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CWallace

macrumors G5
Aug 17, 2007
12,298
11,096
Seattle, WA
I've always assumed that the bands are factory rejects. The pricing varies a fair bit on them, with the more expensive ones (I paid $225 for mine) apparently much closer to what Apple accepts for retail sale and the cheaper ones (I have seen them as low as $85) being progressively farther away.

The best-quality ones could also be returns - either to Apple that then did not pass QA for re-package and sale as new or to local retailers who then re-sell them on to recover some of the value.
 

FenC

macrumors 6502a
Oct 5, 2016
973
2,068
Wellington, New Zealand
So I decided to try the genuine Apple link since the finish on my band from Chargerstore has been wearing off so quickly from nothing more than occasional contact with a desk or table. My Apple band arrived a few days ago and I figured I would share my observations for anyone interested since I have been able to compare the two bands side by side.
  • Hardware appears to be basically identical. Both have the same markings on the clasp and the same link removal mechanism. The band from Chargerstore feels slightly heavier when I hold them side-by-side. But, it might just be my imagination and I don't have a scale sensitive enough to really compare.
  • The finish on the two bands is different. The official Apple band is a lighter shade than the one I got from Chargerstore. The pictures make the difference look more dramatic than it actually is, but it's definitely there. The Apple band is a really dark gunmetal shade while the Chargerstore band is closer to true black. The Chargerstore band has a bit of a yellow undertone, while the grey on the Apple band is more blue in tone . At first I was really skeptical I would like the lighter Apple band. But, when attached to the watch, the polished side of the lugs match my SBSS S5 perfectly. The polished side on the Chargerstore band is a little darker than the watch itself. One of the nice things about the lighter shade on the Apple band is it brings out the brushed texture on the links a bit more and it looks especially good in bright light.
  • The Apple band came much cleaner than the Chargerstore band did. The inside of the clasp and the links on the Apple band were pristine while the Chargerstore had remnants of something (oil maybe?) on the inside of both. Doesn't affect the working of the band, but clearly the Chargerstore band never made it to the final cleaning stage in the factory.
  • I haven't had the Apple band long enough to know if the finish will hold up better. Can't be any worse though. My Chargerstore band started showing wear after 5-6 weeks of use in an office.
I don't quite know what to make of all this. The bands are really similar, but the Apple one is a closer match to the watch and is more finished (not surprising since it is the retail product). Seems to me there are three possible explanations for these differences.
  1. The Chargerstore band is a really good fake. I think this is unlikely given the success others have had with this seller. Also, who would go to all the trouble of making such an exact fake?
  2. The Chargerstore band is a prototype or factory reject. That might explain the difference in coloring and why the finish didn't hold up very well. Could have been a different formulation of the DLC coating or a band where the coating wasn't applied correctly.
  3. The Chargerstore band is genuine but older (maybe from the S0 days) and Apple has since tweaked the color of the band. This is possible but I haven't seen anything about Apple changing the color of the Space Black finish across any of the Apple Watch generations. I hope this isn't the reason for the differences since it would mean the finish on the genuine Apple band probably won't hold up any better.
Just posting this here for anyone who is interested. I'm planning to stick with the Apple band as long as the DLC finish holds up through my return period. The slightly lighter finish really adds to the band, and it already looked fantastic to begin with.
Thanks for posting that.

As someone who has had a genuine SS LB since probably late 2015, and recently bought an SBSS Watch I now have more than a passing interest in this specific subject. Could I ask how much more worn the Chargerstore band has become since the photos you posted some time ago?

I’m definitely not going to pay Apple money for a SB LB as I will hardly wear it; I wear the silver one rarely as I fall back to it (or a black leather loop) when I don’t have a sport band to match an outfit, and as I have both Watch colours there is even less chance of needing the black as I still have silver available. Chargerstore‘s would likely hold up plenty well enough for me if I decide to spend they money, but I’m still keen to know how bad yours got.
 
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MacDevil7334

Contributor
Oct 15, 2011
2,535
5,751
Austin TX
Thanks for posting that.

