Review: Customize Your Apple Watch's Digital Crown and Side Button With WatchDots

by

Beyond casing material and band, there are no other obvious customization options for the Apple Watch, but one product is aiming to change that. WatchDots are small, colorful vinyl stickers that change the look of the Apple Watch's Digital Crown and side button.

WatchDots come in six colors and were conceived as a way for Apple Watch Sport owners to match their Digital Crowns to their bands, mimicking the colored Digital Crowns on some of the gold Edition Apple Watches. Colors mainly match the Sport bands, in black, white, blue, pink, and green, but there's also a red option to mimic Tim Cook's own Apple Watch, which has a red Digital Crown.

whitewatchdots
I have a stainless steel Apple Watch with a white Sport Band, so I ordered the matching white WatchDots to give them a try (I also ordered pink, but those are backordered). It's hard to wax poetic about a set of nondescript vinyl stickers, but I like the WatchDots. They tie the look of the band to the look of the Apple Watch, and they've also drawn a lot of notice -- not from the general public, but from other Apple Watch owners.

blackwatchdots
WatchDots cost $9.99, which is a bit expensive given their size in relation to a vinyl sticker you might get for your iPhone or MacBook. For that price, you get three sets of dots in your chosen color (with 3 dots for the Digital Crown and three dots for the side button), along with a bonus set in another color (mine was black).

watchdotspackagecontents
As with any vinyl sticker, you'll need some tools to apply WatchDots: a microfiber cloth to clean the Digital Crown and side button, a bright light, and some scissors to cut apart the pieces. Having applied a lot of screen protectors and vinyl stickers in my life, I looked at the WatchDots and assumed they'd be difficult to apply, but I was pleasantly surprised by a clever application method that only takes a couple of seconds.

watchdotsnecessarysupplies
Each WatchDot sticker is backed with an opaque sticky material. You cut out a square of this around the dot, line it up on the Apple Watch, press, and hold for a few seconds. The pressure and the heat of a finger cause the decal to stick to the Apple Watch rather than the backing paper, which you can just peel away. The opaque material can make it a little difficult to see what you're doing, but with decent lighting, it's not a big deal. WatchDots' creators are looking for a better backing material, so the opaqueness may change in the future.

Sizing on all of the WatchDot pieces that I received was uniform and each piece fit well on the watch. On the Digital Crown, the dot doesn't cover every trace of black at the edges (my natural dot is black because I have a stainless steel watch), but were the dot any bigger, it doesn't look like it'd fit securely. The same goes for the side button sticker -- it's not edge to edge, but that's not possible because the button is somewhat curved.

whitewatchdotssideview
WatchDots creator Jason Fournier tells me the ideal size of the WatchDots was determined after a lot of prototyping and testing. An edge-to-edge design for both buttons was tested, but it left no margin of error for applying the films, making alignment difficult. "Because of this," he said, "we intentionally chose a slightly smaller size to allow for human error."

My WatchDots have been on my Apple Watch for about two weeks now and they're looking as good as new. There's been no peeling, even when my watch has gotten wet, and using the Digital Crown and side button a lot hasn't affected them. Since this is a review, I put on and removed several sets of WatchDots, and I can safely say they're not going to cause any damage to your watch. You can peel them right off with a fingernail, but like most vinyl stickers, they're not reusable.

whitewatchdotsonwrist
I asked Fournier how the idea for WatchDots was conceived, and he told me the concept came to the WatchDots team after seeing the difference between the Apple Watch Sport and other Apple Watch models.

On the Edition model the Digital Crown is color-matched to the band. On the stainless steel model the Digital Crown is black. Apple has set a precedent that a color-matched crown is a desirable look and our goal was to bring that to the lower-cost watches with a high-quality, inexpensive product.

Because they were conceived to match the Apple Watch Sport, WatchDots are available in a limited number of colors for the time being, but Fornier says new colors will be coming in the future. Orange, yellow, and gold have been popular recommendations from customers, and the WatchDots team is also exploring different materials and textures.

