Stainless Steel or Aluminium

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by WombatWattBike, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. WombatWattBike macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2016
    Cardiff, Wales - UK
    Afternoon all,

    I've been reading the forum over the weekend and wanted to join as it was such an informative forum. I've got the usual apple products, Macbook Air, iPhone 6s Plus and now want to get an apple watch series 2 now that they have gps and swim functionality. Can't hold out any longer!

    After reading what people have or ordering I'm still not sure which one to get - do I go for Aluminium or spend the extra and get the SS. Can someone please point me to the differences between the two types and is it worth the extra £200? Is the SS stronger and more robust?

    I'll be using the watch predominately for training and work. I'm tempted with the Space Black but watch bands are rather limited! Is the SS more of a dress watch rather than a sport watch?

    Thanks for all your help
  2. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    The main difference, aside from the obvious chassis materials, is the screen is sapphire on the SS, meaning much better scratch resistance.

    My wife has a sport (now just called aluminum) and he screen does have some scratches on it after a year. They are light but noticeable in direct sunlight.

    All that said I still think it's a fashion versus value decision. If the device was likely to last five years I'd personally have an easier time justifying the price jump. As it stands, this will probably get replaced in three years or less by the successor. No sense in my buying a device to keep it pristine for the next buyer.

    Just my thoughts
  3. Macaddict16 macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2002
    I have a Series 0 SS and after much deliberation I have pre-ordered the Aluminum Series 2. I wear mine everyday and go running a lot so the lighter weight of the aluminum was a factor for me. Not that the SS is by any means heavy though. If I am also going to upgrade each time a new watch comes out the SS is too expensive for me. I would rather have the newest internals rather than a slightly nicer look.
  4. ivanwi11iams Contributor


    Nov 30, 2014
    Kennesaw, GA
    I like @lordofthereef 's breakdown! I've been on the fence, too.
    To me, this year, Apple has spent more time and effort on the Series II Sport\Aluminium version. Maybe that was because more people bought that version, versus the Stainless Steel.

    PS: Often times, Best Buy has the Stainless Steel on sale for $200 off. Maybe in time, that will be the same for the Series II, Stainless Steel...
  5. WombatWattBike thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2016
    Cardiff, Wales - UK
    Thanks all, very interesting and informative @lordofthereef I think I may well go down the Aluminium route in that case as I intend to upgrade to the next watch in a couple of years - assuming I'll get on with this one!!

    I think for my first watch it's probably wiser in that case to go with the Aluminium and see how i go, the second watch can always be the SS version then!!
  6. LordQ Suspended


    Sep 22, 2012
    I like to look at it this way: James Bond would never wear an aluminium watch—go for the SS! Thing looks really good with a black leather band for formal occasions and amazing in the white sport band for daily use.
  7. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    He also wouldn't drive the cars we are probably all driving. :p
  8. WombatWattBike thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2016
    Cardiff, Wales - UK
    You mean he wouldn't drive my Aston Martin?!! I wish!
  9. Poochi macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    SS all the way. The looks and material are well worth the money.

    I think Apple Watch will last minimum of 3 years, maybe longer.
  10. Kramer73 macrumors member


    Sep 30, 2012
    I pre ordered a series 2 42mm aluminum sport space gray.This is my first Apple Watch and I'm gonna use it at work and while working out so to spend the extra on the SS and possibly scratch it it just wasn't worth it.
  11. Three141 macrumors 6502


    Jan 1, 2016
    Glad I'm not the only one struggling with this, all I wanted was GPS for cycling use but no... Apple had to go and make it extra awesome by waterproofing it, now I will use it whilst swimming and this has made which one to get impossible.

    SS black, SS Silver or Space Grey, i'll have to wait for the pics as I'm stuck.
  12. yanki01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 28, 2009
    SS for sure IMO. love the classy look of it and a lot of bands go well with it.
  13. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Depends where you work and how formal it is, and whether you have another dress watch. Since SS is the common material in dressy mechanical watches, the AW in SS looks close to being a dress watch. I also think the sapphire crystal reflects better so it looks better besides being a stronger material than Ion-X glass. Getting SS can almost be like buying 2 aluminums, so I understand your dilemma. I went with SS in AW0 because I knew I definitely wanted the Milanese Loop. I tried to economize by considering getting an Aluminum (silver) and buying the Milanese separately, but we looked at the combo in an Apple Store and saw it wasn't nearly as good as with SS. Even if the color was exactly the same, the shading and shininess of SS vs Aluminum is quite different.
  14. douglasf13 macrumors 68000

    Jul 2, 2010
    I bought the SS on link bracelet last year, and I also have a bunch of leather bands, but I pretty much only use the black rubber band these days, because it looks good and is functional, so I'm considering Space Grey aluminum next time around (but probably Space Black SS.) Granted, I don't dress up in suits often, but rubber banded fitness trackers are actually starting to become acceptable with suits these days. In fact, a lot of high end mechanical watches in the five figures come on rubber these days.

