What is the red '!' on my Apple Watch?

Why is there a red exclamation point on my Apple Watch? What does the red "!" mean on Apple Watch?

Apple Watch recovery mode

Seeing a red exclamation point (!) on the Apple Watch screen is bad news. This means the Apple Watch needs a firmware restore. It's possible something went wrong during a system update, or another problem such as a frozen Apple Watch leads to the "!" alert symbol. While there is no way to connect Apple Watch to a computer at home, Apple has added wireless restore capabilities.

Before taking the Apple Watch for recovery service, try restoring the Apple Watch directly from your iPhone. This feature is supported when both iOS 15.4 or later and watchOS 8.5 and later are installed.

If the restore process fails, you may continue to see the red circular "!" icon on Apple Watch. In this case, the device must be recovered by Apple Support or an authorized service provider.