Apple Watch Buyer’s Guide

BY Kelly Hodgkins

Published 19 Mar 2015

As part of its Spring Forward event held last week, Apple outlined the final details for the launch of the Apple Watch. If you intend to purchase one of the Watch models when they go on sale next month, here is a buyers guide with everything you need to know so you can purchase the right watch to suit your needs.The Apple Watch will be available in 38 different models. How do they differ and which one should you choose? Read on to find out.

Watch Collections: Finding the right Watch for your lifestyle

Apple is selling the Watch in three different collections — the Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition. Each Watch collection offers different materials, band options and price points. Though you can mix and match bands, the different Watch collections are designed for different consumers.

Apple Watch Sport

The Watch Sport is the least expensive model with prices starting at $349 for the 38mm model. The Sport offers an ION-X glass covering which provides durability at an affordable price. The Watch Sports also includes an aluminum casing which is up to 30 percent lighter than other Watch models. This Sports model will appeal to athletes looking for a fitness tracker and smartphone companion. It’ll also be a favorite among consumers who want an Apple Watch, but don’t want to pay a premium price. We expect this model to be the most popular at launch due to its entry-level cost.

Apple Watch

The basic Apple Watch is a step up in luxury over the Sport edition, featuring a sapphire glass-covered display, a polished silver or matte black stainless steel construction and a variety of fashionable bands and buckles. With its premium materials, the Apple Watch commands a higher starting price tag of $549, which climbs to $1099 depending on the selected size and band options. It also offers the greatest diversity with 20 different case and band combinations available to customers.

Apple Watch Edition

The Watch edition is the luxury version of Watch, shipping with a yellow gold or rose gold case and a sapphire glass screen. It is the priciest Watch model with a base cost of $10,000 for the white sports band model. The Watch Edition ships in one of the 8 models that include either a sports band, modern buckle or classic buckle. Apple will sell the Watch Edition in select stores with expected VIP treatment for these high-end buyers.

➤ Apple Watch and Watch Sport — What are the differences between Sapphire and Ion-X Glass displays

➤ Apple Watch: The hardware innovations that make the device unique

➤ What you need to know about Apple Watch’s hardware features

Choosing the Watch Color and Band Combinations

The Watch is comprised of three basic materials, gold, aluminum or stainless steel, with different finishes to provide several color choices for customers. Each model has two color options with the Watch Sport available in either silver or space gray aluminum. The basic stainless steel Watch is offered in either a matte black finish or a polished silver, while the Watch Edition features a gold casing in either yellow or rose.

Not only do customers get to choose the color of the casing of the Watch, they also can choose a matching band. Apple is offering a variety of sporty, fashionable and luxury bands to complement the device and provide a personalized experience. As with other watches, the Apple Watch bands are removable and can be swapped as desired. Selection and color options for the bands are as follows:

Sport Band ($49)

  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Pink

Classic Buckle ($149)

  • Black
  • Midnight Blue

Modern Buckle ($249)

  • Soft Pink
  • Brown
  • Blue
  • Bright Red
  • Rose Gray

Leather Loop ($149)

  • Stone
  • Bright Blue
  • Brown

Link Bracelet ($449)

  • Stainless Steel
  • Space Black Stainless Steel

Milanese Loop ($149)

Each customer can choose a single band style to accompany their watch, with additional bands available for purchase from Apple’s website. Watch owners who choose the Sports model reportedly will receive two of the fluoroelastomer bands in each Watch box.

➤ Apple Watch customization options — band styles, watch faces, and color choices

Sizing it up — Watch case and band sizes

Once you’ve decided which Watch collection fits your lifestyle, you then can choose the correct size Watch case and band size to meet your physical stature and preferences for a Watch. To help you pick the right size, Apple has prepared a sizing guide that compares the 38mm and 42mm case sizes, as well as the different bands.
The two sizes of Watch models differ in both their dimensions and display attributes. The smaller 38mm Watch measures 38.6mm in height, 33.3mm width and 10.5mm in depth. It also is believed to have a 1.5-inch display with 272 x 340 pixel resolution. The larger 42mm Watch measures 42 x 35.9 x 10.5mm in dimensions with a 1.7-inch 312 x 390 resolution display.

Once you’ve decided on a Watch size, you then must decide on a band to accompany the Watch. Bands are compatible with the one or both watch case sizes and available in different sizes. For example, Watch owners can choose a 38mm band in size medium or a 42mm band in large. The Watch band portion of Apple’s size guide shows the different band sizes (S, M, L) and the wrist measurements that each one fits. The available sizes vary per band with some bands like the Modern Buckle available only for the 38mm Watch case in S/M/L options and the Leather Loop available only for the 42mm Watch in M or L sizes.

Band Case Size Band Size (Wrist Circumference)
Modern Buckle 38mm Small (135-150mm), Medium (145-165mm) or Large (160-180mm)
Leather Loop 42mm Medium (150-185mm) or Large (180-210mm)
Sport Band 38mm Small/Medium (130-180mm) or Large (150-200mm)
Sport Band 42mm Small/Medium (140-185mm) or Large (160-210mm)
Milanese Loop 38mm One Size fits 130-180mm
Milanese Loop 42mm One Size fits 150-200mm
Link Bracelet 38mm One Size fits 135-195mm
Link Bracelet 42mm One Size fits 140-205mm
Classic Buckle 38mm One Size fits 125-205mm
Classic Buckle 42mm One Size fits 145-215mm

Using this table and a tape measure, you can measure your wrists and size up the bands prior to purchase. If you want an actual-sized Watch to compare, you also can download the Apple Store app and interact with the Watch demo, which provides a real-life size comparison.

➤ Measuring Up – Should you buy the 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch

Don’t forget about your iPhone

The Apple Watch requires an iPhone to function so you will have to own an iPhone if you want to use a Watch. The Watch is compatible with recent iPhone models, including the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s,iPhone 5c,iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS 8. If you don’t own a newer iPhone, you’ll have to purchase one

Should you purchase AppleCare+?

Apple is offering AppleCare+ for the Watch. Pricing is not available, but it likely will mirror the plans available for the iPhone and iPad. For iOS devices, owners pay $99 for the plan, which extends the standard warranty for two years and provides two incidents of accidental damage coverage. Accidental damage coverage provides a replacement device when you crack a screen or otherwise damage a device. Each replacement requires the owner to pay a small deductible.

Let us know which Apple Watch you plan to buy when it is available for pre-order on April 10th in the comments below.