Beyond a unique sales process and exclusivity to select stores, even returning the Apple Watch Edition will have its own special process. Bringing the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition back to an Apple Store for a refund will require the device to be scrutinized under micro-inspection by Apple Store staff, according to sources. While the return process itself is unique, the return timeframe will be the standard 14 days like most of Apple’s other products…
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When an Edition is brought into the store to be returned, the Watch will first be visually inspected by a member of the floor staff to ensure that the luxury device is in proper condition and is not cracked nor engraved. Next, an allocated Genius Bar staff member will inspect the Watch with special tools, including microscopes and a gold weight scale, to ensure that no gold has been removed from the Watch to be sold on secondary markets.
Critically, only Apple Store managers can process Apple Watch Edition returns, and the process can only be conducted once the device is approved for return by the aforementioned Genius Bar staff member. Exchanges, on the other hand, must be handled over the phone with the Apple Online Store team, and this applies to the stainless steel Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport in addition to the gold Edition versions.
Apple tells employees to handle Apple Watch Edition returns with “extreme care,” and that the watches must be stored in dedicated “tamper-evident Apple Watch Edition return bags.” Additionally, both the Genius Bar member who inspects the Watch and the store manager must sign the return bag to ensure that the process was properly completed. The watches will then be stored in the store safe and then securely returned to Apple corporate.