Apple announced the second generation of its smartwatch in the Apple Watch Series 2 in September 2016, two years after the original was announced, and 17 months after it went on sale. Along with introducing the Series 2, Apple upgraded the original model with a new dual-core processor and called it Apple Watch Series 1, while also discontinuing the 2015 model entirely. Luckily, all the straps remain compatible.
With two main ranges, two sizes in each range, four different models in Series 2 alone, plus all the straps that can be mixed and matched, choosing the right Apple Watch for you is trickier than it first seems.
This feature explains what models are available, how much they cost and what the differences are between them all in order to find the right one for you and your budget. You can also read our Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch Series 2 feature, if you want to know the more in-depth difference between the two models.
Apple Watch Series 1
Buy the Apple Watch Series 1 from £269 from Apple.co.uk
- Sizes: 38mm, 42mm
- Material: Aluminium body only
- Colours: Silver, Space Grey, Rose Gold, Gold casings
- Strap included: Sport Band, colour dependant on casing
- Price: £269 to £299
The Apple Watch Series 1 is the cheapest way to get your hands on an Apple Watch. It costs £269 for the 38mm version and £299 for the 42mm version.
There are four different coloured aluminium body models available (stainless steel isn't an option for this Series), all of which come in 38mm or 42mm size options with a Sport Band included in the price. The colour of the Sport Band depends on the colour of the aluminium case and you are restricted to the band Apple chooses with each model.
The Rose Gold model comes with a Pink Sand Sport Band, the Gold model comes with a Midnight Blue Sport Band, the Space Grey model has a Black Sport Band and the Silver model has a White Sport Band. You can of course buy an additional Sport Band or different strap separately - we'll go into more detail about those further down.
Apple Watch Series 2
Buy the Apple Watch Series 2 from £369 from Apple.co.uk
- Sizes: 38mm, 42mm
- Material: Aluminium or Stainless Steel body
- Colours: Silver, Space Grey, Rose Gold, Gold aluminium casings, Stainless Steel or Space Black Stainless Steel casings
- Strap included: Sport Band (colour dependant on casing) or Milanese Loop (colour dependant on casing)
- Price: £369 to £749
The Apple Watch Series 2 features a different spec list to the Series 1 in that it has a different processor with built-in GPS, as well as a waterproof body. The aluminium models start at £369 with a Sports Band, while the stainless steel models start at £549 with a Sport Band or from £649 with the Milanese Loop strap.
There are eight standard models available, ignoring the specialist ranges for now (we'll go into those further down). The same four aluminium models as Series 1 are available in Series 2, with the same case and strap combinations. You then have a Space Black stainless steel case with a Black Sport Band model, a Silver stainless steel case with a White Sport Band model, a silver Stainless Steel case with a Silver Milanese Loop strap model and a Space Black stainless steel case with a Space Black Milanese Loop strap model available.
As with the Apple Watch Series 1, if you want a different strap, you'll have to pay more.
Apple Watch Nike+
Buy the Apple Watch Nike+ from £369 from Apple.co.uk
- Sizes: 38mm, 42mm
- Material: Aluminium body only
- Colours: Silver or Space Grey aluminium casings
- Strap included: Nike Sport Band (colour dependant on casing)
- Price: £369 to £399
The Apple Watch Nike+ is one of the special edition ranges of the Series 2 model, created in association with Nike, as you probably guessed from its name. The hardware is the same as the Apple Watch Series 2, meaning it has the newer processor, GPS and waterproofing, but it comes with a special Nike Sport Band rather than the plain Sport Band.
Like the aluminium Apple Watch Series 2, the Apple Watch Nike+ starts at £369 for the 38mm model, moving up to £399 for the 42mm.
There are two Apple Watch Nike+ models available in total, both of which come in the same 38mm and 42mm size options as the rest of the Apple Watch collection. The first of the two options is the Silver aluminium casing model with a Pure Platinum/White Nike Sport Band and the second option is the Space Grey aluminium casing with the Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band.
As with the other Apple Watch models, alternative straps can be bought separately for an additional cost, including different Nike Sport Band colours.
