Apple Watch Ultra durability just tested — here’s how tough it really is

a photo of the Apple Watch Ultra and the Ultra being smashed with a hammer
(Image credit: Future/YouTube:TechRax)

In our Apple Watch Ultra review we described Cupertino's biggest smartwatch as one seriously good sports and adventure watch. But is it a tough as it thinks it it? 

Well, that's what YouTuber TechRax (opens in new tab)  set out to find out with a little help from a mallet and other tech-worrying paraphernalia. 

How tough is the Apple Watch Ultra? 

The Apple Watch Ultra has a 49mm display, that is made from sapphire crystal glass, designed to be durable and tough. It’s the same material as that used on other adventure watches, such as the Garmin Fenix 7. The bezel is made from titanium, with a lip around the screen to protect the screen from knocks and drops. 

But how durable is the watch in reality? To find out more, this YouTuber dropped the Apple Watch screen down from around four feet, chucked it in a box of nails, and smashed it with a hammer.

Here's what we learned about the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra from the video: 

Test 1: Drop on screen

a screenshot of the Apple Watch Ultra being dropped

(Image credit: YouTube/TechRax)

In the first test, the Apple Watch Ultra was dropped on a concrete floor faced-down, and the screen remained perfectly in tact. The titanium bezel had a few bumps and scratches, but if you are truly taking the watch out for an adventure, this is to be expected. So far, so good, especially considering I smashed the screen of a Garmin by dropping it by the side of the pool from a much lower height. 

Test 2: Scratch with nails

a photo of the apple watch ultra being scratched by nails

(Image credit: YouTube/TechRax)

Next up, the YouTuber slipped the Apple Watch Ultra into a plastic carton filled with nails. Again, there was minimal scratching on the screen on the bezel, and it was only the orange Alpine Loop band that looked a little dirtier after the test. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest drawbacks with the Alpine Loop — I’ve been wearing mine for four days and have done around 30 miles of running and hiking, and it’s already looking grubby. Personally, I prefer a silicone band for this reason, but I digress. 

Test 3: Smash with hammer

a screenshot of the Apple Watch Ultra being hit with a hammer

(Image credit: YouTube/TechRax)

Lastly, the mallet smash test. I admit I watched this from between my fingers, but surprisingly, the Apple Watch Ultra fared remarkably well, withstanding a good few hits from the hammer before showing any signs of damage. In fact, the table below the watch cracked before the screen did. The display turned off after the 12th hit with the hammer, suggesting that the impact had caused some internal damage, but the screen remained intact for a few more blows before shattering.

Of course, this isn’t the most realistic test in the world, but it does prove that the Apple Watch Ultra is far more rugged than your everyday smartwatch. I wasn’t expecting it to survive so many hits with the hammer, and am definitely reassured that next time I drop my watch on the side of the pool, this one might just survive. 

Looking for more Apple Watch Ultra news? Here’s my favorite running feature on the Apple Watch Ultra, plus a guide to the Apple Watch Ultra vs Apple Watch Series 8

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.