Hermes Apple Watch Series 4 review: Apple's luxury wearable impresses

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in Apple Watch
The fourth-generation Hermes Apple Watch infuses a legacy of Paris fashion into the best wearable Apple has ever produced, even if the experience isn't what it once was.

Apple Watch Series 4 Hermes on box


We've spent the last few weeks trying out two models of Apple's luxury wearable that combine exclusive watch faces with high fashion watch bands.




Paris born

Hermes was established slightly less than 200 years ago in 1837. In the years since, it has continued to focus on high fashion luxury products, often made of leather. That is basically what you are getting when opting for the Hermes version of Apple Watch.

Instead of the paper wrapping of the boxes for the other models, the Hermes model comes in the designers' distinct orange with a slightly textured finish.

There are two boxes inside, one housing the watch and additional components, and the other the leather band that comes bundled with it.

Apple Watch Series 4 Hermes Components


When picking out your preference you only have to choose between the 40mm and 44mm sizes and which band you'd prefer. There is no non-cellular, aluminum, or black option available.

Hermes bands

Apple partnered with Hermes to create the lineup of bands that are available both bundled with the watch and a la carte.

They include four distinct styles and come in several bold colors. The four styles include Swift Leather Double Tour, Swift Leather Single Tour, Fauve Grained Barenia Leather Single Tour Rallye, and Ebene Barenia Leather Single Tour Deployment Buckle.

We checked out the simple Swift Leather Single Tour bands on both our 40mm and 44mm Hermes Apple Watches.

Swift Leather is a common Hermes go-to when dealing with bright colors. It has the uncanny ability to absorb the dye and produce a vivid color, unlike most other leathers.

Apple Watch Series 4 Hermes bands


The bands are extremely soft and supple to the touch thanks to the fine-grain surface texture of the leather.

We've heard some question the thinness of the band and how it will hold up over time. This seems unwarranted in our time with the bands as the leather feels as if it will hold up well, though certainly shouldn't be used when working out, or if you expect there will be a lot of force applied to the band.

When it comes to workouts, that is part of the reason Apple includes the exclusive Hermes-orange Sports Band. Or, you can swap out any other band you'd like from your collection.

The face of luxury

In similar fashion to the Nike+ model of the Apple Watch, Apple has again included a custom watch face exclusive to the Hermes models.

Apple Watch Series 4 Hermes faces


There are a few options to choose from when customizing the face, including the typeface, the number of digitals around the face, the complications, and the colors.

Many of the color options match the band offerings that Hermes has made available, always a nice touch.

Apple Watch Series 4 Hermes Rose band


Something that separates the legitimate faces from, say, an image set as the background, is the animation that progresses throughout the day.

Our biggest complaint about the watch faces is that they still feel a bit limited. There aren't a ton of color or complication options. It makes things a bit limiting for users, who likely will resort to other faces in most circumstances for various reasons. Negating one of the reasons to go for the Hermes model in the first place.

Series 4 is a huge step forward

Apart from the band and the exclusive watch face, the Hermes models are the same as the standard stainless steel Apple Watches. That means all the improvements of the other Series 4 are reflected here as well.

Apple Watch Series 4 Hermes


We outline all of these improvements in our standalone Series 4 review, but we can summarize them here.

In short, the Apple Watch Series 4 is what Apple always new the popular wearable could be. The speed is finally where it should be -- though the Series 3 was no slouch. Speakers are louder and clearer, the microphone works better by being relocated to the other side, fall detection will undoubtedly save lives, and the new heart rate features -- such as the ECG -- are going to be helpful when they finally launch.

The newly expanded display is also lust-worthy, though Apple needs to do a better job of putting more information on the display instead of just scaling certain content up. It is a similar problem Apple has encountered with the Max-sized phones.

A watered down luxury experience

One of the assumptions that come with buying a $1K+ Apple Watch is the elevated luxury experience that accompanies it.

Those who invested in the original Apple Watch Edition got several additional accessories bundled in including a long stainless steel charging puck, a lint-free Apple cleaning cloth, a Lightning cable, and a leather-wrapped box with suede lining and an integrated stainless charging puck. Later models ditched the box and instead included Apple's own spaceship-shaped charging dock.

Unfortunately, much of that experience has been watered down with the latest Hermes models that still warrant a large premium.

The cable is shorter than in the past, though it still retains the stainless steel shell (should be noted the standard stainless steel watches include it as well). There is no additional dock, no cleaning cloth, not even a non-charging box. For the added investment, you merely get slightly nicer packaging and an additional Sports Band.

Small things, like the Apple-branded lint-free cleaning cloth don't cost much, but it adds to the experience that goes along with such a premium product.

The remaining luxury option

This year, Apple has made the Hermes Apple Watch the sole luxury option. No longer is there the ceramic or gold Edition models.

