Ignorant and financially irresponsible — those are two labels recently given to me in the eciov newsroom. The reason: I’m getting an Apple Watch. The topic is more divisive among my circle of techie friends than I anticipated. I suppose we should expect that these days. Apple is popular enough now that it warrants the extra attention and scrutiny. Words can hurt, but I’ll press on and tell you about my first experience with the Apple Watch.

Before talking about my Watch appointment, I’d like to take a moment to touch on the pre-order process. It is very fascinating to me that less than eight years after the launch of the first iPhone we can use that same device to order Apple’s next big product. Using my iPhone, I bookmarked my desired Apple Watch configuration, woke up to the sound of my iPhone’s alarm, placed the order using the Apple Store app, and authenticated the payment via a fingerprint scanner.

The entire pre-order was seamless. It took less than four minutes. I could have gone to bed at that point, but I took a few minutes to check out the buzz on Twitter instead. I’ve pre-ordered from Apple in the past, and the ordeal is usually fraught with frustration. Maybe the Apple Watch just isn’t as popular, so I was “competing” with fewer people. Maybe. In any case, I used some of the time I saved to schedule a try-on appointment at my local Apple Retail Store (done via my iPhone, natch).

Trying on the Apple Watch

The first thing I noticed about the Watch was that the sense of scale was completely different than the photos online had led me to believe. I was concerned that the 42mm case would be too big for my preference, but it is actually just right. Men who prefer large watches will most likely find the Apple Watch to be smaller than they might like.

I ordered the Apple Watch (read: stainless) with the white sport band. One of my concerns was that it would feel heavy. My experience was quite the opposite; it’s exceptionally light. I would have described it as weightless, except the Apple Watch Sport really does feel weightless! Diminutive is the first word that came to mind.

My initial impression of the styling of the Apple Watch Sport was correct — it is less versatile as a fashion accessory. It looks every bit like an accessory for runners as you might expect. I struggled to see it as something I could wear fashionably. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a job interview or a first date. That’s not to say that it’s “ugly.” Rather, I think it is difficult to dress it up. Whereas the Sport’s stainless sibling feels at home both in the boardroom and in the gym.

Regarding the bands, I am seriously impressed with the texture of the flouroelasti-whatever-you-call-it rubber band. It is quite soft and comfortable. I’ve worn expensive Garmin sportwatches that didn’t feel as nice. The sport band does seem to be difficult to secure and remove; though, honestly, it could be an issue of familiarity. That said, I’ll probably only make adjustments while hovering my arm over a soft surface.

The leather loop is nice because it’s adjustable, but it’s definitely not as soft as a band that is leather all the way through. There’s just not a great way to conceal the fact that you’re wearing leather over a line of magnets. It’s a nice option, but I’m glad I waited to pull the trigger on that one.

I have been eyeing the stainless link bracelet since Apple first announced it. After trying it on, I’m a little less in love with it, at least for now. Not that I have any complaints about the craftsmanship of the band itself; it’s very well made. I just feel like the stainless link bracelet is a little more ostentatious than my current style’s level of flashiness. If you already wear a stainless steel watch, you will not be disappointed. If you don’t, then you might want to hold out for a bit.

The real surprise was when I tried on the mayonnaise loop (yes, I know it’s Milanese, deal with it). I didn’t expect to like it. Frankly, I thought it would be too feminine for my taste, but seeing it in person and trying it on quickly changed my mind. It’s not nearly as “sparkly” as the pictures lead you to believe. It looks and feels more like gray canvas than something made of metal. This texture surely lends itself to the quality of the mayonnaise loop. As I mentioned, I was surprised by how much I liked this band. In fact, I’ve already decided it will be my next band — maybe a birthday present later this year!

I mentioned that I ordered the white band; however, I think most men will probably opt for something in basic black. Since the viability of the Watch still seems questionable, I think most will opt for the Sport before shelling out for other models. My simple straw polling tells me to not be surprised if you see lots of people wearing space gray Sport watches with black bands. I’m glad I went with the stainless Apple Watch because I feel it will be more versatile. I’m looking forward to the white sport band; even though people consider black more “masculine” (why is that better?), I think the white makes more of a statement. My iPhone is black, but to me, white is unapologetically Apple.

Overall, the experience was very positive. I learned some unexpected things and left satisfied with the decision I had made.

Image via flickr by shinya.

Aron Trimble
Aron was born in Texas and never plans on leaving. Despite a Windows-only childhood, he purchased an iPod (his other MP3 players all failed) and quickly learned of the greatness of Apple hardware and software. He currently spends his days working for an energy company specializing in financial management software. In his free time Aron can be found reading the latest news, watching his latest Blu-ray purchase, or occasionally posting to this site. Passionate about technology, automotive culture, and the many communities around them, he also enjoys photography and is a self-diagnosed HD-addict.