The Apple Watch Series 5 is available alongside the Apple Watch Series 3, while the Series 4, Series 2, Series 1 and original Apple Watch have all been discontinued. 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+, Hermès and Watch Edition 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 5 vs Series 3 feature, if you want to know a more in-depth comparison between the two models.
Apple Watch Series 5
- Sizes: 40mm, 44mm
- Models: GPS only and GPS and Cellular
- Material: Aluminium, Stainless Steel
- Colours: Four aluminium, three stainless steel
- Straps included: Sport Band, Sport Loop, Milanese Loop, Leather Loop, Modern Buckle
The Apple Watch Series 5 offers all the same features as Series 3 including waterproofing and built-in GPS but it has an upgraded S4 processor with W3 wireless chip, an electrical heart sensor on the Digital Crown and a bigger display within a similar footprint to the Series 3, resulting in a bolder design. It also comes in different size options to the Series 3 at 40mm and 44mm, and it offers an Always-On display and built-in compass.
There are 23 standard models available - ignoring the specialist ranges like Nike+, Hermès and Watch Edition for now - we'll go into those further down.
The aluminium models come in Space Black, Space Grey, Gold and Silver colour options with either a Sport Band or Sport Loop strap as standard. There are 14 Sport Band colour options and 14 Sport Loop colour options. The aluminium models also come in GPS and GPS and Cellular connectivity options.
The stainless steel models are a good chunk more expensive, and they come in Space Black, Gold and Silver colour options with Sport Band, Sport Loop, Leather or Stainless Steel straps, with prices varying depending on your strap choice.
As with the aluminium options, the Sport Band and Sport Loop each come in 14 colours. The Leather straps - made up of Modern Buckle and Leather Loop styles - also come in 14 colours, while the stainless steel straps come in three. It's worth noting the Leather Loop is only available for the 42mm and 44mm models and the Modern Buckle is only available for the 38mm and 40mm models. The Stainless Steel Watch models all come with GPS and Cellular as standard, with no GPS only models.
You can of course buy an additional strap separately - we'll go into more detail about those further down - or you can use the Apple Watch Studio to create your perfect Apple Watch but you'll pay extra.
Apple Watch Series 3
- Sizes: 38mm, 42mm
- Models: GPS only and GPS and Cellular
- Material: Aluminium body
- Colours: Silver, Space Grey
- Strap included: Sport Band or Nike Sport Band
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 5 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 5 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
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 5 and Series 3 models.
The Series 5 Nike+ models have the same specifications as the Apple Watch Series 5, meaning they have the latest processor, improved accelerometer, larger display design, electric heart sensor in the Digital Crown, built-in compass and Always On display. 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 5 only) rather than the plain Sport Band or plain Sport Loop strap.
The Apple Watch Series 5 Nike+ models is cheaper when picking the 40mm size, like the standard Series 5 model, increasing in price for the 44mm. Add another chunk on top of both for the GPS and Cellular models. The Apple Watch Series 5 Nike+ model comes in Silver or Space Grey aluminium case options, with either a Nike Sport Band or Nike Sport Loop strap, both of which come in five colour options. GPS only and GPS and Cellular connectivity options are available in both.
The Apple Watch Series 3 Nike+ models cost has standard pricing for the GPS model and is more expensive for the GPS and Cellular model. There is only one colour option for both connectivity options though - Space Grey aluminium case with the Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band.
As with Series 5 models, alternative straps can be bought separately for the Series 5 Nike+ models or Series 3 Nike+ models for an additional cost.
Apple Watch Hermès
- Sizes: 40mm, 44mm (both sizes not available in all styles)
- Models: GPS and Cellular only
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Colours: Silver or Space Black
- Strap included: Hermès leather strap
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 5 models.
The Apple Watch Hermès models have 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, but all offer GPS and Cellular connectivity as standard.
The Space Black Stainless Steel model comes with a Double Tour leather strap for the 40mm model and a Single Tour leather strap for the 44mm model. The Silver Stainless Steel model meanwhile, comes with various strap options, including the Single Tour strap in eight colour options for both 40mm and 44mm, the Double Tour strap in seven colour options for the 40mm model or the Single Tour Deployment Buckle in two colours for the 44mm model.
Prices for the Apple Watch Hermès are huge, and significantly pricier than the standard Series 5 models.