Apple Watch Series 4 Hermes


When Apple originally pitched the Apple Watch, they wanted it to be seen as a fashion item. That sentiment is still felt, though it has faded a bit since its conception. Apple has now focused more on the watches strengths -- health and information.

The Hermes version still nails those two, but it also adds a fashion element into the mix that the aluminum and standard stainless steel models lack just a bit.

While that luxury fashion experience has been watered down a bit since the original Series 0, it will likely still be enough for those looking for the most elegant Apple wearable.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to buy

Apple Watch Hermes Series 4 devices are available from Apple directly with prices starting at $1,249.00. Alternatively, Hermes Apple Watches can be purchased from third-party sellers on eBay.

For deals and product availability on other Apple Watch Series 4 models, be sure to visit our Apple Watch Price Guide.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,759member
    Those watches are gorgeous and demonstrate how transformative an exquisitely designed watch face can be to the overall Apple Watch experience. I’m sure Apple is in no mood to open up the design of watch faces to third parties in a manner akin to the App Store. But it would be nice to have a greater selection of watch faces available for purchase through Apple and a select few watch builder partners.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    I'm still bothered about losing the Edition versions. They were really distinctive and, because of their unique case material, felt like they delivered more than just a different band (although getting proprietary faces with the Hermes bands is neat). I would have really liked a link ceramic bracelet.
    dreyfus2
  • Reply 3 of 11
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,066member

    My 44 mm (same model you have tested, with the off-white/gray/orange band) just arrived today. Still stunned by the new display. The band is as gorgeous as all Hermes bands (I bought nearly all of them over the last years). Just a little sad that they did not release any other fancy colors this year, especially since Apple does not offer any classic leather bands any longer (do we know why?). My favorites are really the colorful bands made of Epsom leather - stiffer / less soft than the other leather types, but the loveliest texture. I can confirm that these bands are far more durable than one might expect.

    I have to agree with the new packaging being far less stunning. I really do not need any additional gimmicks in the box, but getting the old 3 m / 10 ft charging cable back would be extremely nice.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    I'm still bothered about losing the Edition versions. They were really distinctive and, because of their unique case material, felt like they delivered more than just a different band (although getting proprietary faces with the Hermes bands is neat). I would have really liked a link ceramic bracelet.
    I wanted that, but gave up. Sold my ceramic gray edition and got a Nike series 4. Actually glad to not have that flat lip around the crystal. 

    Didn't get LTE, because I almost never used it during the initial free months of service.

    I'll rock the Nike for now and see what luxury models the future brings...
    edited October 25
  • Reply 5 of 11
    dewme said:
    Those watches are gorgeous and demonstrate how transformative an exquisitely designed watch face can be to the overall Apple Watch experience. I’m sure Apple is in no mood to open up the design of watch faces to third parties in a manner akin to the App Store. But it would be nice to have a greater selection of watch faces available for purchase through Apple and a select few watch builder partners.
    That is unlikely in the short / medium term. If complications were opened up to third parties, then Hermès face knockoffs would be out there in a month and that would seriously devalue the Hermès offering.  Add an Alto for a few days and you have your soft Italian leather band too.  Hey @Soli, please note ... I'm the only one who took the trouble to spell Hermès properly.
    B)
    edited October 25 Soli
  • Reply 6 of 11
    beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say.

    this will appeal to the unsophisticated fashion crew. but there is so little substance here that anyone who has an intestest is design or modern fashion will not be at all impressed. 
  • Reply 7 of 11
    These new Watches are quite good looking.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    aegeanaegean Posts: 105member
    I've been wearing Hermes orange sport band everyday, and its been more than a year now with Series 3. I wash it every day twice a day after workouts and running, it still looks like brand new. Great quality Hermes straps both leather and sport bands. As mentioned in my another post, I've got 5 additional Hermes leather straps, well in other words you can say, all other Hermes leather straps and I hope they will fit in future Hermes watches, otherwise I am screwed. I have invested hugely on Hermes leather straps so I hope Apple stick with them for long time. The only issue with Hermes sport band is the size. I have a small wrist so I had to drill another hole to fit tightly (not over tight) on my wrist while running or I would use at the very last hole in the normal wearing. So yes 42mm only came with the large sport band. Not sure if 38mm Hermes came with large or medium sport band. But anyways, I went with Hermes over Ceramic because Hermes exclusive watch faces which I truly love. I should have purchased 38mm instead of 42mm though.
    edited October 25 dewme
  • Reply 9 of 11
    kkqd1337 said:
    beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say.

    this will appeal to the unsophisticated fashion crew. but there is so little substance here that anyone who has an intestest is design or modern fashion will not be at all impressed. 
    LOL
  • Reply 10 of 11
    Did I miss a review of the Series 4 watch?
  • Reply 11 of 11
    Did I miss a review of the Series 4 watch?
    There's a search feature on the front page...

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/09/27/review-apple-watch-series-4-is-the-full-realization-of-what-a-wearable-can-and-should-do
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