The Apple Watch Series 8 is available alongside the Apple Watch Ultra and the second-generation Apple Watch SE. All other Apple Watch models have been discontinued through Apple, though luckily, all the straps remain compatible across all the generations.
With three ranges, GPS and GPS and Cellular models, different sizes, plus all the straps that can be mixed and matched, as well as the extra Hermès models and Nike straps, choosing the right Apple Watch for you is trickier than it first seems.
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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 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra, and our Apple Watch SE vs Apple Watch Series 3 if you want to know a more in-depth comparison between the models.
Apple Watch Ultra
Designed for extreme sports enthusiasts, the Apple Watch Ultra is offered in Titanium with International Orange accents, and there are three strap options.
Sizes: 49mm Models: GPS and Cellular only Material: Titanium Colours: Natural Titanium Strap included: Alpine Loop, Ocean Band, Trail Loop The Apple Watch Ultra has a Titanium case and it comes in a 49mm size option only. It’s much more rugged than the other Apple Watch models – and more durable, and it has an extra programmable button on the left edge.
Designed for extreme sports enthusiasts, the Watch Ultra is offered in a natural Titanium colour only, with International Orange accents, and there are three strap options, each of which comes in three colours and is made for different extreme sports.
The Apple Watch Ultra is compatible with the standard 45mm straps too though so you can buy an additional strap, but it isn’t available as a model within the Apple Watch Studio.
Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 8 isn’t as feature-rich as the Watch Ultra, but it has a softer design, waterproofing, built-in GPS and the same processor as the Ultra.
Sizes: 41mm, 45mm Models: GPS only and GPS and Cellular Materials: Aluminium, Stainless Steel Colours: Four aluminium, three stainless steel Straps included: Solo Loop, Braided Solo Loop, Sport Band, Sport Loop, Nike Sport Band, Nike Sport Loop, Leather Link, Modern Buckle, Milanese Loop The Apple Watch Series 8 isn’t as feature-rich as the Watch Ultra, but it has a softer design, waterproofing, built-in GPS and the same processor as the Ultra.
It comes in 41mm and 45mm size options so it’s smaller than the Watch Ultra, but like the Ultra it offers an Always-On Display, built-in compass, always-on altimeter, a blood oxygen sensor, and body temperature sensor, as well as a U1 chip.
The aluminium models come in Silver, Starlight, Midnight and Product(RED) colour options with either a Solo Loop, Braided Solo Loop, Sport Band, Sport Loop, Nike Sport Loop or Nike Sport Band. There are several colours available in each, which you can read all about in the strap section below. 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 Graphite, Silver and Gold colour options with Braided Solo Loop, Sport Loop, Leather or Stainless Steel straps, with prices varying depending on your strap choice.
The Leather strap options are made up of Leather Link and Modern Buckle styles, while the stainless steel strap is the Milanese Loop option. It’s worth noting the Leather Loop is only available for the 45mm models and the Modern Buckle is only available for the 41mm 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 SE (2022)
The Apple Watch SE comes in aluminium only, with 40mm and 44mm size options. It misses out on a couple of the Series 8 features, but is a great entry device.
Sizes: 40mm, 44mm Models: GPS only and GPS and Cellular Material: Aluminium Colours: Three aluminium Straps included: Solo Loop, Braided Solo Loop, Sport Band, Sport Loop, Nike Sport Band, Nike Sport Loop The Apple Watch SE is the entry-level model, offering the same design as the older Series 6 with a larger display, along with a number of its features, but not as streamlined a design as the Series 8 in terms of display.
It has plenty of features, including waterproofing, built-in GPS, an always-on altimeter, a built-in compass, fall detection and Car Crash Detection. It misses out on the Always-On Display from the Series 8 though, as well as blood oxygen monitoring, body temperature sensor and the electrical heart rate sensor for taking an ECG, plus there aren’t as many finish options as the Series 8.
It has the S8 processor under its hood though – which is the same as the Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra, and the Watch SE comes in GPS only and GPS and Cellular models.
The Watch SE is only available in aluminium and there are no leather or stainless steel straps offered as standard, though you can buy the straps separately or use the Apple Watch Studio to create your perfect device.
Apple Watch Hermès
The Watch Hermes is available in the Series 8 spec, and GPS & Cellular only. It has a leather Hermès strap, special watch faces, and Hermès logo on the body.
Sizes: 41mm, 45mm (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 a specialist range of Apple Watch, created in collaboration with the Paris fashion brand Hermès. The collaboration was first seen on the original 2015 Apple Watch but it is now only available on the Series 8 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 41mm and 45mm sizes, but all offer GPS and Cellular connectivity as standard.
There are Space Black Stainless Steel models and Silver Stainless Steel models and various strap options, including the Jumping Single Tour Strap, standard Single Tour strap and the Gourmette Double Tour.
Prices for the Apple Watch Hermès are huge, and significantly pricier than the standard Series 8 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, or you can use the Apple Watch Studio creator to build your ideal Apple Watch.
You’ll notice the strap sizes are 41mm and 45mm. For those with a Series 1, 2 or 3 Apple Watch, choose the 41mm size for the 38mm model and 45mm size for the 42mm models. For those with a Series 4, 5, 6 or 7, choose the 41mm size for the 40mm model and the 45mm size for the 44mm model. If you have a Watch Ultra, you’ll want the 45mm straps.
The Solo Loop is made from stretchable liquid silicone rubber that has been designed for extra comfort. There are no buckles or clasps, with just a seamless loop instead. The Solo Loop comes in 6 colours, all of which are available in 41mm and 45mm size options. It comes in 12 sizes, requiring you to measure your wrist to ensure the perfect fit.