Apple Watch Hermès
Buy the Apple Watch Hermès from £1149 from Apple.co.uk
- Sizes: 38mm, 42mm (both sizes not available in all styles)
- Material: Stainless Steel body only
- Colours: Silver Stainless Steel casing only
- Strap included: Hermès leather strap (style dependant on model chosen)
- Price: £1149 to £1549
The Apple Watch Hermès is another of the specialist ranges for the Series 2 Apple Watch, created in collaboration with Paris fashion brand Hermès. The collaboration was first seen on the original 2015 Apple Watch but it is now only available on the Series 2 model.
There are six Apple Watch Hermès models to choose from, each of which has a special Hermès watch face, leather straps handmade by the fashion company's artisans in France and the Hermès logo on the underside of the watch body, as well as on the strap. Not all models are available in both 38mm and 42mm sizes though.
Three models of the six are only available in the 38mm size option: Stainless Steel Case with Fauve Barénia Leather Double Tour, Stainless Steel Case with Fauve Barénia Leather Double Buckle Cuff and the Stainless Steel Case with Étoupe Swift Leather Double Tour.
A further two of the six are only available in the 42mm option: Stainless Steel Case with Feu Epsom Leather Single Tour and the Stainless Steel Case with Fauve Barénia Leather Single Tour Deployment Buckle.
The last of the six Apple Watch Hermès models - the Stainless Steel Case with Fauve Barénia Leather Single Tour model - is available in both 38mm and 42mm.
Prices for the Apple Watch Hermès start at £1,149 with the most expensive hitting £1,549 so significantly pricier than the standard Series 2 models.
Apple Watch Edition
Buy the Apple Watch Edition from £1249 from Apple.co.uk or Amazon.co.uk
- Sizes: 38mm, 42mm
- Material: Ceramic body only
- Colours: White ceramic casing only
- Strap included: Cloud Sport Band
- Price: £1249 to £1299
The Apple Watch Edition is the most expensive of the Apple Watch models available, apart from the Hermès collection, and it comes in one finish and two sizes. Originally, the Watch Edition consisted of 18-carat gold and rose gold models costing in the region of £10,000 and above, but Apple has since done away with these models.
In their place is a white ceramic casing that comes with a Cloud Sport Band. It costs £1,249 for the 38mm model and £1299 for the 42mm model. It features the same hardware as the Series 2 model so you don't get any extra features, just a more premium finish.
As with the all the other options, you can pay extra for another strap but that puts that price up further.
Apple Watch Straps
There are numerous straps available for the Apple Watch, each of which is compatible with all of the ranges.
As we mentioned above, you can buy any of the straps below separately to give you an alternative option to the strap included with the Apple Watch model you pick but you are still stuck with the standard strap that comes with that model.
The Sport Band is made from fluoroelastomer and it is fastened with a pin and tuck closure. It costs £49 and comes in 15 colour options in both 38mm and 42mm size options.
The colours: Mist Blue, Pollen, Flamingo, Camellia, Pebble, Azure, White, Pink Sand, Midnight Blue, Black, Yellow, Concrete, Ocean Blue, Cocoa, Red
Nike Sport Band
The Nike Sport Band is also made from fluoroelastomer like the Sport Band, but it has compression-moulded perforations for breathability. It too is fastened with a pin and tuck enclosure and costs £49. There are several colour options in both 38mm and 42mm size options.
The colours: Light Violet/White, Violet Dust/Plum Fog, Blue Orbit/Gamma Blue, Obsidian/Black, Black/Volt, Anthracite/Black, Pure Platinum/White
The Woven Nylon strap is made from over 500 threads of nylon woven together to create a colourful patten. It has a fabric-like feel, along with four layers if weave and it is fastened with a rectangular buckle. Like the Sport Band and Nike Sport Band, it costs £49 and it is available in 38mm and 42mm sizes in 10 colours, as well as a special Pride edition.
