Choosing your Apple Watch: Case and band combinations demystified

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited March 2015
After deciding on a case size and material, choosing a band is the most important part of buying a new Apple Watch. Apple uses case and band combinations to stratify the wearable's pricing, so AppleInsider took a look at the options.




Tl;dr:
  • Every Apple band will fit every Apple watch of the same case size, but not all bands are available separately and some are only sold in a single case size.

  • Sport bands with gold hardware are only bundled with Edition models and can't be bought separately.

  • The same goes for the classic buckle with gold hardware, but the Edition also gets an exclusive midnight blue classic buckle.

  • The space black link bracelet is not sold separately and is only available with the space black stainless steel Watch.

  • The leather loop is only compatible with 42-millimeter cases.

  • The modern buckle is only compatible with 38-millimeter cases.

  • Rose gray and bright red modern buckles with gold hardware are only available with the Edition.

  • If you want a dark Watch, you'll have to buy a space gray Sport or the $1,000+ space black stainless steel Watch.

  • For band sizing, Apple provides a helpful guide.

The Bands

Apple offers six types of bands for the Watch: the sport band, the leather loop, the classic buckle, the milanese loop, the modern buckle, and the link bracelet, in ascending order of cost.

The sport band is made of fluoroelastomer (rubber), and can be had in black, white, pink, blue, or green. A small metal peg slots through a hole to serve as the clasp -- for most bands, the peg is silver, but the black band is available with either a silver or space gray peg.

All of the sport bands are available in both 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter versions, and can be purchased individually for $49. Notably, purchasing a sport band will actually net two bands -- one small-medium band and one medium-large band, with the lengths varying depending on the case size.

There is one exception to the sport band rule: the Edition models can be purchased with black or white sport bands that come with color-matched gold pegs, and these bands can't be bought separately.

The leather loop ($149) is made of Italian leather and utilizes a unique fold-over clasp system, with magnets embedded into the links. The entire band -- including the lugs -- is made of leather, with the exception of a metal ring around the slot where the band folds back over itself.

It can be purchased with stone, light brown, black, or bright blue leather in either medium (for wrists measuring 150 to 185 millimeters) or large (for wrists measuring 180 to 210 millimeters).

Unfortunately, there is no leather loop band for 38-millimeter cases. Buyers hoping to dress up a base-model Sport Watch with a leather loop band will be forced to go for the 42-millimeter case.

The classic buckle ($149) is available in black leather with stainless steel hardware for both 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter cases. The 38-millimeter model fits wrists between 125 and 200 millimeters, while the 42-millimeter model fits wrists between 145 and 215 millimeters.

As with the sport band, the Edition Watches come with color-matched classic buckles that cannot be purchased separately. The Edition also gains an exclusive midnight blue classic buckle with gold hardware.




The milanese loop ($149) is made entirely of woven stainless steel mesh and sports a fold-over magnetic closure much like the leather loop. It's available for both 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter cases, with the 38-millimeter model fitting wrists between 130 and 180 millimeters while the 42-millimeter model fits wrists between 150 and 200 millimeters.

The modern buckle ($249) uses a stainless steel magnetic locking clasp and can be purchased with soft pink, brown, black, or midnight blue leather in small, medium, and large sizes. Small fits wrists between 135 and 150 millimeters, graduating to 145 to 165 millimeters for the medium band and 160 millimeters to 180 millimeters for the large band.

Again, the Edition gets special treatment with the modern buckle. Rose gray and bright red color options are exclusive to the Edition, and each features color-matched gold hardware -- these are actually the most expensive models in the Apple Watch Edition collection, fetching $17,000 a piece.

Finally, the link bracelet ($449) is made entirely of stainless steel and features a double-button deployment clasp. It's available for both case sizes, with the smaller 38-millimeter version suitable for wrists between 135 and 195 millimeters, compared to the 140 to 205 millimeter range for its larger sibling.

In the case of the link bracelet, the stainless steel Watch is the benefactor of a special setup. A diamond-coated space black link bracelet is paired with the space black steel Watch, and is not available for purchase separately.

