When Apple announced the new titanium case for the Apple Watch Series 5, they touted that it came with an anti-scratch coating that will protect it for more durability. Why would they need to do that, you may have wondered? They don't do that for steel, black ionic plated versions notwithstanding (i.e. their Space Black).
While it's true that titanium is a strong, lightweight metal, and pound for pound, it's indeed stronger than steel, it's actually soft on the surface and Apple knows that too. It's not too hard to scratch it.
Just today, I went to the local Apple store here in Hong Kong to test out our JUUK bands to ensure that they fit the Series 5, which they did with no issues as I had hoped. I also wanted to check out the titanium Apple Watch because I love the material for watches after having owned an awesome one made by Breitling (Chrono Avenger for anyone watch enthusiasts out there).
To my surprise, it was quite badly scratched up already, as you can see here:
Keep in mind, this was only ONE DAY after these started going on display at the Apple store! I asked the staff why this didn't hold up since it had an anti-scratch coating and he just said it was probably played around with a lot. But this is was one day, and they keep it locked in the drawer underneath the desk until someone asks to see it.
I'm not bashing Apple here because I'm a huge fan of theirs obviously, but clearly there's something going on with these units that hopefully isn't reflective of all of their titanium watches (but it may very well be because this is just an inherent property of titanium). And it's not just Apple's challenge to come up with an effective anti-scratch coating but the entire watch industry's; it's not easy. The only successful, clear coating that comes to mind is from Citizen called Duratect, but they don't license this to anyone else so no one else has access to this technology.
Hopefully when people hear about titanium being super strong, they're not going to assume that it's hard to scratch because that's not the case at all, as you can see above. With lowered expectations, maybe they'll get fewer complaints, but it'll be interesting to see how it goes over the next several months as users get more wearing time with their new titanium Series 5 Apple Watches!