As someone who has had a genuine SS LB since probably late 2015, and recently bought an SBSS Watch I now have more than a passing interest in this specific subject. Could I ask how much more worn the Chargerstore band has become since the photos you posted some time ago?

I’m definitely not going to pay Apple money for a SB LB as I will hardly wear it; I wear the silver one rarely as I fall back to it (or a black leather loop) when I don’t have a sport band to match an outfit, and as I have both Watch colours there is even less chance of needing the black as I still have silver available. Chargerstore‘s would likely hold up plenty well enough for me if I decide to spend they money, but I’m still keen to know how bad yours got.
Sorry for the delay. The band has picked up a tiny bit more wear on the clasp itself in the area highlighted by the bottom right arrow in my earlier picture. It is only a little bit more worn than in that photo, and I wasn't able to get a picture that even picked up the difference. You have to remember though that I really cut down on wearing the band after noticing the wear. I probably only wore it 5-10 more times over the past 6 weeks (COVID helped with that too). I suspect it would be more worn now if I had kept wearing it almost daily over that time period.

I totally understand not wanting to pay full price for this band. I decided it was worth it for me because I love the look and will wear it daily once my company starts going back into the office. If I only wore it once in a while, I for sure would only consider the Chargerstore version. Also, the finish will almost certainly hold up better if you only wear the band occasionally.
 
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MacDevil7334

Contributor
Oct 15, 2011
2,535
5,751
Austin TX
Should I worry about this post?i am waiting for my Silver version.
No I don’t think so. The silver link band will scratch either way (just like the silver watch). As I mentioned in my post, the hardware of my Chargerstore band (size, weight, clasp, link mechanism) were all pretty much identical to the Apple band I bought. The difference was in the space black finish. For the silver band, it’s just brushed stainless steel.
 

karless

macrumors member
Feb 10, 2013
61
9
Athens,Greece
No I don’t think so. The silver link band will scratch either way (just like the silver watch). As I mentioned in my post, the hardware of my Chargerstore band (size, weight, clasp, link mechanism) were all pretty much identical to the Apple band I bought. The difference was in the space black finish. For the silver band, it’s just brushed stainless steel.

I watery about how genuine it is.
 

CWallace

macrumors G5
Aug 17, 2007
12,298
11,096
Seattle, WA
I watery about how genuine it is.

As most all of us who have them (stainless or Space Black) can attest, if they are complete fakes, they're effectively perfect fakes, especially the more expensive (~200USD) models.

I admit I don't wear mine regularly so that might explain why it's still in great condition, but I have banged it into things when I have worn it and neither it nor the watch shows any damage so I believe they are using identical DLC coatings. And I have compared it to the Apple OEM version at the store and they have looked identical to me in color.

Hence why I think they are factory rejects and/or refurbished genuine Apple bands. And if I can save a hundred or more with a defect I cannot notice, well that was worth it for me. If it was my primary band I wore every day, I admit I probably would have paid the full price from Apple and ordered it with the watch to get AppleCare+, but even then, chances are I'd have never encountered a problem to recover the cost so I still feel ahead with my CS purchase.
 

DoubleFlyaway

macrumors 68000
Nov 16, 2017
1,620
2,526
No I don’t think so. The silver link band will scratch either way (just like the silver watch). As I mentioned in my post, the hardware of my Chargerstore band (size, weight, clasp, link mechanism) were all pretty much identical to the Apple band I bought. The difference was in the space black finish. For the silver band, it’s just brushed stainless steel.

How badly does the SS silver scratch? I've only ever had aluminum, but I'm always tempted.
 

FenC

macrumors 6502a
Oct 5, 2016
973
2,068
Wellington, New Zealand
Sorry for the delay. The band has picked up a tiny bit more wear on the clasp itself in the area highlighted by the bottom right arrow in my earlier picture. It is only a little bit more worn than in that photo, and I wasn't able to get a picture that even picked up the difference. You have to remember though that I really cut down on wearing the band after noticing the wear. I probably only wore it 5-10 more times over the past 6 weeks (COVID helped with that too). I suspect it would be more worn now if I had kept wearing it almost daily over that time period.

