Apple Watch Heart Rate Sensor Problems: Defective Hardware or Buggy Software

Shortly after I got my Apple Watch, I realized that its heart rate sensor was defective. I contacted Apple who had me perform a couple of resets, then the WatchOS 1.0.1 software update was released. I applied that update, and it did not improve matters. (Though for many users, that update broke the heart rate sensor.)

I got a replacement Apple Watch today, under the assumption by AppleCare that the device was faulty. I still see the same thing. Here’s a screenshot from the Health app, showing some problems:

Heart rate sensor problems

You can see one reading that’s way too high (162, at 12:24), and another that’s way too low (58, at 12:34). Note that all these readings were manual; I was walking on my treadmill, but I did not initiate a workout, in order to see if the Apple Watch would count any of this time as Exercise.

So, the question is this: are there a lot of defective Apple Watches, where the heart rate monitor doesn’t work? Since mine was faulty out of the box, before the 1.0.1 software update, this is possible. Or is it buggy software, which affected some users (such as me) from the get go, and is now affecting more users?

If you have an Apple Watch, I’d love to hear your experiences. It might help determine whether it’s a hardware or software problem; though it might be a combination of both. Perhaps the watch has difficulty reading the heart rate of certain people (even if they don’t have tattoos).