Luckily, all the straps remain compatible across all the generations.
With two main ranges, GPS and GPS and Cellular models in both ranges, two different sizes in each range, plus all the straps that can be mixed and matched, as well as the extra Nike+ and Hermès models, 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 4 vs Series 3 feature, if you want to know a more in-depth comparison between the two models.
Apple Watch Series 4
- Sizes: 40mm, 44mm
- Models: GPS only and GPS and Cellular
- Material: Aluminium or stainless steel casings
- Colours: Silver, Space Grey, Gold aluminium casings, Stainless Steel or Space Black Stainless Steel casings
- Strap included: Sport Band, Sport Loop, Nike Sport Band, Nike Sport Loop, Milanese Loop, Hermes Leather Strap (all colours for all straps dependant on casing)
The Apple Watch Series 4 brings many of the Series 3 features including waterproofing and built-in GPS but it introduces a new S4 processor with W3 wireless chip, an electrical heart sensor on the Digital Crown and a bigger display within a similar footprint as the Series 3 resulting in a bolder design. It also comes in new size options of 40mm and 44mm. The aluminium models start at £399 with a Sports Band, the stainless steel models start at £699 with a Sport Band, £799 with the Milanese Loop strap or £1249 with a Hermès strap.
There are 18 standard models available, ignoring the specialist ranges like Nike+ and Hermès for now - we'll go into those further down. These 18 models are made up of six GPS only models, all of which have aluminium casings, and 12 GPS and Cellular models that are available in aluminium and stainless steel options.
Your options for the Series 4 are therefore a Silver aluminium case with a White Sport Band or a Seashell Sport Loop strap, a Gold aluminium case with a Pink Sand Sport Band or Pink Sand Sport Loop strap and a Space Grey aluminium case with a Black Sport Band or Black Sport Loop strap. All of these six options are available in GPS or GPS and Cellular.
Moving onto the stainless steel options, which as we mentioned are GPS and Cellular only, there is a Silver Stainless Steel case with a White Sport Band or a Silver Milanese Loop Strap, a Gold Stainless Steel case with a Stone Sport Band or a Gold Milanese Loop strap and a Space Black Stainless Steel Case with a Black Sport Band or a Space Black Milanese Loop strap.
You can of course buy an additional Sport Band or different strap separately however - we'll go into more detail about those further down. If you want a different strap, you have to pay for it on top of the price of the standard model and the strap it comes with.
Apple Watch Series 3
- Sizes: 38mm, 42mm
- Models: GPS only and GPS and Cellular
- Material: Aluminium body
- Colours: Silver, Space Grey aluminium casings
- Strap included: Sport Band or Nike Sport Band, colours dependant on casing
The Apple Watch Series 3 offers a S3 processor, coupled with built-in GPS, a waterproof body and a barometric altimeter, all of which were added over the older Series 1 model. The S3 processor is combined with a W2 wireless chip that enables Siri to work on the Watch itself rather than passing over to your iPhone.
There are four standard models available and two Nike+ models available, all of which have an aluminium casing. The stainless steel models are now only reserved for the Series 4 models.
Your options for the Series 3 model are therefore a Silver aluminium case with a White Sport Band, a Space Grey aluminium case with a Black Sport Band, or a Space Grey aluminium case with the Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band. Each option is available in GPS only or GPS and Cellular, with the latter meaning it will work independently of your iPhone.
Like the Series 4 models, you can buy an additional Sport Band or different strap separately.
Apple Watch Nike+
- Sizes: 38mm, 40mm, 42mm, 44mm
- Models: GPS only and GPS and Cellular
- Material: Aluminium body only
- Colours: Silver or Space Grey aluminium casings
- Strap included: Nike Sport Band or Nike Sport Loop, colours dependant on casing
- Price: £279 to £529
The Apple Watch Nike+ is one of the special edition ranges of the Apple Watch, created in association with Nike, as you probably guessed from its name. The Nike+ model is available in both Series 4 and Series 3 models.