The colours: Sunglow, Succulent, Chalk Pink, Storm Blue, Midnight, Chalk
The Sport Band is made from fluoroelastomer and it is fastened with a pin-and-tuck closure. It comes in 8 colour options in both 41mm and 45mm size options.
The colours: Elderberry, Slate Blue, Succulent, Starlight, White, Midnight, Product(RED), Black Unity
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 Loop Band comes in 6 colours, all of which are available in 41mm and 45mm size options.
The colours: Elderberry, Storm Blue, Midnight, Starlight, Red, Pride
Braided Solo Loop
The Braided Solo Loop is made from stretchable recycled yarn interwoven with silicone threads. Like the Solo Loop, it has been designed for comfort and features no buckles or clasps. The Braided Solo Loop comes in 7 colour options, all of which come in 41mm and 45mm sizes. Like the Sport Loop, there are 12 sizes to choose from.
The colours: Rainforest, Slate Blue, Product(RED), Beige, Midnight, Black Unity, Pride
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 is fastened with a pin and tuck enclosure and there are four colour options in both 41mm and 45mm size options.
The colours: Bright Crimson/Gym Red, Olive Grey/Black, Black/Black, Summit White/Black
Nike Sport Loop
The Nike Sport Loop Band is made from a nylon weave with reflective thread, secured with a hook and loop fastener. There are five colour options, all of which are available in both 41mm and 45mm size options.
The colours: Game Royal/Midnight, Summit White/Black, Sequoia/Pure Platinum, Black/Summit, Pride
The Leather Link features handcrafted Roux Granada leather made in France. It wraps around the wrist and attaches with flexible molded magnets that gently flex for a secure, comfortable fit. The Leather Link comes in three colours, all available for 41mm and 45mm size options. There are S/M and M/L size options too.
The colours: Umber, Ink, Midnight
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 three colours but it is only available in the 38mm/40mm/41mm size option.
The colours: Umber, Ink, Azure
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 41mm and 45mm Watch.
The colours: Silver, Graphite, 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 8 and Watch SE models.
The colours: Silver, Space Black
Hermès Leather Single Tour
The Hermès Leather Single Tour strap offers the classic Hermès design made from different leathers, depending on the colour and style you pick. Not all come in both 41mm and 45mm sizes though. There is also the Single Tour Deployment Buckle for the 45mm model.
The Single Tour colours: Gold (both sizes), Orange (both sizes), Navy (both sizes), Vert Rousseau (45mm), Rose Texas (41mm), Cassis (41mm), Noir (both sizes), Gris Meyer (45mm), Rouge de Cœur (41mm), Bleu Lin (45mm)
Single Tour Deployment Buckle options: Ébène, Fauve, Noir.
Hermès Leather Double Tour
The Hermès Leather Double Tour wraps twice around the wrist. There are nine options in total, all of which are only available for the 38mm/40mm/41mm Watch.
The Double Tour colours: Gold, Vert Rousseau, Béton, Rose Texas, Noir, Rouge de Cœur, Indigo, Bleu Lin, Rouge H
Hermès Leather H Diagonal Single Tour
The Hermès H Diagonal band features the signature Hermès H through micro-perforations in the leather, creating a subtle and sporty pattern. It is only available for the 45mm casing and comes in four colour options.
The H Diagonal Single Tour colours: Cuivre, Bleu de France, Gold, Gris Meyer
The Trail Loop is made from a nylon weave creating a soft band with increased elasticity for a comfortable fit. It is adjustable with a pull tab for quick adjustments on the go.
The Trail Loop comes in three colours and is designed for the Watch Ultra, though it is also compatible with 44mm and 45mm casings.
The Trail Loop colours: Yellow/Beige, Blue/Gray, Black/Gray
The Alpine Loop is made from two textile layers woven together into one continuous piece without stitching. Yarns reinforce the top loops, and the corrosion-resistant titanium G-hook slides into the loops for secure fit. It’s made from polyester and it comes in three colours.
It’s designed for the Watch Ultra, but will also work with the 44mm and 45mm casings. There are three size options too of S, M and L.
The Alpine Loop colours: Starlight, Green, Orange
The Ocean Band is moulded in elastomer with a tubular geometry allowing it to stretch, even over a wetsuit. The corrosion-resistant titanium buckle and adjustable loop secure the band during high-speed water sports. A band extension is sold separately to fit over a thick wetsuit.
It is designed for the Watch Ultra but will also work with the 44mm and 45mm casings.
The Ocean Band colours: Midnight, White, Yellow
Best Apple Watch and strap combinations
Let’s quickly do the maths: the cheapest Apple Watch is the Watch SE in the 40mm version, which is quite a bit cheaper than the most affordable Apple Watch Series 8, which has the same bands and aluminium case. You lose out on the bigger display, electrical heart sensor, blood oxygen monitoring, body temperature sensor, Always On display and built-in compass though. Compared to the Apple Watch Ultra, you miss out on the extra waterproofing, built-in siren, dual-precision GPS and a number of other features.
If you can live with an aluminium body though – and you don’t need the extra features of ruggedness of the Watch Ultra, you could get the 40mm Apple Watch SE and treat yourself to the Leather Link strap to smarten it up, for example. You could also opt for the aluminium Series 8 and whack a Hermès Single Tour strap on it for a fashionable look without having the expense of the Hermès body.
Another good combination is the aluminium Space Grey Apple Watch Series 8 (45mm) with the Graphite Milanese Loop strap. The Graphite stainless steel option (45mm) costs a lot more with the Space Black Milanese Loop strap, so you save solid amount by opting for aluminium over stainless steel, and you’ll get a Solo Loop, Braided Solo Loop, 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.