My own suggestion was emoji WatchDots, a request Fornier says the WatchDots team is looking into as part of an expansion into graphics, icons, and other custom designs, so at some point in the future, we may be able to decorate our Apple Watches with smileys, hearts, and other little characters. Jony Ive probably won't approve, but the Apple Watch was designed to be personalized.

Bottom Line

WatchDots aren't going to appeal to everyone, but I like the look of a Digital Crown that matches my band, and many Sport Watch users may agree. At $9.99, WatchDots are definitely pricy, but they're the most affordable way to add a bit of flare to your watch.

whitewatchdotsonwrist2

How to Buy

WatchDots can be purchased from the WatchDots website for $9.99. Each purchase includes three sets of WatchDots in your chosen color along with a bonus random set.

Update 3/31/16: I removed the WatchDots from my Apple Watch after having left them on for several months and there was a residue left behind. This didn't happen the first few times I removed the WatchDots, but I recommend using with caution.

Note: MacRumors received no compensation for this review.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
67 months ago
We're reviewing stickers now?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago
It's only my opinion, but this is laughable... Next will be themed Hello Kitty stickers. I've never faulted macrumors for reviewing a product until now. This is like a review for a $1 phone case from the dollar store. This deserves 0 attention. I'm surprised there's not a drawing.

I'll take some jewel stickers out of my daughter's bracelet set and stick them to the crown so it's bedazzled.

:(
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago
I'm not able to interpret this tagline as anything but innuendo—I mean, these are basically Pasties for watches:



Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago
Look horrid. And $10 for a couple stickers barely bigger than the head of a pencil?

I suppose a sucker is born every minute.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago
We can say anything we want as long as we preface it with something like, "I don't mean to be rude, but ...," right?

I don't mean to be rude, but that looks
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago

My own suggestion was emoji WatchDots, a request Fornier says the WatchDots team is looking into as part of an expansion into graphics, icons, and other custom designs, so at some point in the future, we may be able to decorate our Apple Watches with smileys, hearts, and other little characters.

Don't forget to have skin tone modifiers.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When a Mac is Plugged In

Monday August 3, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
If you have a Mac and have seen a "Not Charging" warning when plugging it in to power, Apple last week released a support document that explains why. Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.Depending ...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Unreleased iPod Touch with Mac Pro Glossy Black Finish Shared Online

Sunday August 2, 2020 11:32 am PDT by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today posted images of what seems to be a first-generation iPod Touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish. The Twitter user claims that the iPod Touch prototype pictured has "the same coating as the 2013 Mac Pro." Had the finish been selected for the final product, it also would have been similar to the metallic glossy black finish that...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 4: Apple TV Widget, Search Improvements, Exposure Notification API and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 11:14 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth developer betas of iOS and iPadOS 14 for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features and design changes included in the update. Changes get smaller and less notable as the beta testing period goes on, but there are still some noteworthy new features in the fourth beta, which we've highlighted below. - Apple TV widget - There's a new Apple TV...

Microsoft to Stop Supporting Office 2016 for Mac in October

Monday August 3, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Microsoft's Office 2016 for Mac is set to reach its end of support date on October 13, 2020, and after that date, connecting to Office 365 services using the Office 2016 for Mac software will no longer be supported. Microsoft shared the detail in a support document from July highlighting which versions of Office will be supported for connecting to Office 365 services in the future.Connecting ...

Apple Shares Requirements for Default Third-Party Browser and Email Apps With Developers

Monday August 3, 2020 4:28 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 plans to allow users to set a third-party app as the default email or browser app on an iPhone or iPad, replacing the current Apple-made default apps Safari and Mail. Apple hasn't provided many details on the new feature to users, but as noted by MacStories' Federico Vittici, Apple has shared documentation with developers who want their apps to have the option to be set as a...