Is the Apple Watch pretty? I personally think so. A lot of people attacked Apple for having an unattractive design with the Apple Watch when it first came out. People will have their varying opinions, but I’ve never seen the Apple Watch as being anything less than “very nice.” I admit to feeling it is beautiful at times. Yes, it does look like a small iPhone for the wrist – but so what? The Apple Watch in the 42mm-tall case is amazingly comfortable to wear, and while it is possible to not personally find the device appealing, from a hardware perspective, Apple did a great job. Let’s just hope the next time around Apple is able to offer the enhanced water resistance that I agree the watch would benefit from.

I’ll finish this section with a sort of amusing anecdote. I have a friend who wears an Apple Watch with some regularity. One time, he admitted to me that he hadn’t charged it in a few months because he forgot where the charger was. I asked him why the hell he was still wearing it when he had plenty of other watches to choose from. He simply responded that he liked the design so much, he preferred to keep it on. While that is of course a “special case,” it does show how – to at least some people – the design and statement the Apple Watch makes is above and beyond even its utilitarian value.

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Superb Quality Accessories

Other than straps and bracelets, there aren’t a lot of official Apple Watch accessories save for perhaps the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock (review here). There are, however, a lot of strap options. Last summer in August of 2015, I reviewed pretty much all of the then-available Apple Watch straps. I could easily write another article just about this because I am personally beyond impressed with how nicely Apple has taken to being a watch strap and bracelet company. For the money, the Apple Watch bracelets and straps are the best on the market. This is for smartwatches and perhaps even for regular watches (not that Apple Watch straps fit on anything other then the Apple watch).

Yes, they are mass-produced, but from the leathers to the synthetic materials Apple has chosen for the various “bands” available, quality is incredible. Even at $149, the “Classic Buckle” leather strap is killer in comfort and looks. In the traditional watch world, straps coming even close to this quality would be easily twice as much money most of the time. I’ve recently been wearing the Classic Buckle in red and have been amazed by tiny details such as the seams, stitching, and how well it ages.


The newest Apple Watch band is the NATO-style Woven Nylon strap. Priced at $49, these are clearly more money than most of the NATO-style straps available for traditional watches, but they are in another league when it comes to quality. Apple didn’t at all need to, but they seemed to want to engineer the popular NATO strap to their needs – perhaps, just because. You see, the real customization options for the Apple Watch are the straps. You can buy your Apple Watch once, but you can change the straps often and easily. So Apple has a vested interesting in helping consumers to make their Apple Watch remain fashionable and interesting by being able to swap out straps regularly. What Apple didn’t seemingly need to do is make the straps so damn good. In addition to a wide range of colors, there are currently seven different strap types – which is a very healthy variety. I almost get the feeling that someone at Apple simply wanted a good excuse to improve a lot of watch straps that haven’t been materially changed for a generation.

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The Woven Nylon straps admittedly come in some funny colors as each combines about three colors of nylon fabric. Unlike the extra-long, one-piece NATO straps for watches, Apple’s Woven Nylon strap is more traditional, coming with two pieces and a simple buckle (the same as on the Classic Buckle watch but with a brushed versus polished finish). These straps are much thicker than most NATO straps which make them feel higher-end and more robust. While I think Apple might want to offer some more basic color options, the Woven Nylon straps are the more fashionable sport strap option compared to the Sport Band that looks like rubber but is made from “fluoroelastomer.”


I actually originally thought that all you needed for the Apple Watch was the Sport Band and you’d be happy. In fact, most people I see wearing Apple Watches are wearing the Sport Band. With that said, this is easily the most casual option, and I’ve found more personal enjoyment wearing the more interesting straps unless I am purely engaged in some type of exercise activity. That means that for more “daily wear” I think Apple Watch users will get more enjoyment from one of the fancier strap or bracelet options.

As stated previously, Apple understands that the primary way people can personalize their Apple Watch is via the straps. They have done an excellent job with the strap market, but that still leaves the fact that your Apple Watch looks a like like your friend’s Apple Watch despite the availability of the aluminum Apple Watch Sport and the gold Apple Watch Edition, in addition to the steel Apple Watch. This means that the Apple Watch still struggles when it comes to looking as personal as some people might expect. Coming from a place of wearing a diverse range of radically different-looking timepieces, I did find it strange to see essentially the same watch on other people’s wrist as on my own. With that said, I have a proposed solution for helping to make the Apple Watch more unique for each person that I’ll mention in my closing thoughts below.


Mostly Flawless Software Experience

Prior to wearing the Apple Watch, a lot of the smartwatches I experimented with had flawed software experiences. Most of this related to the simple act of pairing a smartwatch to a phone, and then keeping that connection intact. Given Apple’s closed software environment, I was hopeful that they would refine the Bluetooth connection experience from my previous encounters with smartwatches and smartphones. The good news is that Apple did, and in my time wearing the Apple Watch I have been happy with connectivity and reliability.

There may have been one or two minor experiences when I needed to restart a device or manually put airplane mode on and off in order to get it to reconnect with my iPhone. But for the most part, the two devices paired together easily and reliably, which is super important. The only issue I had, which I still don’t totally understand, is with the activity tracking sometimes not working when I traveled internationally. This may have had something to do with data or something else, but it is a minor issue, and I am sure there was a simple fix. Otherwise, I’ve been really pleased with the mostly flawless software experience on the Apple Watch.

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