The man reports that the strap of his Apple Watch started glowing with heat and he could smell burning flesh.
Jorgen Mouritzen has been left with severe burns after his Apple Watch started smoldering. He reported feeling a searing pain as he attended a meeting of his flying club in Denmark, writes Heine Jorgensen for Ekstrabladet.
Danish man scorched by Apple Watch strap
Mouritzen says that he looked down and saw the Apple Watch smoldering as if an electrical current were coursing through it. He claims that the strap was hot and he could see it burning the skin on his wrist.
“I could smell the burning flesh,” said Mouritzen. “And the strap was so hot that as I scrambled to try and pull it off my arm, I even burnt my fingers.”
He says that he reported the problem to Apple but has not yet received a reply from the Cupertino-based tech giant. “There was nothing else around that could have heated the strap up other than the watch, but Apple has still not given me any explanation,” Mouritzen added.
Brand perception damaged by handling of incident
The victim said that he usually appreciates Apple products but the burning incident has put him off slightly. “I was happy with the watch and generally I’m happy with Apple products, and I’m sure it’s very rare that this should happen. However I’m surprised it’s taken them so long to do anything or to help out a customer,” he said.
Local Danish media attempted to contact Apple but representatives declined to comment on the case. Apple generally has a good record on customer service, but there have been other reports of problems with the Apple Watch.
Although none have generally been as bad as the severe burns suffered by Mouritzen, there have been reports of rashes and burns from other wearers. Apple’s support page warns that “a small number of people will experience reactions to certain materials” used in the strap.
Problems with Apple Watch strap reported on various occasions
A number of Apple Watch components contain nickel, but Apple claims that they contain far less than the limits set by the European REACh regulations governing the metal. Apple says that nickel exposure is “unlikely to be a problem” but warns users to be aware in case they are sensitive to the metal.
The company also advises against wearing the strap too tightly or too loosely, which can rub and irritate your skin.
In July this year various Apple Watch owners reported that the device had burned them. Paula Cerutti also reported the incident to Apple, but later took to Twitter to complain that the company was “being an asshole about it.”
Of course wearing a piece of technology so close to your skin for hours or even days at a time increases the risk of a reaction. Some Apple Watch users stopped using their devices while exercising after noticing a rash, but that takes away the Watch’s key functionality as a health tracker.
Fitbit health trackers ran into similar troubles, and the company even recalled its Force activity tracker following a stream of complaints. In this latest case the issue was not caused by exercise, and the burn is surely worrying for other Apple Watch owners. It is surprising that the company has not acted swiftly to replace Mouritzen’s device and save a potential public relations disaster.