Although Apple originally expected to rely on now-bankrupt GT Advanced Technologies to supply the sapphire for use in the manufacturing of the Apple Watch, it appears they were able to find a Russian firm to step in and pick up the slack.
Apple’s scratch resistant sapphire supplier for the Apple Watch is reportedly Monocrystal, a Russian firm which has become the largest synthetic sapphire manufacturer in the world.
Apple uses Monocrystal’s 2-inch sapphire wafers, accounting for 40% of the Russian firm’s output. The company’s annual revenue for 2014 was $87 million, one of the few sapphire makers to post an operating profit for the year.
Sputnik News reports the depreciation of the ruble has made the firm more economically competitive, and Monocrystal expects to exploit the low ruble to boost 2-inch sapphire production from 4 million units a month to 5 million by the end of 2015.
Monocrystal’s sapphire production isn’t dedicated to Apple, it has a number of clients it serves, including other watchmakers, so its difficult to calculate just how much of the company’s wafer production goes to the Cupertino firm’s wearable devices.
American firm, GT Advanced Technologies was originally expected to fill the lion’s share of Apple’s sapphire glass needs. Apple even helped the firm establish a factory in Mesa, Arizona. GT ultimately went bankrupt after burning through loads of cash without ever manufacturing an acceptable product. GT blamed unreasonable demands by Apple, something the latter denied. The two companies are still working to solve the dispute in court.