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Which Apple Watch Edition should you get?

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.

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.

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

17 Comments
  • I like the way the Modern Buckle band looks, and the way it clasps, but it seems to be marketed at women.
  • REMINDER: This article (and these comments) are for people looking for help choosing between the various Apple Watch Edition models. They are not a platform for anyone to personally attack, demean, or otherwise insult anyone interested in an Apple Watch Edition. You're welcome to any on-topic personal opinion you might have, but personal attacks against any person or group aren't welcome here. Post them on your own site/social stream. If you want to comment about Apple Watch Edition pricing in general, please go here: http://www.imore.com/apple-watch-edition-pricing-official-starts Thanks for your understanding, respect, and compliance.
  • That was cool to know about your background in color theory and Chinese culture. And you should write about it. I thought I was being tongue in cheek in what I thought was just a somewhat funny observation. I hope you didn't consider it a personal attack. That wasn't my intent and I hope you know I respect your writing or I wouldn't be here. You're correct. The edition watch does deserve its own guide free from the hubris being dumped on it. Feel free to delete this.
  • I agree completely and appreciate your coverage. The Edition will replace the space on wrists accustomed to finer "feature" watches, of which there are many. No reason these customers shouldn't have details that make the conspicuous and highly useful accessory that an Apple Watch is, fit with their tastes.
  • The iMore staff is admirably open-minded about what the Edition says about Apple, but I do think there ought to be room for people to comment that they find the conspicuous consumption unseemly. I get that you have to moderate things that you consider are over the line, and totally respect that, and respect that it's your forum to do with as you please. But I think despite your open minds about the Edition, the iMore staff are going to have to get used to the fact that a *lot* of longtime (or recent, for that matter) Apple users are really, really uncomfortable with the direction the Edition portends for the company. And it's worth asking whether Apple has taken its first step toward becoming something we don't really want it to be. I don't resent anyone for buying an Edition watch, although it's hard to imagine anyone in my circle (even my boss's multimillionaire boss) doing so. I suspect Apple is going to sell far fewer of these Edition watches even than the price alone would dictate. But that's neither here nor there. I don't want Apple to become a luxury brand. That feels antithetical to their core mission and their purpose. They should be making a dent in the universe, not in 1% of 1% of 1% of the universe. The point of conspicuous consumption is to turn heads, but, well, sometimes you turn them in a direction you didn't intend. Fully prepared for this comment to be deleted as off topic too. No hard feelings.
  • There are tons of other articles on here about Apple Watch Edition. I'd recommend commenting on pricing on the article that deals with the price. If you'd move your comment there, I'd appreciate it! http://www.imore.com/apple-watch-edition-pricing-official-starts
  • I don't see how to move or even delete the comment, at least via Safari. As I said, no hard feelings if you delete it though. I appreciate the other thread reference but the comment is not nearly profound enough to copy and paste over there. Keep up the good work.
  • As a person that made a comment that was deleted, I agree. I feel nervous even talking about it now and fear of being punished further. There are a lot of people who have been "Apple-heads" since the Macintosh days that are having serious second thoughts about Apple's direction with the Edition watch and their over-focus on money and "pushing their brand" these days. It used to be about the engineering I tells ya.
  • I read your comment before it was deservedly deleted. It was obscene, with no understood objectives but self-serving shame and scorn. Anna Kendrick sent a single-lined Tweet, went a bit viral, then Kevin Rose wrote about it, encouraging its distasteful sentiment. Nobody should be parroting it, certainly not in someone else's forum. At least Anna and Kevin wrote in poor taste from within their own platforms. You're a smart contributor when you're not trying so hard to be the Devil's advocate and sarcastic. If you feel nervous about posting something then perhaps you shouldn't, at least not here.
  • Even if I had the money I'm just not into gold anything (especially watches). I have a relatively expensive dumb-watch now. It's not gold. More power to those who like gold and have the money to spend. Sent from the iMore App
  • My choice would be the 42mm yellow gold with a blue Classic Buckle. No other metal has the luster and history than that of gold. I bought platinum in the 90's because I didn't appreciate gold. It was overused and made tacky with the ostentatious electroplating of everything. Higher-priced platinum was the answer, but I was entirely wrong. Mirror-finish gold is evocative enchantment. The blue Classic Buckle provides a gorgeous statement in its design and subtly-suggestive hue.
  • Deleting comments that disagree with you again, Rene? lol Sent from the iMore App
  • Trolling again, decypher? lol
  • I ordered the Microsoft Band Edition Sent from the iMore App
  • Would like to see Apple add titanium and platinum.
  • How does the gold in this watch compare to other watches? I watched the Ives-narrated video. I haven't ever watched a Rolex video. Apple makes it seem like they "solved gold"; made it harder etc. Is there really a big difference?
    Also, with the other metals mixed in to make the alloy, what does that do for the resale value of the gold itself? I assume there could be a higher cost to separate the gold from the others if it's different than traditional watches &/ jewelry.
    .
    It's a shame they didn't offer a gold plated version. I would really like to get the yellow gold / red leather band edition for my wife, but it's way out of our price range for a piece of jewelry with a relatively short technological lifespan. I bought her a Michael Kors rose gold colored stainless steel, body & link bracelet, for less than the price of the aWatch Sport. She loves it (she picked it out), and wears it quite often.
    If she were to get an aWatch, she wouldn't want to wear it out when all dressed up, unless it were gold. Sent from the iMore App
  • I would choose the 42 mm rose gold with white band and additionally a brown leather loop band. The leather band would be great mixed with the rose gold. The white can be used during high temperatures or when you are working out.