Apple Watch: Engineering perfection has its flaws

“Apple is famous for its obsessive care for design and manufacturing, and its new, much-hyped watches are no exception,” Debbie Chachra writes for Nautilus. “But, ironically, the watch can only be created by introducing errors into exquisitely crafted materials.”

“The Apple Watch employs a similar strategy of incorporating errors to make a different material, one that’s less familiar in the world of gadgets. In this case, to make the metal cases of the watch harder and more durable,” Chachra writes. “This is especially true for the watch cases that are made of gold, famously soft in its pure form. Besides shine, one of the things that makes the metal instantly recognizable is its ductility, that is, its ability to be deformed without breaking. In order to understand how Apple makes its gold watches, we need to understand something about how metal bends.”

“The gleaming perfection of an Apple Watch comes from materials that incorporate precisely controlled flaws,” Chachra writes. “By combining several different kinds of errors, Apple endeavors to create a device that approaches perfection.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Lots of unseen work goes into Apple Watch and, especially, into Apple Watch Edition:


Why there will be lines for the $17,000 gold Apple Watch Edition – March 28, 2015
Apple Watch Edition’s 18-karat gold is twice as hard as standard gold – March 11, 2015
Apple’s patent-pending 18k gold: Harder, more scratch-resistant, and ‘less gold’ – March 7, 2015


  1. Calling doping “flaws” or “errors” is to apply a value judgement to a mechanical process. From a different perspective doping could be seen as improving a material, not somehow flawing in in an ultimately useful way.

    1. A big thanks to and admiration for Ive but he mis-states facts by saying “begins at the molecular level”. Adding silver, copper and palladium has nothing to do with the molecular level” of anything.

  2. In related news, impurities are deliberately introduced into pure crystals of germanium or silicon to create semiconductors. Doping Scandal Revealed; Apple Declines to Comment

  3. Maybe “error” is a metallugical term with which I’m not familiar. I know I’d never heard of “complications” before the Watch came along. But “error” really sounds judgmental. Apple has done everything very deliberately.

  4. Another attempt to ride the Apple bandwagon. Alloying and Work Hardening are what he is describing and he even says these terms in the article. He’s just trying to make it sound controversial by describing it a different way. Nothing new here. One could say all car companies put flaws into their metal parts so their cars perform better.

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