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Monowear's blue and red leather watch bands. Monowear's blue and red leather watch bands.

How Many Apple Watch Bands Do You Own and Why?

Apple Watch Fans Give Their Feedback On Watch Bands

One of the Apple Watch’s most popular features is the ability to swap out watch bands. When it comes to traditional watches, many watch bands are difficult to change out -- a small pin must be nudged out from either side in order to release the band. Because traditional watches tend to be much more affordable than the Apple Watch, it’s not a problem to have multiple ones.

However, at several hundred dollars each, you’re probably not going to buy multiple Apple Watches to wear for different situations, even though they could all sync up with your iPhone and iCloud account to essentially carry and display the same data (configuration would have to be individual for each). That’s why Apple included the one-click release feature with its Apple Watch. With a simple press of a button, the Apple Watch bands release from the face, allowing you to snap in new ones quickly and easily. Going for a run? Put on a sports band designed to withstand the punishment of exercise. Going out for a night on the town? Try a classic leather design or metal band.

Showcase of the easy slide detachment of Apple Watch band from Apple Watches.

How Many Apple Watch Bands Should You Own?

The question is then not whether you should switch out watch bands, but how many watch bands should you own. The answer? It’s kind of like shoes. Some people only own a few shoes: work, evening, casual, and exercise. Others have a whole closet of shoes to match circumstances and outfits. Watch bands are the same thing -- it's a personal choice. In fact, Monowear commissioned a study of 1,300 Apple Watch users in March 2016, and a diverse group stated that 74% of them owned more than one band.

Why more than one? First, you need one for general wear, something that's comfortable and looks nice in all situations. For most people, this is the band that comes with their Apple Watch. Second, since the Apple Watch is capable of numerous exercise-based features, a workout band capable of putting up with sweat and grime is a good idea. Finally, a third Apple Watch band is a nice option for special occasions or a night out -- something stylish and capable of complementing fancy attire.

Monowear's Olive Nylon Active Band

Of course, you're not limited to that, that's just what we recommend as a baseline. Other reasons why you might have more include owning one just for swimming, having different colors and textures to vary with your chosen outfit, and one for extra special occasions. To that end, let’s take a look at what our survey participants had to say, including a spotlight on two Apple Watch fans, Fernando and Ray, who were the most vocal when it came to talking about the Watch bands.

How many total Apple Watch bands do you own?

In our group survey, the largest group (30%) owned two watch bands.

How many official Apple Watch bands do you own?

Fernando: 12
Ray: 3

Two varying responses here. Ray may have a variety of reasons why he has few official watch bands while Fernando seems to prefer Apple products. Of course, this is going only by official watch bands. Those are the ones sold through the Apple store, either in person or online, and they include the special partnership with fashion house Hermes. Keep in mind that there are many other providers of Apple Watch bands -- including Monowear.

How many off-market or unofficial Apple Watch Bands do you own?

Fernando: 0
Ray: 7

This provides an interesting juxtaposition. In the previous question, Fernando owned four times as many official bands as Ray. Here, Fernando doesn't own any unofficial or off-market watch bands but Ray owns seven.

Monowear's Gold Metal Band

What’s the difference between official watch bands and unofficial watch bands?

Official watch bands are manufactured by and sold through Apple itself. Unofficial watch bands use the same specifications as official watch bands, compatible with the one-quick release system and basic measurements of both 38 and 42mm sizes -- if they’re made by a quality manufacturer.

That’s an important side note: in these cases, quality counts. You’ll often be able to find knock-off Apple Watch bands on eBay and Amazon for a few dollars, and in some cases, nearly free with the cost of shipping. These are bulk-manufactured overseas with little quality control or customer service, so there’s always a chance that it may wind up not fitting well on either your wrist or the Apple Watch itself.

As for quality manufacturers, they take care to fit in with Apple’s specifics, and will meet or exceed the standards set by Apple. The difference? Design, material, sometimes even the functionality, as you’ll often find greater variety in sports/fitness/swim bands with after-market products than with Apple’s options. Apple only offers a few different models of watch bands, so unofficial watch bands provide users with a much greater catalog to pick from to meet their own personal sense of style.

Regardless of manufacturer, our survey found that 63% of one-band Apple Watch owners were open to buying more, so there’s definitely a market out there. Ray and Fernando are the norm, not the exception.

Why do you own different Watch bands, instead of just one?

Fernando: “For different situations; ranging from business meetings to workouts.”
Ray: “I like the variety of style.”

No surprises here. Both users own a range of watches to go with their needs. Different styles cater to different situations. For example, Monowear offers watch bands in leather, nylon, ceramic, and metal, all with a range of colors and styles for each material. These options ensure that there’s a choice to fit with your own personal sense of style as well as the context of whatever situation you’re in. With Apple Watch bands, it can truly be a beautiful combination of form, fit, and function. We find similar results in our survey.

Among multi-band owners, here are their concerns with buying further bands:

  • 11% are concerned with band cost
  • 16% do not want to spend more on their Apple Watch
  • 28% can't find a new one they like

When was the last time you switched out your Apple Watch band and why?

Fernando: “This morning. To match my outfit for the day.”
Ray: “The gym, business casual workplace, outfit color change.”

In both responses, each user swapped out his Apple Watch band to go with his day plan. Fernando picked his out in the morning, selecting a watch band to go with his day’s attire. In other words, it was a fashion choice. On the other hand, Ray had three places to go with three different functions: exercising at the gym, going to work, and then changing for the evening. With that in his calendar, Ray planned to use three watch bands. The workout-friendly band, perhaps a nylon one, is designed to take the wear and tear of exercise. The everyday work one is comfortable and classic while the evening one is selected to go specifically with the night out’s attire. In each case, the one-click release makes it simple to change and go. In fact, the only hassle is remembering to bring the watch band you want!

Anything else you’d like to share about Apple Watch bands?

Fernando: “I believe the quality is phenomenal. However, there are a few I want but the prices for them are too high for me to justify the purchase.”
Ray: “We need more designs.”

In both cases, Fernando and Ray are asking for greater variety in their Apple Watch choices -- in Fernando’s case, strictly regarding pricing. Apple’s official bands go from $50 to $150 for standard fare, and higher prices for luxury items (including the Hermes editions). Unofficial watch bands are a little less expensive, generally going for about $35 to $100. Note that Fernando only owns official bands, so if he looked at unofficial quality bands, he may be able to expand his collection while staying in budget.

As for design, Ray certainly has a point. Most Apple Watch bands maintain a classic and clean design that you’d expect for watches. Monowear incorporates other traditional watch elements, such as metal and mesh. But there are certainly ways to go beyond the mold of what you typically see, expanding into ladies’ cuts, patterned materials, licensed graphics, and more.

Monowear's Silver Mesh Band

That’s the great thing about Apple Watch bands. Because the core product allows for one-click swapping of the watch bands, time and efficiency aren’t factors in how or why people use them. The quality of both official and unofficial watches is consistently high, both anecdotally and tracked in official user feedback. So looking at our user feedback, the goal is then to expand design options to incorporate a wider range of aesthetics, and create a more flexible price range.

All of that is doable, so if the market demands it, designers at Apple and unofficial providers like Monowear will listen, engage, and expand their offerings. The Apple Watch is the leading piece of wearable technology on the market, and it will likely hold that stature for a very long time. As accessory designers, it’s our job to make the wearable part of the equation as fashionable and functional as possible.

How Many Apple Watch Bands Do You Own and Why?
 

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