October 4, 2022

Gear Patrol

Though the Apple Watch comes in several different materials, finishes, and sizes, they largely look the same: like squarish river stones. And since nobody wants to be wearing the exact same thing as everybody else, the solution is personalization through screen options and straps to reflect the wearer’s own taste and identity. And the bands are where things get fun and interesting.

Even from a watch enthusiast’s perspective, the quality and innovation of Apple Watch bands is impressive. Apple learned from the traditional watch industry in a number of ways but created its own interesting and user-friendly fastening systems and other solutions. The brand’s own proprietary attachment system makes strap-changing easy, but it means that Apple Watch bands are a closed ecosystem and not compatible with traditional watches or straps.

The brand has also offered enough options that one’s own watch truly can feel personalized, but with plentiful third-party options as well, the world of Apple Watch bands is almost as vast as that of traditional watch straps. From sporty silicone to Hermès leather to metal bracelets of various kinds and much more, there’s a lot to choose from. With the new Apple Watch Ultra and other models also came rugged new strap styles.

What to Look for in an Apple Watch Band

Like buying traditional watch straps, you’ll want to consider the material and finish of your Apple Watch when choosing a band. It’s particularly relevant for the hardware: if your band has a traditional clasp, for example, you’ll want its finish to be appropriate to your watch regardless of the strap material. Many of the considerations for buying an Apple Watch band, from the style and color to the activity you plan to do with it are similar to choosing a traditional watch strap.

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Of course, you want to ensure you’re getting the right size, too. Luckily, that part’s pretty simple: there are bigger and smaller sizes of each Apple Watch generation and strap sizes to accommodate them. And the straps are compatible across generations. You also want to consider the length of the strap you order, as you can sometimes get longer ones for larger wrists and shorter ones for slimmer wrists.

Changing an Apple Watch Band

What makes the Apple Watch bands fundamentally different from traditional watch straps is their attachment system. Apple has smartly engineered an easy way to swap straps without strap-changing tools: a button on the watch’s back releases the strap and you slide it out sideways. Attaching a new strap requires only sliding it in until you hear the secure click.

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