The Apple Support Communities has been swamped with complaints from users about the Digital Crown getting stuck. …
Apple has published a document “Get Help with the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch” following which you can solve the Digital Crown stickiness issues.
Apple’s advice for restoring your gunked-up Digital Crown is delightfully ironic: They want you to rinse it under running water.
Considering how the critics simultaneously lauded the Digital Crown and lamented Apple Watch’s lack of sufficient waterproofing, this quick fix represents something of a total turnaround in consumer expectation.
It’s also indicative of bigger problems in the design of Apple Watch itself. It’s been my contention from the start that the Digital Crown is little more than aesthetic accoutrement, an homage to the history of timekeeping where something a bit more modern would be a lot more useful and durable. The scroll and zoom functions that the thing performs can be equally achieved via a clickable touch panel, minus the seemingly commonplace potential for obstructive environmental buildup through regular use. A further benefit to such a touch-based solution would be inertial scrolling, perhaps with an edge-hold function to eliminate the need for multiple spins of the current hardware. In terms of device longevity, moving parts are the bane of mobile technology. And the more moving that those moving parts do, the more likely they are to break down.
In a couple of years, Apple will understand that sales no longer need (and probably never needed) the skeuomorphic Digital Crown to entice traditionalists, at which time I expect the company’s assembly and bottom lines to both insist on its obsolescence.