Aluminum or Stainless Steel

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by jav6454, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Any difference in feel, performance or general look? Trying to gauge any difference that affects this decision.

    Price is not an issue. No, I don't want Ceramic.
  2. exxxviii macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2015
    Try them on... to me, the SS feels heavy, so I prefer the aluminum.

    Durability is more of an individual thing as well. My aluminum still looks nearly flawless after more than a year of daily wear. But, I have always worn a watch and I do not tend to bang watches on things. The anodized finish is harder than SS, so it will not scratch as easily. However, if you scratch an aluminum, there is no repair; if you scratch an SS, you can always polish it.

    Screen is also individual preference. Like above, I have worn watches for >30 years and never scratched a screen, so the hardness and scratch resistance differences between sapphire and Ion Xare moot to me. My screen is perfect.

    The sapphire crystal may not be as bright as the Ion X; however this may be partially mitigated by the brighter screen of the S2. Again, it is user dependent, since the difference seems to be more a factor in daylight than other environments.
  3. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    I favor the SS over the aluminum. Then again I like shiny things.
    The leather bands and milanese look better with the SS.
    Not sure what you mean by performance differences. All the internals are the same, within the series of course.
  4. jav6454 thread starter macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    By performance difference I mean, scratch resistant, wear and tear, durability. I didn't quite specify those.
  5. julesme macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2016
    San Jose
    When people ask me which to choose, I generally try to frame the aluminum vs SS distinction around fitness vs. fashion.

    Is Apple Watch primarily a daily fitness companion? If so, choose aluminum because it's much lighter (at least on a percentage basis) and you will likely leave the sport band on nearly all the time, thus negating the benefit of SS's greater watch band compatibility.

    If fitness is NOT a major consideration and you prioritize fashion/style, then go with SS because it looks higher end, it goes with a much wider variety of Apple bands (including leather, stainless steel link, et al), and the case also holds up better to wear/tear since it can be polished.
  6. numberfour macrumors regular


    Jan 27, 2015
    I prefer the brushed look of the alu over the shiny SS so that's why I've chosen the alu.
  7. perezr10 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2014
    Monroe, Louisiana
    I have both the Stainless Steel and an Aluminum. I use the aluminum for running and the SS for the office. If you're concerned about durability you will be happier with the SS. With the SS you don't really have to worry about scratches at all. With the aluminum, you'll need to baby it or just don't let the scratches bug you. You'll get inundated with aluminum watch owners who say they have one in good shape but go to eBay and look at all the used ones and see what condition they are usually in.

    Having said all that. I like the aluminum one better for running because the 38mm is much lighter than my 42mm SS.
  8. ivanwi11iams Contributor


    Nov 30, 2014
    Kennesaw, GA
    For me personally, and I've owned 1st Gen and now Series 2, the Stainless Steel just 'feels' more solid.
    Again, just MY opinion.

    PS: I'm coming from Invicta type watches. the large, diver type. Maybe that's why I prefer the Stainless Steel...
  9. lax28 macrumors regular


    Sep 28, 2014
    New Jersey
    My vote SS all the way. Not only a nicer watch, but it truly works with practically every band Apple sells, where aluminum, SBSS, and Ceramic all have limitations on how they look with other bands. Some more than others and of course that really is all personal taste too.
  10. mallbritton macrumors 6502a

    Nov 26, 2006
    In my opinion, I always prefer stainless steel. Both watches I own now are SS, and they are durable, good looking and go with everything. I've got SS link bands on both watches, and when I get an :apple: Watch, I'm looking forward to being able to change the bands when I like.

    For the OP, your best bet is to go to a retail outlet and try each one on. See which you like best.
  11. rillrill macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2011
    New York
    That's why I picked up a used series 0 SS. Purely for the looks. It goes with more professional clothes and bands. It is heavier though. I stopped noticing after a week.
  12. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
    Nothing's indestructible but, if you're careful and treat it well (as you would any good watch) there's no appreciable difference. If you bang it on rocks or scrape it along rough surfaces then any watch is going to get dinged-up. I know you don't need me to tell you that.

    My experience with both materials:

    (1) I wore a silver sport with sport band the first year and a bit. Still looks like new.

    (2) I now wear a SBSS (worn for about 4 months) and a regular SS (worn for a month). They both look like new although the regular SS link band is showing scratches on the clasp where my wrist scrapes on my desk and other surfaces. All steel band watches will do that, however. It's not an Apple thing.

