The Apple Watch comes in two sizes: 38mm (small) and 42mm (large). Which one you choose depends on how you want to wear it.

Apple has provided two sizing options for the Apple Watch — 38mm and 42mm. That's consistent across across collections, starting with the aluminum Apple Watch Sport through the stainless steel Apple Watch to the gold Apple Watch Edition. Some might consider their personal choice obvious, whether that's based on wrist size, gender, or some other factor. If you're not finding it quite so obvious, however, here are some things to consider when picking the perfect Apple Watch size for you!

Height vs. width

Unlike traditional watches, which measure case size horizontally, Apple is measuring the Apple Watch vertically. The smaller of the two has a height of 38mm (specifically, 38.6mm); the larger, 42mm. When it comes to width, the smaller Apple Watch is 33.3mm wide; the larger, 35.9mm.

These differences might not sound like very much — 3-4mm here or there — but 4mm out of 40mm is one tenth of the watch dimensions.

The rounded rectangular shape of the Apple Watch makes it hard to compare directly with round watches, but in the traditional watch world, neither of the Apple Watches would be considered overly wide or high. Big watches are typically closer to 48mm.

So, even if you think you want to go small, you can still consider both sizes — neither is enormous.

Display size

The different case sizes also come with different display sizes. Both are Retina quality displays, which means the pixels are invisible to the naked eye at normal viewing distance. The bigger Apple Watch simply has more of those pixels.

  • The 38mm Apple Watch has a display size of 340x272 pixels.
  • The 42mm Apple Watch has a display size of 390x312 pixels.

The interface will fill whatever size display you have, and for many people, it won't make any difference. If you really want more pixels, however, it's something to consider.

Depth perception

Unlike the Watch's two height options and two display densities, there's no difference when it comes to the thickness (or thinness) of the two sizes — they're both 10.5mm.

That's because, unlike traditional mechanical or digital watches, the Apple Watch case has to hold a Retina display, the Apple S1 computer-on-a-chip, and its rear HealthKit sensors. If you're trying to figure out which Apple Watch will best fit under the tight cuffs of your shirt, they're both about the same.

Size vs. weight

If your primary concern about size is the weight that might accompany it, Apple isn't only providing two heights to choose from — the company is providing three (technically four) different materials, each with its own weight.

38mm weights:

  • Apple Watch Sport (aluminum) 38mm: 25g
  • Apple Watch (stainless steel) 38mm: 40g
  • Apple Watch Edition 38mm (rose gold): 54g
  • Apple Watch Edition 38mm (yellow gold): 55g

42mm weights:

  • Apple Watch Sport (aluminum) 42mm: 30g
  • Apple Watch (stainless steel) 42mm: 50g
  • Apple Watch Edition 42mm (rose gold): 67g
  • Apple Watch Edition 43mm (yellow gold): 69g

If weight is an issue for you, size may be as well.

Hers and his

Because there are two sizes, and because some of the bands Apple has shown off so far are unique to one size or another, some have tried to simplify the size discussion down to "hers" and "his." People come in all shapes and sizes, however, and so do tastes. Some women will want the bigger Apple Watch, and some men, the smaller. Some people with small wrists will want the bigger watch, and vice versa. All this to say — get the size you want.

Band bias

Since Apple is, so far, only listing some bands at some sizes, if you have your heart set on a certain band, you may have to be willing to go with the size that matches it. The Apple Watch Sport shows sport bands for both cases; the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition, however, currently list size-specific bands.

38mm-specific bands:

  • 38mm stainless steel with soft pink modern buckle
  • 38mm stainless steel with midnight blue modern buckle
  • 38mm yellow gold with modern red buckle
  • 38mm and 42mm rose gold with white sport band
  • 38mm rose gold with gray modern buckle

42mm-specific bands:

  • 42mm stainless steel with stone leather loop
  • 42mm stainless steel with bright blue leather loop
  • 42mm stainless steel with light brown leather loop
  • 42mm yellow gold with black sport band
  • 42mm yellow gold with midnight blue classic buckle

Band availability, of course, can change at any time, and we may hear more about this on Monday at the event.

Price points

Apple has announced that the Apple Watch will start at $349, but hasn't announced anything beyond that. It's possible, based on previous products, that the 42mm Apple Watch will cost more than the 38mm Apple Watch.

We'll update this section as soon as all the pricing information is available. In the meantime, if you want to save a little money on your Apple Watch purchase, it's possible the 38mm version will be the most economical.

Who should get the 38mm Apple Watch?

If you have a small wrist and want the Apple Watch to look comfortable on it, if you have a large wrist and want the Apple Watch to look small, or if you just like smaller watches in general, you should get the 38mm Apple Watch.

Who should get the 42mm Apple Watch?

If you have a small wrist and want the Apple Watch to look big, if you have a large wrist and you want the Apple Watch to look as big as possible, or if you like bigger watches in general, you should get the 42mm Apple Watch.