a third-party protection plan.
Amazon and others do not come with the same packaging or ingredients. May come in non-descript cardboard boxes with refurbished charger. It’s not the same new experience that Apple is trying to offer.
The big difference is the device itself. Amazon will do its best to clean the units, but you can often get units with visible dents or dents. They will be small, but they are present from time to time.
Apple has an advantage by being able to tap into their parts supply to create as original watches as possible. There’s a reason Apple can feel confident offering a one-year warranty while others are limited to 90 days.
Is an Apple Certified Renewal Worth the Savings?
In some cases, it makes sense to purchase a refurbished, Apple-certified Apple Watch. Now that the Series 7 is available, it’s a great option for those who want the latest Apple Watch with a bit of a discount.
Having said that, be sure to research other deals before you get started with everything. We’ve seen Amazon drop the price of the 41mm Apple Watch Series 7 to $329 which lowers the prices for a refurbished Apple. Other times, prices go up and refurbished models may be the best way to save.