    Bottom line: Buy the look you prefer and treat it with respect. All models are pretty durable.
  13. LoveToMacRumors macrumors 68020


    Feb 15, 2015
    Ss, it shines under the sun, feel premium and more variety of bands
  14. Bazooka-joe macrumors 68020


    Mar 12, 2012
    Swindon, England
    Yeah i agree. I like all the Apple watches but the SS does look the nicest and goes with virtually every band. I was seduced by the ceramic and loved it but it was limited in what bands i could wear and although it was a lovely looking watch, it just didn't look as classy as the SS. It took me two weeks to decide that though before i went back to a SS
  15. douglasf13 macrumors 65816

    Jul 2, 2010
    What's hilarious to me is that I bought an original 38mm in steel with link bracelet over a year ago, and I've accumulated tons of bands of various materials...but I always come back to the simple, black sport band. Rubber bracelets have come into prominence in the high end watch scene. They're very functional, look great, and it's become acceptable to wear them with just about any attire, these days, so it's pretty much all steel/rubber for me, all the time.

    Plus, steel and rubber reminds me of the Watch's "grandfather:" :)
  16. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    You just described the stainless steel model. You will not regret.
  17. mlourenco9 macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2014
    I had aluminium now i have SS. The big diference is weight. Aluminium is lighter. But SS is so, so much beautuful. And with milanese band is Gougeous. Tou Will Gorges weight is 2 days.
  18. mr_phillip macrumors newbie


    Nov 3, 2016
    The stainless is beautiful and feels like more of an investment in quality than the Al. That said, I feel it's a lot easier to justify (to myself) upgrading the watch every couple of years with the Al models (and I happen to really like the matt finish of the Space Grey) so that's what I've gone with both times so far.

    As a side note, I was talking to one of the employees in my local Apple Store yesterday and she told me that a surprising number of Nike+ buyers so far have been existing Stainless owners who are buying it as a second watch purely for the gym. She reckons they feel too self conscious wearing the shiny steel models in that environment. So if money's really no object, and it fits your usage, that's certainly one way to go.
  19. jav6454 thread starter macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Thanks for the replies. Most likely (95%) I'll go with the Stainless Steel option... assuming I can find a store that has one.
  20. Howyalikdemapls macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2013
    I mostly agree with mr_phillip. Neither watch is an investment, but the SS is nicer in the traditional way. A stainless steel watch looks more professional and most bands out there have SS clasps which I think look odd with the Aluminum watches.

    That being said, I bought an Aluminum watch (Nike+) and I will most likely get an Aluminum watch next time. I like gadgets and I will most likely update it within a year or two. The SS is overpriced (some of the $1,000 SS link Series 0 were selling for $300 brand new when the Series 2 was released). Several years ago I owned a lovely stainless steel watch with a stainless steel link bracelet that I think cost under $100. The metal really shouldn't make that big of a price increase, but they make loads of money doing it, so I can't blame them. (Same with the gold edition. There were companies that would put your Apple Watch in a solid gold housing for $3,000 where Apple charged $10,000). Anywho, if I were to get a SS Apple Watch it would be for the look, so I would probably get a Series 0 and mainly just use it to tell time. I don't really have any interest in this though since I think the Space Gray Aluminum looks great and I won't feel bad upgrading next year.

    I'd hate to buy a SS version now, and then want the new version next year but guilt myself out of it because I just wasted so much money this year on the SS version.

    Of course, we all spend our disposable income on different things, and we all have different amounts of disposable income, so my opinion isn't worth much, but my vote is for the Aluminum.
  21. satchmo macrumors 68000

    Aug 6, 2008
    I prefer the SS, but can't bring myself to spending $300 more for it ($399 vs $699)
    Well, technically one can get the cheapest SS for $599, but it come with a white sports band that I'm not sure I'd ever wear.
  22. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I have Aluminium AWS and Stainsteel LG watch Urbane both looks cool anyway.
  23. ivanwi11iams Contributor


    Nov 30, 2014
    Kennesaw, GA
    Earlier I was in Best Buy and an IT guy (I work in IT, too), was asking the sale associate questions about scratching on the Aluminium vs. Stainless Steel. I interjected and explained if you're thinking long term, less scratches and such), best to get the Stainless Steel.

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