I totally understand not wanting to pay full price for this band. I decided it was worth it for me because I love the look and will wear it daily once my company starts going back into the office. If I only wore it once in a while, I for sure would only consider the Chargerstore version. Also, the finish will almost certainly hold up better if you only wear the band occasionally.
Thanks for taking the time to reply once more. I expect I’ll buy one eventually just to have it as an option to smarten up the SBSS.

I considered a black Milanese; I never liked the silver one for myself after my wife got one very early on in the S0 period, but the black looks less dainty to my eye which would work better for me, however I was worried about how easily it can scratch the sapphire glass on the Watch. Then I thought about what that DLC coated grater might do to my MacBook Pro if I absent-mindedly rested my wrist on it to type, and that put me off enough I don’t think I’ll risk it.
How badly does the SS silver scratch? I've only ever had aluminum, but I'm always tempted.
Not horribly badly, and it can be buffed back to a brushed finish whereas the black finish can’t be easily repaired.
 
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MacDevil7334

Contributor
Oct 15, 2011
2,535
5,751
Austin TX
How badly does the SS silver scratch? I've only ever had aluminum, but I'm always tempted.

Not sure if you are asking about the SS watch or the SS link band. Both will scratch. It's much more noticeable on the watch though since it has a mirror finish (similar to the old iPods). Over time, it will pick up all sorts of micro (and sometimes not so micro scratches) and develop a patina. I had the SS S2 and S4, and the scratches are only noticeable at close inspection. Nobody who sees you wearing the watch will be able to tell. If they really bother you, you can always use a Cape Cod Cloth to buff the scratches out and restore the mirror finish. But, they never bothered me enough for me to do anything about them. You can also restore the link band, but you need to use a different product since it is a brushed finish.

Thanks for taking the time to reply once more. I expect I’ll buy one eventually just to have it as an option to smarten up the SBSS.

I considered a black Milanese; I never liked the silver one for myself after my wife got one very early on in the S0 period, but the black looks less dainty to my eye which would work better for me, however I was worried about how easily it can scratch the sapphire glass on the Watch. Then I thought about what that DLC coated grater might do to my MacBook Pro if I absent-mindedly rested my wrist on it to type, and that put me off enough I don’t think I’ll risk it.

I went through pretty much the same process. My first Apple Watch was a SS S2 with the Milanese Loop. Kept it one day before returning it and getting one with a Classic Buckle band instead. I think the metal bands look a little too bright on the regular SS. But, I really like both the Milanese and the Link on the Space Black. It's weird how simply changing the watch case color can completely change your taste in bands.

I bought my S5 used and it came with the SB Milanese loop. But, I didn't even put it on the watch because of the scratching risk. Instead, I sold it right away and put the funds toward the link band. I wish the Milanese wasn't such a danger, because I would like to have it as a more breathable metal option for summer use (it's already quite hot here in Austin).
 

karless

macrumors member
Feb 10, 2013
61
9
Athens,Greece
Not sure if you are asking about the SS watch or the SS link band. Both will scratch. It's much more noticeable on the watch though since it has a mirror finish (similar to the old iPods). Over time, it will pick up all sorts of micro (and sometimes not so micro scratches) and develop a patina. I had the SS S2 and S4, and the scratches are only noticeable at close inspection. Nobody who sees you wearing the watch will be able to tell. If they really bother you, you can always use a Cape Cod Cloth to buff the scratches out and restore the mirror finish. But, they never bothered me enough for me to do anything about them. You can also restore the link band, but you need to use a different product since it is a brushed finish.



I went through pretty much the same process. My first Apple Watch was a SS S2 with the Milanese Loop. Kept it one day before returning it and getting one with a Classic Buckle band instead. I think the metal bands look a little too bright on the regular SS. But, I really like both the Milanese and the Link on the Space Black. It's weird how simply changing the watch case color can completely change your taste in bands.

