Want the latest fitness tech, but don’t want to pay full price? Choosing refurbished is a smart way to make a saving. Loads of companies do it, yes even Apple on their Watch lineup. In this guide, I’ll take you through where to look, what’s available, your consumer rights and how much you can save. Let’s go!
Where can I find refurbished Apple Watch deals?
Option One: On Apple’s website…
It’s a well kept secret, but did you know that Apple sell refurbished and clearance products directly to their customers online? The product lines available vary from country to country; whilst there are over 25 locales with with refurbished products, only four at present sell the Apple Watch – UK, Ireland, USA and China.
Bookmark these links in your browser to check deals as and when new stock arrives
What condition are the refurbished products in?
As the manufacturer, you can expect the official refurbishment process to be the most stringent when buying direct from Apple.
An Apple Certified Refurbished Product is defined as pre-owned. It might have been returned to Apple due to technical issues, other times it could be change of mind; you don’t get to find out. Whatever the reason, every unit goes through a rigorous testing procedure to ensure it’s fit for resale.
What does the process involve? Each unit is tested for full functionality and cleaned. Often the Watch is reset to the original Operating System, though sometimes a more recent version is installed.
It may be reassuring for some readers, that Apple don’t resell Watch devices that require replacement parts.
Unlike refurbished offerings from other manufacturers and suppliers, Apple will repackage the Apple Watch in a shiny new box, and provided stock is available, will supply you with the official USB power adapter and magnetic charging cable.
Delivery is free too, so no hidden costs to eat up your savings.
What if something goes wrong?
If you’re unhappy with the condition of the product you receive, you’re covered by Apple’s Standard Returns Policy which is valid for 14 days and will allow you to post the product back for free.
You’re also covered by a one-year warranty so should the refurbished Watch develop a fault, you’ve got support there too.
And for further peace of mind, the refurbished products can be included in AppleCare+ plans, which cover for hardware faults and accidental damage for up to 2 years. Bear in mind though, Apple customers typically have to purchase this insurance within 60 days of the refurbished Apple Watch purchase.
How much money can I save?
The prices in this section were last updated in April 2020 so may no longer be exact deals but still give you an idea of the savings. Typically the price difference between new and refurbished on the Apple Store is around 15%
Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular. Save $50
For the 42mm case size with a black Nike Sport band, the going RRP for a new Apple Watch is $329. Swap new for refurbished and you’ll knock the price down $50 to $279. That’s a 15.1% saving!
The smaller 38mm case was out of stock when I checked, but had been selling for $249 refurbished vs a $299 brand new cost. The same $50 reduction but now a 16.7% saving!
Apple Watch Series 4 GPS + Cellular – Save $100-110
At $549 the 40mm case size is $100 cheaper when buying refurbished instead of brand new. This increased to $110 saving on the larger 44mm case size which can be purchased for $589 refurbished.
How much can I save on a refurbished Series 5 Apple Watch?
Having checked the 4 countries that sell refurbished Apple Watches, none displayed a price for a refurbished Series 5. The eagle eyed amongst you may see the option is greyed out in Apple’s side navigation, suggesting that they’ve either had stock on sale before or will do so again in the future.
Once available, I’ll update this section with accurate prices.
Summary: Buying a refurbished Watch from Apple
- Refurbished officially by Apple
- One year guarantee
- Brand new box and accessories
- Can be more expensive than other options
- Limited to customers in US, China, UK and Ireland
Option 2: Amazon Renewed
An alternative option is to explore Amazon and products that are part of their Renewed program. These are a mix of pre-owned, refurbished and open-box products, that are intended to be in a ‘like-new’ condition.
Amazon have been selling refurbished products for years, I first wrote about their refurbished Garmin Forerunners way back in 2016 as a money saving tactic. And believe me there are plenty of savings to be made on Apple Watches too.
Is this different to Apple’s refurbishment process?
In short, yes. As a marketplace, and offering a larger variety of refurbished product lines, Amazon allows third party companies to refurbish and sell products to customers. Though the process isn’t identical, Amazon sets criteria suppliers have to pass, in order to feature in the Amazon Renewed program. All towards ensuring that customers receive a positive shopping experience.
Amazon Renewed standards:
– No visible cosmetic imperfections when product viewed from 12 inches away.
– Supplier has to provide a minimum 90 day warranty in the US, customers in the EU get 1 year.
– To list a factory refurbished item, without a manufacturer warranty, images of sample unit and packaging have to be submitted to Amazon for review.
Specifically on the topic of Apple Watch, in 2019 Amazon tightened the process for Apple resellers. Any company that wants the “Amazon Renewed” status needs to be handling at least $2.5 million in Apple refurbished products OR approved by Apple as an “Authorised Apple Reseller”.
For reassurance, best practice is to check the product description includes Amazon Renewed, normally where the manufacturer is listed.
Your Rights on Amazon
The Amazon Renewed Guarantee is valid for at least the first 90 days which means you can get a replacement or refund if the product doesn’t work as expected.
If the product doesn’t look like new, you can also return it under the standard Amazon returns policy.
Will it arrive with all the official accessories?
Across many of the Amazon Renewed product descriptions it states that the “box and accessories may be generic” which means though you get a genuine Apple Watch, the other parts that come with it (box, watch straps and cables) don’t have to be manufactured by Apple; sometimes they will and sometimes they won’t.
Now this proposition won’t be for everyone, as some buyers will want to guarantee having all the official accessories, my advice for those concerned is to stick to the refurbished discounts in the Apple Store.
Losing some official accessories is a trade-off but does give you access to cheaper deals on Apple Watches. Decide what you’re comfortable with; remember that if you’re unhappy with the condition of the product, use the Amazon Renewed Guarantee to return it, or spend some of your savings on buying the accessories you really want to have.
Tip: When you find a deal you’re interested in, read the reviews from other customers. Many have unboxing photos to show condition of the product and will describe their experience.
How much can I save with Amazon Renewed?
Being a marketplace, suppliers are going to compete with one another for customers, so prices are volatile and will change often. Whilst this is inconvenient for me to track accurate prices (believe me i’ve updated twice already!), you’re in a great position to buy a refurbished Apple Watch at a seriously discounted price.
For the most up to date deals, bookmark the button link below to visit an Amazon Apple Watch search and then filter the condition option to “Renewed”.
Note: The deal below was last updated on 13th April 2020, and I’m using for example purposes to show what discounts are possible. I’ve even tried pulling through the product dynamically but there still may be a 24hr lag on displaying the most up to date price.
Best Value – Series 3 renewed – $194.95 (13th April 2020)
Yes I found the GPS + Cellular version for under $200. Normally a 38mm case would cost $299, meaning an insane 35 PERCENT DISCOUNT. That’s a big saving.
A couple of days before this model was even cheaper at $189. Expect the prices to change frequently, and check often to find the deal you’re happy with.
Round-up: Buying an refurbished Apple Watch
Choosing refurbished is a simple tactic to save money when buying an Apple Watch.
Both Apple and Amazon provide a route to access these discounts online and hopefully now you have a better understanding of how the processes and your consumer rights may differ.
Which is best, will depend on your own preferences. Whilst Amazon may offer the bigger discounts, it’s the Apple Store that includes a longer warranty for US customers, and will be much more likely to package with official accessories.