Apple Watch 4 stainless or Not

Tarheel5

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 16, 2019
3
1
i have had both stainless and I use aluminum watches and would like some thoughts and opinions on what metal to go with on a Apple Watch series 4
 

RonFromOregon

macrumors regular
Jul 16, 2008
101
67
I tried both. I stayed with Space Black Stainless Steel (because it's incredibly resilient to scratches, and the face is sapphire, which is very scratch resistant. The aluminum body comes with an Ios-X Glass face that scratches more easily. Besides being more expensive, the only downsides going with Stainless Steel are a) Slightly heavier, which causes the vibration alerts to be less pronounced, b) The sapphire is more reflective in the right light. I've never had a problem with either of these, and my SBSS looks brand new after taking a fair share of abuse.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,415
34,496
i have had both stainless and I use aluminum watches and would like some thoughts and opinions on what metal to go with on a Apple Watch series 4
It’s depends how particular you are about scratches. If you don’t have a problem with scratching, but you just want the stainless classic look, then opt with the regular 316 L stainless Apple Watch, the benefit being that you can remove the scratches with a polishing cloth and restore it almost to factory condition.

If you’re someone that’s concerned about scratches, the space black stainless with the [diamond like carbon coating] would be your best option, as that’s fairly protective over the casing, the downside to the space black casing/DLC, is if you do scratch the casing, they are permanent, and you will not be able to remove them as you would with the regular stainless Apple Watch.
 
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douglasf13

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2010
1,601
782
Aluminum makes more sense if you’re frequently upgrading, but I like the stainless on the link bracelet too much to switch to aluminum. I also like how the stainless gets a nice “patina” from all of the little scuffs and scratches like my nice mechanical watches. I have a 3.5 year old stainless Series 0 with a bazillion little scratches on it (glass is still clear,) and I think it looks great.
 

Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
1,871
709
Hawaii, USA
The day that I'm confident that I'll keep the Watch for 5+ years is the day I'll go stainless. Until then, the cost savings by going aluminum (and without LTE) are substantial - $399 vs. $699 means you've practically bought two Watches simply by choosing the Stainless Steel model. I've only had two models thus far, a Series 1 and a Series 4, but that means upgrading to a Series 6 or 7 will be "free" with the "savings" from having chosen aluminum for both, instead of paying an additional $200-300 for the stainless steel model.

The Watch is still new enough technology that I'm not confident I'll hold onto it that long. New features aside, part of the reason I went to a Series 4 from the Series 1 was because the Series 1 was becoming unbearably slow.
 

futurist101

macrumors member
Sep 22, 2016
60
43
Los Angeles
The day that I'm confident that I'll keep the Watch for 5+ years is the day I'll go stainless. Until then, the cost savings by going aluminum (and without LTE) are substantial - $399 vs. $699 means you've practically bought two Watches simply by choosing the Stainless Steel model. I've only had two models thus far, a Series 1 and a Series 4, but that means upgrading to a Series 6 or 7 will be "free" with the "savings" from having chosen aluminum for both, instead of paying an additional $200-300 for the stainless steel model.

The Watch is still new enough technology that I'm not confident I'll hold onto it that long. New features aside, part of the reason I went to a Series 4 from the Series 1 was because the Series 1 was becoming unbearably slow.
I concur. I had the Series 0 and purchased the Series 3 earlier this year. I'll most likely upgrade to the Series 5 if it comes out this year just for the processor upgrade. I've always thought of the Apple Watch as wearable tech and never as a fashion accessory so I think the money would be better spent on more frequent upgrades as opposed to getting a higher priced finish for looks or scratch resistance.
 

dav146

macrumors regular
Dec 21, 2007
127
4
I find that most Apple products are fairly good at holding their price. So if you do purchase a stainless steel model - 12 months later the residual value is pretty good and can be sold on craigslist or eBay etc.

I've always had the aluminium models before, but my latest purchase was the rose gold with Milanese strap - just because it looked beautiful in all those adverts. I must admit I feel I made the right choice. Everybody's different so just go with what makes you feel happy!

I'm hopeful a day will come when Apple implement an upgrade programme for the watch just like they do with the iPhone....
 

