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Apple Watch stainless steel vs. titanium: Which should you buy?

Apple Watch Titanium
Apple Watch Titanium (Image credit: iMore)

The titanium and stainless steel versions of the Apple Watch Series 7 are nearly identical in every way. They both come in 41mm or 45mm sizes, and they are both made of harder metal than the aluminum Apple Watch. The differences are minor but might make all the difference in what you decide to buy.

Apple Watch stainless steel vs. titanium: What are the differences?

For Apple Watch stainless steel vs. titanium, the case materials are so identical that there's no reason for me to lay the details out in a pretty little table, but I'm going to anyway, just to show you how similar they both are.

Titanium Apple WatchStainless steel Apple Watch
Starting price$799$699
Weight37 (41mm)
45.1g (45m)
42.3g (41mm)
51.5g (45m)
Screen materialSapphire crystalSapphire crystal
Back materialSapphire crystal and ceramicSapphire crystal and ceramic
GPS-onlyNoNo
FinishBrushedPolished
ColorsSilver
Space black
Silver
Graphite
Gold

Apple Watch stainless steel vs. titanium: Brushed vs. polished

One of the most significant deciding factors for most people will be whether to get the brushed metal look of the titanium Apple Watch Series 7 case or the polished look of the stainless steel Apple Watch Series 7. There are a couple of things to consider.

Do you worry about minor scuffs and scratches? If so, the brushed titanium hides micro-abrasions better. The high shine of stainless steel tends to reveal the slightest of scratches, slightly dulling the look over time. Do you want your Apple Watch to look as much like a piece of fine jewelry as possible? The polished stainless steel is more akin to the kind of luxury accessories you'll find at your local jewelers.

Apple Watch stainless steel vs. titanium: Gold or not

Apple Watch Series 6 Stainless Gold

Apple Watch Series 6 Stainless Gold (Image credit: Apple)

Gold is hugely popular for Apple products, and in some cases, a rarity. The Apple Watch Series 7 is an example of that. You can get it in gold if you choose the aluminum or stainless steel models, but the titanium Apple Watch doesn't come in gold. If you're representing gold across all your Apple devices and don't want to break up the matched set, the stainless steel model is more your style.

Apple Watch stainless steel vs. titanium: Hermés or go home

Apple Watch stainless Steel Hermes

Apple Watch stainless Steel Hermes (Image credit: iMore)

For those high-fashion fanatics, there's only one option. You can't get the Hermés Apple Watch (with the special watch face) in anything but stainless steel. Of course, if you don't care whether you have the official Hermés watch face, you can just buy a Hermés band to go with the Titanium Apple Watch.

There are plenty of beautiful third-party styles that you might think are the best Apple Watch bands anyway. So, you shouldn't worry too much about buying an Hermés Apple Watch.

Apple Watch stainless steel vs. titanium: Price differential

The starting price of the stainless steel Apple Watch is $100 lower than the starting price of the titanium model, so if $100 more is a deal-breaker for you, don't get the titanium Apple Watch.

That being said, the only stainless steel Apple Watches that costs $699 are the ones that come with either the Solo Loop, Braided Solo Loop, or Sport Loop, so if you're planning on getting a leather band or Milanese Loop (or Hermés brand), you're upping the cost anyway.

Apple Watch stainless steel vs. titanium: Which should you get?

Apple Watch Series 5 Black Titanium Hero

Apple Watch Series 5 Black Titanium Hero (Image credit: iMore)

Your decision to go with stainless steel or titanium comes down to the following decisions. Do you want brushed or polished metal? Do you want it in gold? Do you want a Hermés watch face? Does $100 make a difference in your decision?

If you want the brushed metal look but something stronger than aluminum, then the titanium Apple Watch Series 7 is for you. If you want polished metal, a Hermés band, or simply want a strong metal for $100 cheaper than titanium, then the stainless steel watch is for you.

Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.