Which Apple Watch Edition should you get?

Gold rose and yellow, bands white and black, buckles pink and red and blue — even the special Apple Watch Edition offers a variety of choices.

There may not be the range of band styles enjoyed by the Apple Watch, or the range of colors available in the Apple Sport collection, but the Apple Watch Edition does have unique bands carefully paired in distinct, and distinctly elegant, combinations. There are bands with pins for those who are active and athletic, and there are buckles both modern and classic for those who want take it out on the town. Colors range from traditional black to deep blue to soft pink to bright red, allowing for both understatement and making a statement. If you're having trouble deciding, here's some help!

Two cases, six bands

The Apple Watch Edition comes in two different case colors, yellow gold and rose gold. The yellow gold case is available with four different band options. The rose gold case is available with two band options. Some are exclusive to the 38mm size, some to the 42mm.

You'll be able to get the full range of Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch bands separately, though Apple Watch Edition bands currently aren't available on their own. That means, if there's a band you have your heart set on, you might want to get it right away to make sure you have it.

Band exclusives

All the Apple Watch Edition bands are exclusive to the collection. The sport bands, for example, while in the same style as the Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch bands, include gold pins to match the Edition material.

If you want a 38mm watch, you'll need to get:

  • Black sport band with yellow gold case
  • White sport band with rose gold case
  • Modern buckle with yellow or rose gold case

If you want a 42mm watch, you'll need to get:

  • Black sport band with yellow gold case
  • White sport band with rose gold case
  • Classic buckle with yellow gold case

If you want a yellow gold case, you'll need to get:

  • Black sport band in 38mm or 42mm
  • Bright red modern buckle in 38mm
  • Classic buckle in 42mm

If you want a rose gold case, you'll need to get:

  • White sport band in 38mm or 42mm
  • Rose gray modern buckle in 38mm

If you run the set theory, you'll find, for example, that if you want a 42mm Apple Watch Edition is rose gold, you'll need to get the white sport band. If you want a leather buckle at 42mm, you'll need to get the yellow gold.

Loops and link bracelets

Apple currently doesn't offer loops, either leather or Milanese, or link bracelets, for the Apple Watch Edition. If you have your heart set on a leather loop, you'll be able to purchase one separately from Apple. If you have your heart set on a Milanese or link bracelet, you'll be able to get them separately in stainless steel, but they may not match the yellow or rose gold color of the case.

There's no word on when or if Apple will offer Milanese or yellow or rose gold link bracelets for Apple Watch.

Band sizes

Apple Watch Edition bands come in a range of sizes fitting between 120mm and 220mm. Not all bands fit all sizes, however. Also, while the sport bands come in two sizes, other bands will require you to pick the right size at the time of purchase.

Here are the 38mm Apple Watch band sizes:

  • Sport band: 130-180mm, 150-200mm
  • Modern Buckle: 135-150mm, 145-165mm, 160-180mm
  • Classic buckle: 125-200mm

Here are the 42mm Apple Watch band sizes:

  • Sport band: 140-185mm, 160-210mm
  • Classic buckle: 145-215mm

The sport band offers the best range on the smaller size and the classic buckle on the larger size. If you fall towards one of the extremes, you'll need to consider a band that has you covered.

Band weights

Just like sizes, the different Apple Watch bands also have different weights. Whether you want to keep things as light as possible, or you want to get heavy, it's something else to consider.

38mm band weights, from lightest to heaviest:

  • Black sport band: 38g
  • Modern buckle: 40g/40g/41g
  • White sport band: 48g

42mm band weights, from lightest to heaviest:

  • Classic buckle: [20g]
  • Black sport band: 42g
  • White sport band: 53g

Apple hasn't listed the exact weight of the classic buckle with gold closure, so that weight is an estimate.

Band prices

If you're getting an Apple Watch Edition, the cost of the different band options may be insignificant to you. If money does matter, however, the different bands can increase the price by up to 70%. Here are the prices, from least to most expensive.

  • 38mm Apple Watch Edition with sports band: $10,000
  • 42mm Apple Watch Edition with sports band: $12,000
  • 42mm Apple Watch Edition with classic buckle: $15,000
  • 38mm Apple Watch Edition with modern buckle: $17,000

Different bands include different amounts of gold for the clasp, but again, at these prices, there's no direct correlation between materials and price.

Water and wear

Most of the Apple Watch Edition bands should work fine for you under most conditions. If you want to work out with your Apple Watch Edition, and take advantage of all the fitness features, you might want to get the sports band — or get an extra sport band to swap on for workouts.

Also, if you plan to get your Apple Watch Edition wet, especially in the shower, a sport band will be a far better choice than leather.

If you want something softer and more supple, however, and something that will wear in the way only leather can, the modern and classic buckles will suit you better.

Band swapping

Apple will be selling Apple Watch bands separately. They won't be the gold trimmed Edition bands, at least not at first, but they will offer more options, including leather loops for those who want them. All 38mm bands are compatible with the 38mm Watch, and all 42mm bands are compatible with the 42mm Watch. (38mm bands are not compatible with 42mm Watches or vice versa.)

  • Sport bands: $49
  • Classic buckle: $149
  • Milanese loop: $149
  • Leather loop: $149
  • Modern buckle: $249
  • Link bracelet: $449

All colors cost the same, so it's really just the style you have to consider.

Who should get the Apple Watch Edition with sport band?

The Apple Watch Edition sport band is made of fluoroelastomer — think high-performance rubber — with a matching gold pin. It offers the most options in the Edition collection, coming in both sizes, 38mm and 42mm, and in both materials, yellow gold and rose gold. If you want to work out with your Apple Watch Edition, if you plan on it getting wet within reason, or you simply want the lowest point of entry price, you'll want the sport band.

The rose gold case only comes with the white sport band and the yellow case only comes with the black sport band. So, if you have one color preference, it'll dictate the other. Moreover, the white sport band is the only way to get the 42mm Apple Watch Edition in rose gold, so if that's what you want, that's what you'll need to get.

Who should get the Apple Watch Edition with classic buckle?

The leather for the classic buckle comes from the ECCO tannery in the Netherlands, and is milled to a distinct texture and finished with a simple stainless steel closure. As the name implies, if you love traditional watch straps and closures, you'll love the classic buckle.

It's the only leather option for the 42mm size, however and it only comes with a yellow gold case, so choice is limited to color — black or midnight blue.

Black is traditional and will go with everything. Midnight blue is for those who want something other than traditional, something with a little more depth, even at the expense of color options.

Who should get the Apple Watch Edition with modern buckle?

The leather for the modern buckle is from a small tannery in Granada in the French alps. It's lightly milled and tumbled to maintain a smooth, refined texture. To that, Apple adds a Vectran (liquid crystal polymer) fiber weave to increase strength and resist stretching. It's the same material NASA used for the airbags in the Mars Lander. The clasp is actually a two-part magnetic clip, also made of matching gold. Bring it together and it locks into place.

The modern buckle is the only option for a leather band at the 38mm size. If you want that size, and you want comfort and class, you'll want the modern buckle.

Rose gray is subtle, bright red is — bright. In some cultures the pink will be considered a better choice for women. In others, the red will mean luck and good fortune. Since the bright red modern buckle is the only option for both a leather band and a yellow gold case, and the rose gray, the only option for both a leather band and a rose gold case, however, if you have a preference for case color, you'll only have one choice for band color.

Still undecided?

At the end of the day, the only real answer is get the band you like best. Everything else is manufactured anxiety. Just close your eyes, picture your Apple Watch Edition on your wrist, and picture the band around it. Then buy that. If you later change your mind, you can always pick up an extra band in a different style or color.