That sounds really frustrating, @david19 . For what it’s worth, I have a Series 3, and have not encountered those kinds of issues. I do all the kinds of things that Apple said were possible with it, and I’d estimate from looking at the app screen that there are about 30 Watch apps installed. That likely includes the required ones, but also tidbits like “Hello Weather”, “Parcel”, and “iPeng”, and the Lutron app for my home automation devices.
When an update, minor or major, comes along, I wait like any good TidBITs reader for a couple of days before installing it. (The one that came out today might be an exception because of the security issues involved.) I authorize the install before I take off my watch for the night, put it on its charger, and go to sleep, as does the watch. The update is installed in the morning, without any recourse to manual resets or restarts.
Offering this as an experience comparison; I do believe there’s an issue with your Watch or what’s loaded on it. What makes it weird is that you say there’s no apps added to it. So, I don’t know what the difference would be between the two instances. I just know mine works the way you’d expect it to.
Good luck with getting this sorted out!