I bought my S5 used and it came with the SB Milanese loop. But, I didn't even put it on the watch because of the scratching risk. Instead, I sold it right away and put the funds toward the link band. I wish the Milanese wasn't such a danger, because I would like to have it as a more breathable metal option for summer use (it's already quite hot here in Austin).

Which product should I use for link bracelet ?
 

rosegoldoli

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2019
968
1,237
has anybody gotten a nike band from this seller that was a little too light?...i got a Nike band but it feels lighter than my other ones. it has the genuine markings but something feels off
 

FenC

macrumors 6502a
Oct 5, 2016
973
2,068
Wellington, New Zealand
I was just thinking this morning that Nike bands have very different feel across the colours. I took off a Pink Blast and put on a Hyper Grape, both of which I bought boxed (though the HG was used). HG is much stiffer and smoother whereas PB is more flexible and almost slightly rubbery to the touch.

I had a quick check of a few others and I think there is a lot of variation but those are the extremes. It’s not an age thing as my Volt is not stiff. Nor is it climate related (my HG may have come from a hot state - I forget, as my Anthracite bought new a few months ago direct from Apple and kept in temperate New Zealand is.

Anyway, I wouldn’t worry it’s not real based on being a bit softer.
 
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tivoboy

macrumors 601
May 15, 2005
4,022
826
I just received an orange sport loop from these guys, and other than taking 3 weeks to get to the USA (probably COVID related) it did indeed appear to be brand new, apple original and perfect.. no packaging as indicated but I would have tossed that in 20 minutes anyway. The price was what one would have paid for original, but for a discontinued version that I really wanted and can’t be found anywhere I’m fine with that. Great product and seller.
 
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aibo82

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2010
507
468
Should I worry about this post?i am waiting for my Silver version.
Hi

I am from the UK got my Stainless steel Link bracelet 2 days ago and its stunning, the links clip perfectly and strong and the clasp works beautifully. The condition of my bracelet was pristine not a single scratch or mark but I did choose the £117 one and not the £95 listing as they looked more scratched in the image.

Anyway I wasn't to worried as my friend is a jeweller or I could of used some scotch bright pads to remove the scratching and restore the brushed effect working in one stroke down the bracelet.

So don't worry at all they are quality items have all the correct markings and if it was fake I'm happy to pay the price because the quality and fit and finish of them are perfect... I wouldn't be so happy ordering the black one as you got no chance of correcting scratches easily.

Delivery was really fast just over a week and I was quoted the end of July.

Hope this helps you!
 

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karless

macrumors member
Feb 10, 2013
61
9
Athens,Greece
Today I received my link bracelet stainless steal and I have mentioned that there is a gap between these 2 links as the picture below.Is it normal ?
83d6444cc96361d6ff491a71175011ab.jpg
 

stflush

macrumors newbie
Jul 1, 2017
22
15
Today I received my link bracelet stainless steal and I have mentioned that there is a gap between these 2 links as the picture below.Is it normal ?

Doesn’t look normal. Is that one of the removable pieces, and if so, can you either swap it out or swap it to another spot on the band? That may help you identify which piece is causing the issue.
 
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paultopia

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2020
93
130
FWIW, after reading around on these forums a bit, I ordered an electric blue classic leather from chargerstore---essentially for full original price (sigh but those are super hard to find). It looks pretty similar to the old red classic leather that I got direct from Apple a few years ago, and feels similar quality. Like others have said, if they're fakes, they're really good fakes.
 
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tivoboy

macrumors 601
May 15, 2005
4,022
826
FWIW, after reading around on these forums a bit, I ordered an electric blue classic leather from chargerstore---essentially for full original price (sigh but those are super hard to find). It looks pretty similar to the old red classic leather that I got direct from Apple a few years ago, and feels similar quality. Like others have said, if they're fakes, they're really good fakes.
that sounds like an interesting color/model.. can you share the link on ebay? (PM)
 

tivoboy

macrumors 601
May 15, 2005
4,022
826
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