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Apple Watch Titanium vs Ceramic: Which should you buy?

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How to download watchOS 7 public beta (Image credit: iMore)

Durable titanium or eye-catching white ceramic? Apple's latest premium watches are both beautiful, so which one's for you?

Here's the deal: unless you both have the money to spend and really like the aesthetics of it, there's no practical reason to get the ceramic version of the Apple Watch Series 5. It's more expensive, it's heavier, and there's only one color option. The titanium, Apple Watch, on the other hand, has two colors, and starts at $500 less than the ceramic model. It's greater price gap, in fact, than the one between the starting prices of the aluminum and stainless steel watches.

Titanium vs. ceramic: What are the differences?

When it comes to the internal components and screen material, the titanium and ceramic Apple Watches are no different from one another. They have the same sapphire crystal screen, they're both Wi-Fi + Cellular models, and they both come with 32GB of internal storage (as does the rest of the Series 5 lineup).

So the real difference is in the materials. Titanium is a lighter material, stronger than stainless steel and, in many situations, a better choice for durability than the ceramic. Ceramic is more scratch-resistant, but it's an overall more brittle material. So, if you've ever had a problem with your watch band unfastening and your watch dropping to the ground, the titanium watch will likely hold up better against that sort of thing over time.

There are also the aesthetics of the watches to consider. You really have to like the look of the mostly-white body of the ceramic watch to shell out of it. And to a certain extent, that's also true with the titanium watch. But at least with the titanium model, you have both a standard and a black color option. The ceramic Apple Watch only comes in white.

Titanium Apple WatchCeramic Apple Watch
Starting price$799$1,299
Weight35.1g (40mm)
41.7g (44m)
39.7g (40mm)
46.7g (44m)
Screen materialSapphire crystalSapphire crystal
Back materialSapphire crystal and ceramicSapphire crystal and ceramic
GPS-onlyNoNo
FinishBrushedPolished
ColorsSilver
Space black
White

From a practical perspective, the titanium Apple Watch is the Apple Watch to get. It's lighter on both your wrist and your wallet and features a second color option. It's also stronger overall, and, depending on your tastes, may look better with more of Apple's available bands.

But the thing about fashion accessories (which the Apple Watch is, as something you wear on your wrist) is that it's not all about practicality. If practicality was your main concern, you'd have skipped both of these and gotten an aluminum model, or at the most a stainless steel one for the sapphire screen. But you didn't do that. Instead, you're looking at the two most expensive non-Hermès watches that Apple makes.

Because something is striking about that ceramic watch. It's singular amongst all of the Apple Watch casing and band combinations you can get. The white is going to stand out wherever you go, and people will take a second, even if only a second, to look at it. It's not the most practical choice, but if it fits your aesthetic sensibilities and your budget, there's no reason not to go for it.

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.