Apple has divided the Apple Watch into three collections, each featuring a distinct material — stainless steel, aluminum, and gold.

Those three collections come at three very different price points. That might make it seem easy to choose between the less expensive Apple Watch Sport, the premium Apple Watch, and the high-end Apple Watch Edition, but there are a few other factors to consider — including weight, durability, color options, and collectability. Here's everything you need to know to pick the perfect Apple Watch collection for you.

Heavy metal

Apple uses four distinct materials in its three watch collections — 7000 Series aluminum for the Sport, 316L stainless steel for the Watch, and 18-karat gold and rose gold for the Edition. (The space gray anodization on the Sport and space black diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating on the Watch don't add to its weight).

Apple Watch Sport (aluminum) weights:

  • 38mm: 25g
  • 42mm: 30g

Apple Watch (stainless steel) weights:

  • 38mm: 40g
  • 42mm: 50g

Apple Watch Edition (gold) weights:

  • 38mm (rose gold): 54g
  • 38mm (yellow gold): 55g
  • 42mm (rose gold): 67g
  • 42mm (yellow gold): 69g

So, if money is no object but weight — either lightness or heaviness — is important to you, that's a good starting point.

Scratch resistance

All versions of the Apple Watch have the same density and quality of Retina display on the front, though the material used to protect that display differs between the Sport and the Watch and Edition. Likewise, all three models include inductive charging and heart-rate sensors on the rear casing, but the material used for those backs and the lenses differs.

  • Apple Watch Sport offers an Ion-X glass display, composite back, hard coated optical polymer lenses.
  • Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition offer a Sapphire crystal display, ceramic cover, and sapphire lenses.

As such, if the absolute highest levels of durability are important to you, the sapphire and ceramics offered by the Watch or Edition might be important to you.

Strap ins

All Apple Watch bands are compatible with all Apple Watch cases of the same size. So the 38mm white sport band can fit the 38mm Sport, Watch, or Edition; the 42mm Milanese loop can fit the 42mm Sport, Watch, or Edition; but you can't mix a 38mm casing with a 42mm band.

When you buy your first Apple Watch, you must choose a paired band, but those bands differ between collections. For example, the sport band included with the Edition has a matching gold pin. Other bands aren't available as part of an initial purchase: If you're looking into buying a Sport watch, you're stuck with a sport band of some color unless you wish to purchase a separate band.

That said, not all bands may be available for purchase separately on launch day, and we expect certain bands to be in short supply once they are in stock. So if there's a particular band that interests you, you may want to make sure you get it as part of your initial purchase (if available). Additionally, not every band is going to good with every collection, so if fashion is a concern, getting a collection that Apple has carefully matched may end up looking better for you in the long run.

Bands also have their own distinct weights; Rob Griffiths of Many Tricks collected and created a spreadsheet with each collection's band weights and options, if you want to weigh your choices.

Apple Watch Sport collection includes:

  • Silver case with white sport band
  • Silver case with blue sport band
  • Silver case with green sport band
  • Silver case with pink sport band
  • Space gray case with black sport band

Apple Watch collection includes:

  • Steel case with white sport band
  • Steel case with black sport band
  • Steel case with black classic buckle
  • Steel case with Milanese loop
  • Steel case with link bracelet
  • Steel case with black modern buckle (38mm only)
  • Steel case with blue modern buckle (38mm only)
  • Steel case with pink modern buckle (38mm only)
  • Steel case with brown modern buckle (38mm only)
  • Steel case with black leather loop (42mm only)
  • Steel case with blue leather loop (42mm only)
  • Steel case with stone leather loop (42mm only)
  • Steel case with brown leather loop (42mm only)
  • Black case with link bracelet

Apple Watch Edition includes:

  • Rose gold case with white sport band
  • Yellow gold case with black sport band
  • Rose gold case with rose pink modern buckle (38mm only)
  • Yellow gold case with bright red modern buckle (38mm only)
  • Yellow gold case with black classic buckle (42mm only)
  • Yellow gold case with midnight blue classic buckle (42mm only)

You can add to your band options over time, but if you want a certain one now, you might want a watch from the collection that includes it.

Who should get the Apple Watch Sport?

If you're into physical fitness and you want the lightest Apple Watch you can get; if you're going to be rough enough with it — or likely to lose it — and want the most affordable replacement option possible; if you're not sure about Apple Watch and want to try it out at the lowest cost-of-entry; or if you simply love the way the bead-blasted aluminum and those bright sport straps look, the Apple Watch Sport is for you.

Who should get the Apple Watch?

If you love watches and want something heavy but not too heavy; classic on the outside but ultra-modern within; made out of strong materials like stainless steel and sapphire crystal; and with the widest range of bands curated for any collection; or if you want a watch but aren't precious about your metals, the Apple Watch is for you.

Who should get the Apple Watch Edition?

If money is no object; if you're into haut couture, first class cabins, and 5-star or higher hotels; or if you simply want the first-run, first-expression product of Jony Ive and Marc Newson as smartwatch designers, get an Apple Watch Edition.