Apple Watch Edition
- Sizes: 40mm, 44mm
- Models: GPS and Cellular only
- Material: Titanium or Ceramic
- Colours: Two Titanium, one Ceramic
- Strap included: Sport Loop or Leather Loop
The Apple Watch Edition range introduces Titanium as a case material option and reintroduces Ceramic. The Apple Watch Edition models are only available for the Series 5 models and they offer the same features and specifications as the Series 5 but in a different casing.
The Titanium options come in two colours of Space Black and brushed natural Titanium, while the Ceramic model only comes in white. Both case options come with a Sport Loop, available in 11 colour options, in either size option. They also come with a Leather Loop strap if you opt for the 44mm option, which is available in three colour options.
As with the other Apple Watch models, you can use the Apple Watch Studio to select a different strap for extra, or you can buy an additional strap separately.
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, or you can use the Apple Watch Studio creator to build your ideal Apple Watch.
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 19 colour options in both 40mm and 44mm size options.
The colours: Linen Blue, Seafoam, Vitamin C, Coastal Grey, Pride Edition, Cactus, Grapefruit, Surf Blue, Beryl, Khaki, Pine Green, Alaskan Blue, Clementine, Lemon Cream, Stone, Pink Sand, White, Black, 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 11 colours, all of which are available in 40mm and 44mm size options.
The colours: Sunshine, Vitamin C, Surf Blue, Neon Lime, Neon Pink, Pomegranate, Khaki, Midnight Blue, Camel, Anchor Grey, 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 eight colour options in both 40mm and 44mm size options.
The colours: Pride Edition, Black/Lime, Midnight Turquoise/Aurora Grey, Royal Pulse/Black, Black/Pink Blast, Desert Sand/Black, Anthracite/Black, Pure Platinum/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 seven colour options, all of which are available in both 40mm and 44mm size options.
The colours: World Indigo/Lime Blast, Hyper Crimson/Neptune Green, Pink Blast/True Berry, Desert Sand/Volt, Royal Pulse/Lava Glow, Summit White, Black
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 four colours but it is only available in the 42mm/44mm size option.
The colours: Peacock, Meyer Lemon, Black, Saddle Brown
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 five colours but it is only available in the 38mm/40mm size option.
The colours: Raspberry, Deep Sea Blue, Saddle Brown, Aubergine, Black
Hermès Leather Single Tour
The Hermès Leather Single Tour strap offers the classic Hermes design, made from smooth Barenia leather, textured Epsom leather, Gala leather or supple Swift leather, depending on the colour you pick. There's a standard Single Tour strap, available in two colour options, Swift model, available in five colours, Gala model, available in one colour, or 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),
The Single Tour Swift colours: Noir/Blanc/Gold (Both sizes), Orange (both sizes), Brique/Béton (40mm only), Encre/Béton (44mm only), Étain/Béton (44mm only)
The Single Tour Rallye Gala colours: Noir (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 38mm/40mm Watch but some come in regular and large strap sizes.
The colours: Noir, Noir All-over Print, Blanc All-over Print, Brique/Béton, Encre/Béton, Étain/Béton, 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 5 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 the 38mm version, which ends up much cheaper than the most affordable Apple Watch Series 5, which has the same bands and aluminium case. You lose out on the bigger display, improved processor, electrical heart sensor, Always On display and built-in compass though.
If you can live with the aluminium body rather than stainless steel, then the Series 3 or Series 5 GPS only model is the cheapest route and with the choice of four aluminium colours in the Series 5, it's an appealing route too.
For example, you could get the 40mm silver Apple Watch Series 5 and smarten it up with the Modern Buckle strap. You could also opt for the aluminium Series 5 and whack a Hermès Single Tour strap on it for a fashionable look. Choose the Series 3 models instead and the prices would be much lower.
Another good combination is the aluminium Space Grey Apple Watch Series 5 (44mm) with the Space Black Milanese Loop strap. The Space Black stainless steel option (44mm) costs a lot more with the Space Black Milanese Loop strap, so you save solid a mount by opting for aluminium over stainless steel, and you'll get a Sport Band or Sport Loop in the price too. Alternatively, you could use the Apple Watch Studio to build an aluminium case with the strap you want if you don't want the extra strap.