The Series 4 Nike+ models have the same specifications as the Apple Watch Series 4, meaning they have the newer processor, improved accelerometer, new display design and the electric heart sensor in the Digital Crown. The Series 3 Nike+ models have the same hardware as the Apple Watch Series 3. The difference between the Nike+ models and the standard Apple Watch models is the special Nike Sport Band or Nike Sport Loop strap (Series 4 only) rather than the plain Sport Band or plain Sport Loop strap.
The Apple Watch Series 4 Nike+ models start at £399 for the 40mm size, like the standard Series 4 model, increasing to £429 for the 44mm. Add another £100 on top of both for the GPS and Cellular models. There are eight Apple Watch Nike+ models available in total and two sizes in each, as well as two Apple Watch Nike+ models in the Series 3, which start at £279 for the GPS model and £379 for the GPS and Cellular.
The Apple Watch Nike+ model colour options are a Space Grey aluminium case with the Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band or Black Nike Sport Loop, and a Silver aluminium casing with the Pure Platinum/White Nike Sport Band or Summit With Nike Sport Loop strap. All models come in GPS and GPS and Cellular options. The Apple Watch Series 3 Nike+ model only comes in a Space Grey aluminium case with the Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band in GPS and GPS and Cellular.
As with Series 4 models, alternative straps can be bought separately for the Series 4 Nike+ models for an additional cost, including different Nike Sport Band colours.
Apple Watch Hermès
- Sizes: 40mm, 44mm (both sizes not available in all styles)
- Models: GPS and Cellular only
- Material: Stainless Steel body only
- Colours: Silver Stainless Steel casing only
- Strap included: Hermès leather strap, style and colours dependant on model chosen
- Price: £1249 to £1499
The Apple Watch Hermès is another of the specialist ranges, this time 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 4 models.
There are nine 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 40mm and 44mm sizes though.
Three models of the nine are only available in the 40mm size option: Stainless Steel Case with Indigo/Craie/Orange Swift Leather Double Tour, Stainless Steel Case with Bleu Indigo Swift Leather Double Tour and Stainless Steel Case with Fauve Barenia Leather Double Tour.
A further five of the nine are only available in the 44mm option: Stainless Steel Case with Indigo/Craie/Orange Swift Leather Single Tour, Stainless Steel Case with Bleu Indigo Swift Leather Single Tour, Stainless Steel Case with Fauve Grained Barenia Leather Single Tour Rallye, Stainless Steel Case with Ébène Barenia Leather Single Tour Deployment Buckle and Stainless Steel Case with Fauve Barenia Leather Single Tour Deployment Buckle.
The last of the nine Apple Watch Hermès models - Stainless Steel Case with Fauve Grained Barenia Leather Single Tour - is available in both 40mm and 44mm.
Prices for the Apple Watch Hermès start at £1,249 with the most expensive hitting £1,499 so significantly pricier than the standard Series 4 models.
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.
For those with a Series 1, 2 or 3 Apple Watch, you'll notice the sizes are now 40mm and 44mm instead of 38mm and 42mm. When choosing a strap, choose the 40mm size for the 38mm model and 44mm size for the 42mm models.
The Sport Band is made from fluoroelastomer and it is fastened with a pin and tuck closure. It comes in nine colour options in both 40mm and 44mm size options.
The colours: Spearmint, Delft Blue, Papaya, Stone, Midnight Blue, Pink Sand, White Sport, Black Sport, PRODUCT(RED)
Sport Loop Band
The Sport Loop Band is made from woven nylon with dense loops on the skin side for cushioning and allowing moisture to escape. It is fastened with a hook-and-loop closure for quick adjustment. The Sport Band Loop comes in eight colours, all of which are available in 40mm and 44mm size options.
The colours: Papaya, Cerulean, Spearmint, Lilac, Pink Sand, Seashell, Black, PRODUCT(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 there are six colour options in both 40mm and 44mm size options.