PaladinGuy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2014
612
272
I’ve tried two times to go to the aluminum models to save money. However, I’ve ended up going back to the stainless steel model both times, which is what I started with for the original Apple Watch.

For me, the durability is a huge factor. However, I am someone who’s always worn a watch. I like to feel like I am wearing a watch. The weight and better build of the stainless steel model is just much more enjoyable IMO to wear daily. It’s part of what got me hooked on the Apple Watch. I loved the data and health features of Garmins and such, but they just couldn’t match the emotional joy I get from wearing my Apple Watch. Sounds cheesy, I know. That’s just my honest view/experience.

Part of me wishes I could enjoy the aluminum as much, as it financially is better value. Either way, it’s cheaper ownership than the Swiss watches I used to wear.
 

harleymhs

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2009
491
30
Just picked up S4 Space Grey Alum ... Popped on a Great quality Screen protector ( dont know its on ) and Now I wont feel like a ball and chain when the S5 arrives for the price I paid .. My wife got the Hermes its nice a bit heavier but now she is stuck with that for a few years.. Happy with my S4 Alum I love the matt finish on it as well
 

the future

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2002
1,697
1,671
If you wear your Apple Watch all day, every day, like I do, I feel the Stainless model is well worth it. If you only wear it occasionally for fitness tracking etc. and have a nice traditional watch to wear at other times, the Aluminum probably makes more sense.
 
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Cnasty

macrumors 68040
Jul 2, 2008
3,213
1,942
I have bought the last 3 versions of the stainless and at the end of each cycle I always seem to go back to the sport as the resale value is worse then a car being driven off the lot. If you like to upgrade annually (I do) aluminum is the way to go.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,415
34,496
Yes, we know The stainless doesn’t hold value once you buy it and if you decide to resell it. But if you’re somewhere that truly enjoys the aesthetics and the advantage of the Sapphire display, I think the stainless pays for itself, because it does have a whole new look to it over the aluminum. I owned the aluminum watch in the past, I personally thought was rather cheap feeling, that’s not to say it was not a good watch, I just prefer the weight and look of the stainless in general, which for me, that pays for itself. (And I also don’t care about the resale value.)
 
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jaybar

macrumors 65816
Dec 11, 2008
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Yes, we The stainless doesn’t hold value once you buy it and if you decide to resell it. But if you’re somewhere that truly enjoys the aesthetics and the advantage of the Sapphire display, I think the stainless pays for itself, because it does have a whole new look to it over the aluminum. I owned the aluminum watch in the past, I personally thought was rather cheap feeling, that’s not to say it was not a good watch, I just prefer the weight and look of the stainless in general, which for me, that pays for itself. (And I also don’t care about the resale value.)
I ageee with @Relentless Power. I vacillated between the SB and Silver Stainless. I returned to the SB. I had all with the ML band. For me, the interesting thing was the variability in the Apple ML. I only tried one silver ML band and it did feel way more supple, compared to the SB ML. However among the three SB ML bands, there was distinct differences in the overall magnetic feel and supple quality. You would think that because they were all genuine Apple bands, there would be little or no variability.
 

douglasf13

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2010
1,601
782
I’m still on the original steel Series 0, because I only ever intended for the watch to tell the time, check text/emails, and a few other little things, so the Series 0 still works fine. I actually bought both the steel 3 and 4 when they came out, but I returned them, because it wasn’t $700 better for what I do. I’ll probably get a steel 5, though, as my battery deteriorates.
 
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BSG75

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2015
243
127
Tennessee
I've had both regular and Space Black stainless models, but went with the aluminum for the Series 4. IMO, if you plan to keep the watch for a few years, stainless is definitely worth it since the depreciation hit won't hurt as much when it comes time to upgrade. It definitely has a much more premium feel and the Space Black holds up exceptionally well over time.

However, I had a Series 3 SBSS w/LTE that only had a trade-in value of $191 a year later. When I bought it a year ago, I paid nearly $800 including Apple Care+ and tax. I know that I could have gotten more selling outright, but I didn't want to deal with the hassle. Bottom line for me, I can't justify the price premium for SS. I'd rather buy a less expensive Apple Watch and put the savings toward a nice mechanical watch that won't depreciate as quickly.
 