The Combinations




So, what does this all mean for you when choosing a Watch? Essentially, the more expensive or exclusive the band is, the more expensive your Apple Watch will be -- and if you want a band that isn't offered as part of a bundle, you'll have to purchase it separately.

The Sport collection can be purchased with any color sport band ($349 for 38 millimeters, $399 for 42 millimeters) -- though the black band is only offered with the space gray body -- and two different band sizes will be included in the box. Any other Apple Watch band will fit, provided it's offered for your case size.

The Watch collection can be had with black or white sport bands ($549/$599); a black classic buckle ($649/$699); a milanese loop ($649/$699); a black, midnight blue, soft pink, or brown modern buckle (38-millimeter only, $749); a black, bright blue, stone, or brown leather loop (42-millimeter only, $699); a stainless steel link bracelet ($949/$999); or a space black link bracelet with matching space black stainless steel case ($1,049/$1,099).

The Edition collection is available in rose gold with a white and gold sport band ($10,000/$12,000); yellow gold with a black and gold sport band ($10,000/$12,000); rose gold with a rose gray and gold modern buckle (38-millimeter only, $17,000); yellow gold with a black and gold classic buckle (42-millimeter only, $15,000); yellow gold with bright red and gold modern buckle (38-millimeter only, $17,000); or yellow gold with midnight blue and gold classic buckle ($15,000).
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 133
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,610member
    "The Sport collection can be purchased with any color sport band ($349 for 38 millimeters, $399 for 42 millimeters), and two different band sizes will be included in the box."

    Well...the apple store current contradicts this. There are "10 (sport) models available." 38mm and 42mm versions 4 silver cases with white, blue, green and pink bands. A space grey (38 and 42) with black band.

    Perhaps this will be updated. Otherwise...no black band on the silver case for purchase together. And only black band on the space grey.

    Of course, you could buy a second (set of) sport bands of any color for $49.
  • Reply 2 of 133
    pigybankpigybank Posts: 178member
    Thanks to aftermarket... aside from the bands that are only made for one size of watch, you'll be able to buy any of these bands for any of these watches, just not brand new.
  • Reply 3 of 133
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member
    Space Gray Sport model for me. With black Sport Band please.
  • Reply 4 of 133
    "Deployment clasp" should be "deployant clasp". More specifically it's a "butterfly deployant clasp".
  • Reply 5 of 133

    As an Apple Shareholder I am miffed at the fact that I will need my iPhone 6 with me at all times to use the full functionality of my Apple Watch. I want to go for a run without a clunky phone strapped to my arm or in my shorts. I will wait for the Apple Watch that will give this functionality. I don't need to squint and read emails/texts on a Watch size screen when I have the iPhone 6 in my pocket. I'm not sure who this appeals to besides women who keep their phones in their purses or pocketbooks.

  • Reply 6 of 133
    I strongly suggest that anyone interested in buying an Apple Watch in order to collect dust for their drawer get the black leather strap. It's the only classy one. Steel is not as comfortable to wear.

    Avoid the white one at all costs, unless you wish to be seen as incurably naff.
  • Reply 7 of 133
    As an Apple Shareholder I am miffed at the fact that I will need my iPhone 6 with me at all times to use the full functionality of my Apple Watch. I want to go for a run without a clunky phone strapped to my arm or in my shorts. I will wait for the Apple Watch that will give this functionality. I don't need to squint and read emails/texts on a Watch size screen when I have the iPhone 6 in my pocket. I'm not sure who this appeals to besides women who keep their phones in their purses or pocketbooks.

    Precisely.

    Women are the target market.
  • Reply 8 of 133
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



    Avoid the white one at all costs, unless you wish to be seen as incurably naff.

     

    I believe that Tim Cook was sporting an all white Apple Watch yesterday at the event.

  • Reply 9 of 133

    Cool tech or not, Apple products should be fully operable on their own and not require another piece of "cool tech" to run. Cool tech doesn't raise my share price but forward thinking and ingenuity does and unfortunately this product is a dud. The market movers have spoken as well with AAPL down almost 2% today. 