The colours: Black/Hyper Grape, Spruce Fog/Vintage Lichen, Teal Tint/Tropical Twist, Pure Platinum/Black, Black/Volt, Anthracite/Black
Nike Sport Loop Band
The Nike Sport Loop Band is made from a nylon weave with reflective thread, secured with a hook and loop fastener. There are eight colour options, all of which are available in both 40mm and 44mm size options.
The colours: Hyper Grape, Teal Tint, Spruce Fog, Summit White, Black, Celestial Teal, Smoky Mauve, Olive Flak
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 three colours but it is only available in the 44mm size option.
The colours: Cornflower, Sunset, Stone
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 four colours but it is only available in the 40mm size option.
The colours: Cornflower, Lilac, Sunset, Ruby (PRODUCT)RED
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 £339 for the standard Single Tour strap, available in six colour options, £449 for for the Rallye model, available in one colour, or £539 for the Deployment Buckle that comes in two colour options. Not all come in both 40mm and 44mm sizes either.
The Single Tour standard colours: Feu Epsom (both sizes), Fauve Barénia (both sizes), Rose Sakura/Craie/Argile (40mm only), Bleu Lin/Craie/Bleu du Nord (44mm only), Bleu Indigo (44mm only), Indigo/Craie/Orange (44mm only)
The Single Tour Rallye colour: Fauve Grained Barenia (44mm only)
The Single Tour Deployment Buckle colours: Ébène Barenia (44mm only), Fauve Barenia (44mm only)
Hermès Leather Double Tour
The Hermès Leather Double Tour wraps twice around the wrist and is again made from smooth Barenia leather or supple Swift leather, depending on the colour. It comes in seven colour options, all of which are only available for the 40mm Watch but some come in regular and large strap sizes.
The colours: Rose Sakura/Craie/Argile, Bleu Lin/Craie/Bleu du Nord, Indigo/Craie/Orange, Etoupe Swift, Feu Epsom, Bleu Indigo, Fauve Barénia
The Milanese Loop is made up of smooth stainless steel mesh which wraps around your wrist and fastens magnetically. There are three colours available for both the 40mm and 44mm Watch.
The colours: Silver, Space Black, Gold
The Link Bracelet is crafted from the same 316L stainless steel as the Apple Watch case and it features over 100 components, fastened with a butterfly closure. There are two colours available for both the 38mm and 42mm Watch, though it also works with the Series 4 models.
The colours: Silver, Space Black
Best Apple Watch and strap combinations
Let's quickly do the maths: the cheapest Apple Watch Series 3 is £279 (40mm) and the cheapest strap that isn't a Sports Band is £49, a total of £328. That's £71 cheaper than the most affordable Apple Watch Series 4, which starts at £399 (40mm) and also has the Sports Band and aluminium case. You lose out on the bigger display, improved processor and electrical heart sensor though.
If you can live with the aluminium body rather than stainless steel, then the Series 3 or Series 4 GPS only model is the cheapest route and with the choice of three aluminium colours in the Series 4, it's an appealing route too.
For example, you could get the 40mm silver Apple Watch Series 4 and smarten it up with the Classic Buckle strap for a total of £548. You could also opt for the aluminium Series 4 and whack a Hermès Single Tour strap on it for a fashionable total of £739 for the 40mm option. Choose the Series 3 models instead and the prices would be £428 and £618 respectively.
Another good combination is the aluminium Space Grey Apple Watch Series 4 (44mm) with the Space Black Milanese Loop strap. The body costs £399 for the GPS only model or £529 for the GPS and Cellular model and the strap costs £149, for a total of £548 or £678, respectively. The Space Black stainless steel option (44mm) would cost a total of £849 with the Space Black Milanese Loop strap and even though you would get a Black Sport Band in that price too, you'd save at least £170 opting for aluminium over stainless steel.