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douglasf13

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2010
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I'd rather buy a less expensive Apple Watch and put the savings toward a nice mechanical watch that won't depreciate as quickly.
Yeah, I think that’s kind of the point someone made earlier. I already sold off all of my nice mechanical watches (Rolex, Omega, etc.,) so spending a bit more for the nicer Apple Watch is no big deal, especially since I don’t upgrade every year. If you’re still wearing mechanical watches most of the time, the aluminum makes even more sense.

Granted, we have no idea how long mechanical watches will remain desirable. I have a heirloom, gold pocket watch that is 115 years old, and it’s worth relatively little today. Who knows how long the recent, vintage mechanical watch bubble will last?
 

BSG75

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2015
243
127
Tennessee
Yeah, I think that’s kind of the point someone made earlier. I already sold off all of my nice mechanical watches (Rolex, Omega, etc.,) so spending a bit more for the nicer Apple Watch is no big deal, especially since I don’t upgrade every year. If you’re still wearing mechanical watches most of the time, the aluminum makes even more sense.

Granted, we have no idea how long mechanical watches will remain desirable. I have a heirloom, gold pocket watch that is 115 years old, and it’s worth relatively little today. Who knows how long the recent, vintage mechanical watch bubble will last?
Very good points. I have two Omegas and a vintage Heuer. I love those watches but when I put on my Apple Watch, I remember how useful it is. It’s the ultimate tool watch.

I’m with you on the vintage bubble, I’m not sure how long it will last, either. I do think that there will still be interest in mechanicals from enthusiasts for the foreseeable future. With that being said, I think the Apple Watch will definitely eat into the more affordable end mechanicals and quartz watches. If a person can afford to spend $400-$800 on only one watch, I’m pretty sure they’ll go with an Apple Watch since it provides the most features for the money.

No matter which Apple Watch you choose, you’re getting a very nice timepiece.
 
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douglasf13

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2010
1,601
782
Very good points. I have two Omegas and a vintage Heuer. I love those watches but when I put on my Apple Watch, I remember how useful it is. It’s the ultimate tool watch.
Yeah, although I have several straps, whenever I start to miss my mechanicals a little, I just throw my Watch on the link bracelet, and much of that goes away. The link bracelet is a fantastic design compared to even the higher end Swiss brands, IMO, and I'm a big former mechanical watch nerd. I mean, I spent lots of time on forums, collected several mechanicals...even took a watchmaking class! lol
 

AttilaTheHun

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2010
1,148
166
USA
I have the AW 3 wifi+cell 42" SS but next time I am going to buy the Aluminum one the price of the SS. is way to high and in one year you loose more the half of it price for example to buy AW 4 wifi+cell 44" SS include sail tax $902 I can't get $400 for mine
 

yui4

macrumors 6502a
May 26, 2011
886
572
I went backward and forward between stainless and Aluminium but settled on the stainless. I much prefer the premium feel of the ss and don’t see much change, design wise in the upcoming 5, so will get 2 years out of it before upgrading.
 

AttilaTheHun

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2010
1,148
166
USA
I went backward and forward between stainless and Aluminium but settled on the stainless. I much prefer the premium feel of the ss and don’t see much change, design wise in the upcoming 5, so will get 2 years out of it before upgrading.
If you use the AW just because of the Health APP (like me)so Apple will just keep adding one more APP every year so you will want to upgrade every year
 

Smartwatchlover

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2017
103
152
Abu Dhabi, UAE
I had a series 2 for almost two years then I have upgraded to series 4 when it has been presented few months ago.

Both of them aluminium Space Grey with the standard rubber band.

I use the watch every moment of my life including sleep time/workouts and I just take it off when I need to charge it.

The aluminium + rubber band has the big advantage of being very light and comfortable and this is a big plus when sleeping or exercising.

Never had any issue with scratches or dents, so for me aluminium is always the best option.

However my next one will be Silver because it’s way easier to couple it with nice bands while IMO Space Grey has less viable options.
 
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Yesterday

macrumors member
Dec 19, 2007
51
15
Austin TX
I'm still rocking my series 0 SS. I might upgrade to the series 5 SS when it comes out. Sapphire glass makes it worth it assuming you keep your apple watch for a while. If you want to upgrade every 2 years or so, then alum is probably fine.
 
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