  • Reply 10 of 133
    I need 240mm watch strap, Apple's go to 215mm.
    It is what it is. But the long wrist strap from the original Pebble well exceeds 240mm. Does Apple not want fat Apple geeks to get more active?

    So my options are:
    Put my wrist on a diet. (These things take time.)
    Punch an extra hole in a sport watch strap.
    Try and buy some extra links from someone who doesn't need them for their link bracelet.
    Go after market.
    The classic strap does not appear to have room for more holes.

    Are any others faced with the same problem?
  • Reply 11 of 133
    As an Apple Shareholder I am miffed at the fact that I will need my iPhone 6 with me at all times to use the full functionality of my Apple Watch. I want to go for a run without a clunky phone strapped to my arm or in my shorts. I will wait for the Apple Watch that will give this functionality. I don't need to squint and read emails/texts on a Watch size screen when I have the iPhone 6 in my pocket. I'm not sure who this appeals to besides women who keep their phones in their purses or pocketbooks.

    Actually… From what I understand, you can keep your phone separated from your watch for short periods of time. As in exercise or other activities. It will connect and distribute the information to the phone when in proximity.

    Of course GPS and other advanced functions will be inoperable when away from the phone.

    My only problem with the Apple Watch, is the rounded square face. Although I do understand why they chose it for various reasons, aesthetically I prefer a circular shape.

    Other than that I have once again drank the apple cool-aid again.

    Currently I'm looking at the space gray steel watch with space gray link, brown and black leather ribbed band, black sport bands, and Milanese for starters.

    Time to take out a loan … LOL.

    I might just go with one band for now, I can just see a slew of aftermarket bands that will achieve the same look for a much lower cost.

    Although they will not have the same quality, and most likely not feel as comfortable… The prices for a variety of bands is too high for me.
  • Reply 12 of 133

    Right!  You should not have to have any other piece of Apple gear to fully utilize the Watch- just like the original iPod... er no wait, the original iPhone, wait no scratch that one too.  Hmmm.  "Market movers" are consistently wrong when it comes to Apple.  Apple's stock drops almost every single time they make a big announcement because "market movers" seem to think they understand what people want to buy better than the people running the most profitable company in the world.

  • Reply 13 of 133
    psych_guypsych_guy Posts: 480member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    another weak effort by our resident troll.  




    I hadn't done it yet, but it's time I block this BF fool.  Some of his poop is just too smelly to bear.

  • Reply 14 of 133
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RaoulDuke42 View Post

     

    Right!  You should not have to have any other piece of Apple gear to fully utilize the Watch- just like the original iPod... er no wait, the original iPhone, wait no scratch that one too.  Hmmm.  "Market movers" are consistently wrong when it comes to Apple.  Apple's stock drops almost every single time they make a big announcement because "market movers" seem to think they understand what people want to buy better than the people running the most profitable company in the world.




    Ok, as soon as I posted that I realized that one of my two snarky comparisons wasn't quite valid- you could sync an original iPhone with a PC through iTunes- but still, you had to have a computer running a piece of Apple software to activate the thing at all and it (and the iPod) did pretty all right.

  • Reply 15 of 133
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by StephanJobs View Post





    Actually… From what I understand, you can keep your phone separated from your watch for short periods of time. As in exercise or other activities. It will connect and distribute the information to the phone when in proximity.



    Of course GPS and other advanced functions will be inoperable when away from the phone.



    My only problem with the Apple Watch, is the rounded square face. Although I do understand why they chose it for various reasons, aesthetically I prefer a circular shape.



    Other than that I have once again drank the apple cool-aid again.



    Currently I'm looking at the space gray steel watch with space gray link, brown and black leather ribbed band, black sport bands, and Milanese for starters.



    Time to take out a loan … LOL.



    I might just go with one band for now, I can just see a slew of aftermarket bands that will achieve the same look for a much lower cost.



    Although they will not have the same quality, and most likely not feel as comfortable… The prices for a variety of bands is too high for me.

    The whole reason why I'd want to run with an Apple Watch on is so I can track my distance/time/calories burned and without the iPhone in my pocket the GPS will be inoperable. It's important to have this data as I am running not after I am done with a run.