    It really depends on my turnover with this device. If I buy a new one every year or two, I think the aluminum would hold up fine. If I go longer, then SS probably makes more sense. If push came to shove, and I was able to go back in time and do it again, I'd probably go Space Black SS.
  15. wegster macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2006
    Just went through the same 'fun.'
    No AW0 for me, as the bang for $ wasn't there, not being 'officially' waterproof etc., and wanted to see how the AW developed.

    Waffled for a while, but for me, the watch is a tool while needing to be acceptable 'enough' appearing in a business environment. I don't remove my current (SS) watch and it's been on the garage floor working under a vehicle or motorcycle, and 'under' a suit.

    The SS + sapphire glass is worth it, to me, for my expectations.
    Having said that, I'm also hesitant on the 'what's the cycle going to wind up being?' My non-smartwatch is going on 10 years and holding up fine. I don't expect that from a smartwatch, but at some point you have to consider the $ vs time/benefit in the equation...if I wind up upgrading in < 3 years, going to seriously reconsider vs the $ on a SS + Milanese, although hopefully on next round they won't change the bands and the number of quality but lesser cost bands will only increase.

    I also went back and forth as the SS Black + black Milanese or link looks awesome, but not sure it worked for me + more limited band selection...although in reality, all most 'really' need is one 'dressy' or business casual and one 'active.'

    YMMV - pick your compromise vs needs.
  16. lauramayer, Sep 12, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016

    lauramayer macrumors regular


    Apr 5, 2016
    Best comment so far! <3
  17. Enrico macrumors 6502


    Feb 6, 2007
    Milano / Roma
    I'm finding hard to get a good resale value for my steel, so keep in mind also this if you plan on upgrading every generation or so.
    Just cancelled my preorder for stainless steel series 2.
  18. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    The aluminum is great if you're sure it's what you want. If you're tempted by SS, I'd get it if you can. Or you'll keep wondering what it would have been.
  19. Alvi macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2008
    Last year what made me get the Stainless Steel Apple Watch was the sapphire crystal screen, having a scratched watch screen is upsetting. That being said I spent almost double than I would have spent on the Aluminium one and this is making me think about everything for a while.

    As a counter argument for the SS AW is that even though the screen doesn't scratch, the case REALLY does.

    I will definitely not upgrade to series 2, mainly because I don't really need the waterproofing nor the GPS (I guess I go swimming/underwater less than 10 times a year) and I don't really mind "Disconnecting" from everything and leaving my apple watch home those times. And I never go running without my phone.

    I can't justify upgrading every year a 700$ apple watch, but every two years might work.

    We shall see what next year's apple watch does. I might even get an aluminium one and a screen protector, a friend has one and it looks decent.
  20. MrGimper macrumors 603


    Sep 22, 2012
    Andover, UK
    I bought SS AW First Get for 3 reasons:

    a) It's stainless steel, so any scratches can be buffed out
    b) It has a sapphire crystal display, and I didn't want to have to "baby" it too much to avoid scratches
    c) It has the best compatibility with ALL the bands available from Apple, with the exception of the obviously made for space black straps.

    I've upgraded to SS AWs2 for exactly the same reasons.
  21. WombatWattBike thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2016
    Cardiff, Wales - UK
    My job is basically in studio, office and meetings but all are informal. Working in the media business so not a big deal to have a watch for dress up. The big reason for me is for fitness and I think Apple have suckered me in with this watch. I've just sold my Garmin Vivoactive HR so hoping I can get hold of a watch this weekend!

    Given that it's predominately for fitness I can't see me using leather straps and rubber seems to be the way to go. If I was in a more formal environment I think I'd definitely go SS but might just go for Aluminium for the first watch and then see what happens next year!
  22. ofarlig macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2015
    Ordered a space grey aluminium for me and a rose gold for the wife. Can't really justify going for the SS as it only needs to survive for a year or so until Apple comes with an update.
  23. Trufunk macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2016
    Does the Apple warranty cover scratches to the
    screen or the SS case?
  24. douglasf13 macrumors 68000

    Jul 2, 2010
    No. The stainless steel gets very scratched up, but that's the case with any steel watch. It looks good with some wear, and it can be polished.
  25. gorkt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2007
    As someone who has a SS series 0, I chose the aluminum this time around. I actually did get a few scratches on my sapphire screen, likely from my anniversary diamond band on my other hand. I decided that if I was going to spend the money going forward, I would rather have the best internals than the more expensive case. I also like that it is lighter weight since I run with it and have small wrists. I was really torn the last time around between the SS and the sport, so this gets me a chance to try the other one on this upgrade cycle. If the new watch gets scratched up more than I would like, I may go back to the SS next time. I will pair the new one with the Milanese band I already have, and I doubt I'll notice the difference. I may throw a screen protector on as well.

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30 September 12, 2016