I have always been uncomfortable with the way the Apple Watch backs up and the fact that you can not see the update or force an update without unpairing (and hoping the mysterious process works).
I have now come across another issue with the backup process. My iPhone has a suspected issue with its settings which may mean that I will have to go back to factory settings and set up from scratch (am hoping it does not come to that). I discovered that if I did have to go this route then I would also have to set up my Apple Watch from scratch (as well) since the backup is on the iPhone
Is it not time that Apple revamped Apple Watch updates and also kept the backup separate from the iPhone backup e.g. in the Cloud?
One thing that might be helpful: if you have any customized watch faces, go into the Watch app, tap each of the watch faces one-by-one which you want to recreate (at the top, under “My Faces”), and tap the Share control on the top-right and share them to a Note, email, etc., which you will be able to have available after the factory reset. After pairing the watch again, you will be able to tap the attachment and recreate the watch face rather than go through the process of editing the complications, etc.
I backup my iPhone to a Mac using a password (this used to be done with a Lightning cable and iTunes in older macOS). In which case you should be able to restore the data and settings to a reset or replacement iPhone.This should include the Watch backup.
This should also work for iCloud backups of the iPhone.
But I agree that not being able to backup the watch unless it is unpaired is ludicrous.
Maybe give feedback to Apple:
While I think this would be a useful feature for Apple to add, and I hope that they do someday, to be honest, it’s really not all that difficult to set up an Apple Watch from scratch. I would argue that most people have very, very few apps installed, probably use the defaults for notifications, and setting up watch faces is not all that difficult to do.
And I just erased and restored my iPhone from iCloud, re-paired my Apple Watches (I have a spare), and there was still set-up things that I had to do. Adding Apple Cards was one of the steps, adding the watch passcode was another, but I still had to set my move, exercise, and stand ring goals - those were not restored. And while I didn’t have to re-create watch faces, I still had some work to do with watch faces, as almost all of them were duplicated. So maybe starting from scratch isn’t so bad.