  • Reply 16 of 133
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by freethinker View Post

     

    Cool tech or not, Apple products should be fully operable on their own and not require another piece of "cool tech" to run. Cool tech doesn't raise my share price but forward thinking and ingenuity does and unfortunately this product is a dud. The market movers have spoken as well with AAPL down almost 2% today. 




    Exactly! That their monitors require an actual computer is outrageous I say, outrageous. And just how "smart" is a mouse that needs a computer? Phoo!

     

    Some Apple products are accessories: the Apple Watch is one. Oh and the market Dow J, NASDAQ and S&P are all down MORE than Apple. Everybody release a watch yesterday?

     

    "Correlation does not imply causation" Apologies for not knowing the fancy Latin...

  • Reply 17 of 133
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RaoulDuke42 View Post

     



    Ok, as soon as I posted that I realized that one of my two snarky comparisons wasn't quite valid- you could sync an original iPhone with a PC through iTunes- but still, you had to have a computer running a piece of Apple software to activate the thing at all and it (and the iPod) did pretty all ri


     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RaoulDuke42 View Post

     



    Ok, as soon as I posted that I realized that one of my two snarky comparisons wasn't quite valid- you could sync an original iPhone with a PC through iTunes- but still, you had to have a computer running a piece of Apple software to activate the thing at all and it (and the iPod) did pretty all right.


    Clearly I am waiting until the Apple Watch doesn't need the iPhone in order to fully operate. When that happens, I will dump my iPhone and buy the Apple Watch. 

  • Reply 18 of 133
    As an Apple Shareholder I am miffed at the fact that I will need my iPhone 6 with me at all times to use the full functionality of my Apple Watch. I want to go for a run without a clunky phone strapped to my arm or in my shorts. I will wait for the Apple Watch that will give this functionality. I don't need to squint and read emails/texts on a Watch size screen when I have the iPhone 6 in my pocket. I'm not sure who this appeals to besides women who keep their phones in their purses or pocketbooks.

    Of course! Why didn't that stupid, stupid Jony Ive and all those engineers design it that way?!?! You should demand Tim Cook's head in a platter. It's your right as a "shareholder."
  • Reply 19 of 133
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jfc1138 View Post

     



    Exactly! That their monitors require an actual computer is outrageous I say, outrageous. And just how "smart" is a mouse that needs a computer? Phoo!

     

    Some Apple products are accessories: the Apple watch is one. Oh and the market Dow J, NASDAQ and S&P are all down MORE than Apple. Everybody release a watch yesterday?


    How many people will 

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    do you want to join our fun bet?

     

    If Apple sells 15 million units in its first 12 months you ban yourself for 1 month.

    If not I ban myself.

     

    I already got a couple of takers.  You game or what?  Or are all talk.

     

    FYI, 15 million will make the watch the fastest selling Apple product of all time.


    I will happily ban myself forever if apple sells 15 million units. I don't care at all about commenting on this board though I've been a member since 2008. AAPL has been the lynch pin of my portfolio since 2005 and I'm quite happy to never speak again on this board if this Watch is a success. I will just swim in my money. 

  • Reply 20 of 133
    jfc1138 wrote: »
     


    Exactly! That their monitors require an actual computer is outrageous I say, outrageous. And just how "smart" is a mouse that needs a computer? Phoo!

    Some Apple products are accessories: the Apple watch is one. Oh and the market Dow J, NASDAQ and S
    How many people will 
    sog35 wrote: »
     

    do you want to join our fun bet?

    If Apple sells 15 million units in its first 12 months you ban yourself for 1 month.
    If not I ban myself.

    I already got a couple of takers.  You game or what?  Or are all talk.

    FYI, 15 million will make the watch the fastest selling Apple product of all time.
    I will happily ban myself forever if apple sells 15 million units. I don't care at all about commenting on this board though I've been a member since 2008. AAPL has been the lynch pin of my portfolio since 2005 and I'm quite happy to never speak again on this board if this Watch is a success. I will just swim in my money. 

    Not so.

    The iPad sold over 15 million in its first year.

    If it sells 16 million or more, it will be an unqualified success.
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