Bill Bennett


No allergy worries with Apple Watch Series 2

The last time I wore an Apple Watch it made me ill. The Apple Watch Series 2 models do not. 

Apple’s Watch Series 2 has been on my wrist for almost a month without causing any problems.

You may be thinking: “So what. Isn’t that normal”?

It depends on your definition of normal. I had a severe allergic reaction to something in Apple’s first Watch.

My skin itched, I developed a rash and at one point my hand swelled to almost double normal size. It wasn’t toothache painful, but it wasn’t comfortable.  A surgeon saw this and told me to take it off immediately or face serious illness.

Danger Will Robinson

The metallic back of the first Watch could have been the cause. Or it may have been the watch band. Given the dire warning, I wasn’t prepared to experiment to find out.

There has been no reaction of any description this time around. Whatever caused the reaction is not present in the new Watch.

The most likely problem with the earlier watch was the strap. Apple calls it a band.

Rubber allergy

My review Watch was a 42mm Sports model that came with a black Sport Band. According to Apple it is made from a custom high-performance fluoroelastomer. This is a fluorocarbon-based synthetic rubber.

In theory, a fluoroelastomer is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than latex. Note the word: less. There are reports of people getting contact dermatitis from fluoroelastomer, but my reaction went way beyond that.

The other possibility was the nickel in the metal on the back of the original Apple Watch. Nickel is known to trouble some people. Of course, I could have been reacting to both.

Either way, the reaction was serious. It took weeks for my skin to return to normal.

Once bitten twice shy

Apple swapped my original review watch for a different model with a leather band. I proceeded with caution. Make that extreme caution. The surgeon warned me not to risk it.

By now my skin and hand were back to normal.

At first, I only wore the second Watch for a few minutes. No visible reaction. The next day I tried it for an hour. There may have been a reaction, I’m not sure. After all, it could have been a psychological response given the earlier rash.

I tried the Watch a few more times and even wore it for a few hours one morning. The experiments were inconclusive. There could have been a rash where the metal touched my wrist, but I wasn’t getting the extreme swelling.

Apple Watch Series 2 material

The new Apple Watch Series 2 on my wrist has a dark grey aluminium case with a ceramic back. That’s about as chemically inert as possible. The band is made of woven nylon so it breaths. None of this bothers my skin.

So, for the first time, I’m getting to give an Apple Watch a proper long term test. Look out for my month-long road test of the Apple Watch Series 2 later this week.