Three days with the watch and four additional bands later, I'm reminded that Apple is a smart company at knowing how to take people's money.
Apple Watch Edition, Take 2
When the new, more affordable Apple Watch Edition was announced at the company's September event, my watch lust / addiction kicked into overdrive. The word from the iMore team and other tech journalists in attendance was that the white ceramic model sure was purrrrty - it was clear I needed to have it.
Back in 2014 when the "iWatch" was still a rumor, I wrote an editorial here on iMore predicting and wishing that Apple would release a high-end version of their smartwatch and that if they ever did I would be the first person to get one. Apple overshot my bank account, though, when they announced the Apple Watch Edition at a $15,000 price point. I'm a little crazy, but I'm not that crazy. I wasn't about to shell out that kind of money for a watch which may not even be upgradeable.
With a $1300 price tag, I could justify myself becoming an Apple Watch Edition owner this time around. Waiting an extra year would pay off in more ways than a price reduction, as well — the Series 2 is faster, promises better battery life, houses its own GPS module and can go for a swim without hesitation. Plus, WatchOS 3 is a lot simpler. All of my gripes from the first generation Apple Watch appear to have been addressed with Series 2.
First Impressions… Meh
Having ordered the Apple Watch Edition Series 2 without having ever seen it in real life, I was excited to unbox it and lay eyes on it for the first time. I was optimistic that I would see it and have a genuine emotional response to it — those tingles of joy / excitement I have had many times over when buying watches — but alas, they never came.
The watch was nicely packaged, but I was actually underwhelmed when I saw it. My wife owns a couple ceramic watches (a Chanel J12 and a Bell & Ross BRS Black Phantom Ceramic), and in comparison, the ceramic housing on the Edition looked a little dull. More matte than glassy, giving it an almost unapologetically plastic look reminiscent of the iPhone 5c. The exception to this was the black ceramic at the end of the digital crown, which is definitely an eye catching detail.
More than the housing, though, what really seemed to mute the entire visual experience of the watch was the color of the rubber band they chose to put on the Edition. Off white / grey in color, it draws attention away from the housing, and not in a way that creates an understated look, which I typically appreciate. Instead, it just made the whole package look kinda cheap. Wearing the watch out and about the next 24 hours and showing it off to friends and family, I could tell nobody was really moved by the look of it.
And then I went to the Apple store and started trying on different bands...
And it immediately became very clear that buying the Apple Watch Edition is only the beginning with this watch. The white ceramic face looks absolutely brilliant with almost every other color band I tried. The dark front-facing display matched to the contrast of the white makes the watch really pop when you put on darker or brightly colored bands. I was thinking there was no way it would look good with the Space Black Milanese Loop attached to it, but I was totally wrong - this gave the watch a much richer look that brought out the shine in the ceramic and made it feel worthy of the price tag.
Likewise, the Product Red Sport Band created a sporty Team Canada color combo that looked so good I just had to have it, even if I only bust it out a few times a year. And the orange/white (Space Orange/Anthracite) woven nylon band gave it a vintage CrackBerry / BB-8 look that gave me the warm and fuzzies. Navy, blue, black - the ceramic white really looked great with all of these colors. After trying on too many bands that I loved, I went back to the one in the box again … and I couldn't help but feel it just felt flat.
Then I realized the brilliance in what Apple did: Had they shipped a really attractive band in the box with the Apple Watch Edition, I may have settled right there and never went to the store to see how different bands would look and to personalize it for myself. Now that I have, they'll be getting a lot of watch band money out of me. Be sure to hit up the gallery above to see plenty of Apple Watch Edition Series 2 band configurations.
Apple, of course, didn't invent the interchangeable watch band. It's a strategy that's been followed by many watch brands through the years. One of my favourite mechanical watches, a Panerai, also shipped with a basic rubber band (albeit a really nice looking one) and the company offers many band variations which Paneristis go crazy for.
And now we need a ceramic bracelet!
While I have now found and purchased plenty of bands for the Apple Watch Edition that I love, I asked my wife what band she would want (I was going to let her try out the watch for a bit to get her take on the experience).
Her response? "Well, you can't really call it a ceramic watch if only the housing is ceramic. I want the strap to be ceramic, too!"
Ceramic Showdown! Apple Watch Edition Series 2 vs. ladies Ceramic Chanel J12 and Bell & Ross BR S Black Ceramic Phantom. Not actually a lot of ceramic on the Apple Watch in comparison since the band is rubber and the front is pretty much covered by the display. Apple's ceramic is less shiny/glassy in comparison too. More plastic-like... reminds me of iPhone 5C. #applewatchedition #applewatch #apple #watches #smartwatch #chanel #bellandross @chanelofficial @bellandrossusa
So there you have it, Apple: Time to release a Ceramic watch band accessory for the Apple Watch Edition Series 2 - and I'm guessing you can charge almost the same for the ceramic band as you did for the watch!