The colours: Orange, Pollen, Berry, Red, Tahoe Blue, Midnight Blue, Pearl, Black, Light Pink/Midnight Blue, Space Orange/Anthracite, Pride Edition
The traditional Classic Buckle strap is made from calf leather and it features a contrasting interior lining with colour-matched stitching. It is fastened with a square buckle, available in eight colours in both 38mm and 42mm and it costs £149.
The colours: Sunflower, Saddle Brown, Berry, Red, Taupe, Midnight Blue, Black, Sapphire
The Leather Loop strap is made from Venezia leather handcrafted in Italy to deliver a pebbled texture. It is fastened with magnets concealed within the software, quilted leather, allowing you to wrap it around your wrist. The Leather Loop comes in two colours and also costs £149 but it is only available in the 42mm size option.
The colours: Smoke Grey, Midnight Blue
The Modern Buckle is made from Granada leather for a refined textured finish. It features an inner layer of Vectran weave for strength and it is fastened by magnets, though it looks like a buckle. The Modern Buckle comes in two colours and costs £249 but it is only available in the 38mm size option.
The colours: Midnight Blue, Black
The Milanese Loop is made up of smooth stainless steel mesh which wraps around your wrist and fastens magnetically. There are two colours available for both the 38mm and 42mm Watch, and an additional diamond-like carbon layer on the Space Black model to give it its look. The Milanese Loop costs £199.
The colours: Silver, Space Black
The Link Bracelet is made from the same 316L stainless steel alloy as the stainless steel Watch, featuring more than 100 components. It fastens with a custom butterfly closure and links can be added and removed with a simple release button. The Link Bracelet costs £549, comes in two colours and is available for both the 38mm and 42mm Watch.
The colours: Silver, Space Black
Hermès Leather Single Tour
The Hermès Leather Single Tour strap offers the classic Hermes design, made from smooth Barenia leather, textured Epsom leather or supple Swift leather, depending on the colour you pick. It costs £299 and comes in six colours altogether, but not all come in both 38mm and 42mm sizes.
The colours: Lime (42mm only), Colvert (42mm only), Fauve (both sizes), Feu (42mm only), Etoupe (both sizes), Bleu Agate (38mm only)
Hermès Leather Double Tour
The Hermès Leather Double Tour wraps twice around the wrist and is again made from smooth Barenia leather, textured Epsom leather or supple Switft leather, depending on the colour. It costs £449 and it comes in five colour options, all of which are only available for the 38mm Watch but they come in regular and large strap sizes.
The colours: Fauve, Bleu Zephyr, Etoupe, Rose Jaipur, Bleu Jean
Hermès Leather Double Buckle Cuff
The Hermès Leather Double Buckle Cuff frames the wrist and like the Single and Double Tour options, is made from smooth Barenia leather, textured Epsom leather or supple Swift leather, depending on the colour you pick. It costs £699 and it comes in three colour options, all of which are only available for the 38mm Watch size.
The colours: Fauve, Etoupe, Rose Jaipur
Best Apple Watch and strap combinations
Let's quickly do the maths: the cheapest Apple Watch Series 1 is £269 (38mm) and the cheapest strap that isn't a Sports Band is £49, a total of £318. That's £51 cheaper than the most affordable Apple Watch Series 2, which starts at £369 (38mm) and also has the Sports Band and aluminium case. You lose out on waterproofing and built-in GPS though.
If you can live with the aluminium body rather than stainless steel, then the Series 1 or bottom end Series 2 is the cheapest route and with the choice of aluminium colours, it's an appealing route too. For example, you could get the 38mm rose gold Apple Watch Series 2 and smarten it up with the Classic Buckle for a total of £518. You could also opt for the aluminium Series 2 and whack a Hermès Single Tour strap on it for a fashionable total of £668 for the 38mm option.
Another good combination is the aluminium Space Grey Apple Watch Series 2 (42mm) with the Space Black Link Bracelet. The body costs £369 and the strap, costs £549, for a total of £918. The Space Black stainless steel option (42mm) would cost a total of £1148 with the Space Black Link Bracelet and even though you would get a Black Sport Band in that price too, you'd save around £230 opting for aluminium over stainless steel.