Stainless vs Aluminum - Why buy SS?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by dseg42, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. dseg42 macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2014
    I bought the SS version of the AW3 while my wife got the aluminum. We've never had Apple watches before so we wanted to try them both.
    I've been wearing the SS AW3 for about 5 days now and tried on my wife's aluminum for the first time.
    Wow, it is like wearing nothing but air. The SS version is extremely heavy compared the the aluminum.

    Then I started to research the differences between the two. I read that the screen brightnesss is different so, I live in FL so we have plenty of sun, I took them both outside and there is definitely a noticeable difference. The ion-x glass is brighter.

    So I was wondering what is the main drivers for people buying the SS version?
    • Sapphire glass is stronger? I put a screen protector on the ion-x which is invisible. Watch manufacturers use sapphire glass because the watches are suppose to last 5, 10 years. The AW3 will be obsolete in 1-2 years. The ion-x glass is also more shatter resistant than sapphire.
    • Weight - The SS version is almost twice as heavy - it's night and day when trying them on - crazy.
    • Cost - The SS is $240 more
    Am I missing something big? The SS is shiny while aluminum is matte? I'd prefer matte, the gloss looks girly in my opinion but everyone is different. I thought there were bigger differences that justified the price increase, I should have done more research.
    However, I am still within my 2 week return window.
  2. mizzourah macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2013
    St. Louis, MO

    Who would buy a SS? That's your question? Someone who values things differently than you? You have your opinions and things that make a decision one way or the other for you. Good. Enjoy it. Be happy in what you have. But no need to start a whole thread on who would buy a SS? As if whoever would is so dumb, according to your personal value system. There are plenty who have. Apple sells a lot of them. That doesn't make them all a shade dumber than you. Please.
  3. riverfreak macrumors demi-god


    Jan 10, 2005
    Thonglor, Bangkok
    Personal preference? Isn’t that sufficient? You yourself say you prefer a matte finish. The gloss looks “girly”? Uh, yeah, whatever, bro.

    Like 1000 other threads just like this, if you are so deeply agonized that the watch will be obsolete in two years, then by all means get the absolute cheapest one you can afford.

    And just so you know, sapphire glass isn’t for duration. It’s for durability, which may or may not correlate with longevity.
  4. dseg42 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2014
    You sound like you have a SS also.
    Don't be mad and take a breathe. I'm only asking if I am missing anything in comparison.
    So yes, who would buy a SS over aluminum and why?

    "Values things differently" - what makes the SS more valuable?
  5. lyutin macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    i had aluminum before (original) and at some point couldn't stand it - it felt like a cheap toy. Even wearing it to work I felt it had the yack appeal. As my other mechanical watches, even smart watch should be stainless steel, its a whole different ball game. I too like you at first questioned why the hell would i pay 2x premium if internally its identical? But after I got SS version my frustration went away. Yes its heavier, I see it as more substantial, its a positive thing for me. I also have few bands, one of my favorites is link bracelet - yes, before you say anything, its expensive - but when you pair it with SS AW its elegant, sharp and I can pull it off in 99% of scenarios (work, out and about, taking my kid to the park, with a suit, etc.) So yea its more expensive then aluminum, but the premium is worth it. Every kid and their friend is wearing Aluminum, and I think SS stands out more. I would never go back to aluminum after having SS.
  6. dseg42 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2014
    Thanks lyutin - good feedback.

    Seems like the other replies are just people with with SS versions with no defense to my comparison - which are making them angry I guess.
  7. USC_Gamecock macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2004
    I had the S2 SG Alu, and I now have the S3 SS Silver. I prefer the SS because I like the look -- it looks more like a normal watch that I wear on a day to day basis. I can pair it with any bands to dress it up or dress it down. Worth the money IMO.
  8. mizzourah macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2013
    St. Louis, MO
    No one's angry - trust me. Your thread is just pointless. Justify away but buy what you want. Don't ask for others to validate your own personal choices.
  9. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Comparison seems complete to me. One more thing: Only with the steel version you can get the DLC (Diamond-Like-Coating), which so far is the one of the hardest finishes available (not sure about the ceramic housings, though).
  10. bambooshots macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2013
    I like the SS because of the weight.

    I've been wearing watches my whole life, first G-Shocks then divers' watches, and the aluminum just didn't feel right on my wrist. I missed the heft and more premium feel of the SS.

    It's also more durable; I've whacked it pretty hard on some metal shelves at work and it still looks flawless without a scratch or dent (DLC Space Black). Ion-X may be more visible but it won't shake off scratches like sapphire will. That, and I also don't like using screen covers.

    Well worth the premium to me and I will go from a SS Series 0 to a SS S3.
  11. Khabbi macrumors member

    May 8, 2009
    Bought SS for my First apple watch and thought it was a waste for me.. bought Aluminum AW3 and have no regrets.

    Get whatever you want, if you plan on wearing it every day then the price difference isn't a big deal if you have to look at it all day every day. But for me, I'm good with saving the $ this time (which I can never say about apple products since I go for the best). :)
  12. rwilliams macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I had a gold aluminum watch for a year. I bought the aluminum version to see if I even liked the Apple Watch. Over time, I loved the function of the watch, but felt it looked too much like a toy (especially when wearing nice clothes). I wanted something that looked and felt more like jewelry. So I moved up to the stainless steel model. To say I love this thing would be an understatement. It looks so much nicer and is definitely better suited to being worn with dressier clothing than my old aluminum watch.
  13. bambooshots macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2013
  14. satchmo macrumors 68000

    Aug 6, 2008
    Humans by nature seek validation. But the criteria of others may not be the same as yours.
    Buy based on your needs and what makes you happy.
  15. dseg42, Oct 20, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2017

    dseg42 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2014
    The comparison I listed out are pure fact such as the glass, weight, price, etc. - how are those opinions? Except the matte vs shiny.
    Not sure what your talking about but almost everyone this thread has had some good feedback.
  16. rsxmachine macrumors 6502a

    Dec 19, 2007
    to answer your question. The SS is premium while the aluminum is not. The aluminum looks more like a toy while the SS looks like a watch. From a technical perspective there are no differences, this comes down to design now, but aren't all watches based on design
  17. dseg42 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2014
    Thanks - I forgot to mention that, I heard the DLC was extremely tough. Does the silver SS also have this coating or is it just the black?
  18. bambooshots macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2013
    It's just the black.

    In fact the plain SS is reported to scratch over time and people have to buff them out every once in a while.
  19. riverfreak, Oct 20, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2017

    riverfreak macrumors demi-god


    Jan 10, 2005
    Thonglor, Bangkok
    In your OP, you carefully lay out your argument with all the rigor of an undergraduate philosophy student. But then you undermine your whole argument when you say that you’d “prefer matte, the gloss looks girly in my opinion but I guess everyone is different.”

    Is this really that difficult? SS is a different material. It has different properties, one of which happens to be cost. You astutely observe that the SS model is heavier, but to this indisputable objective fact you then attach “crazy”, and imply your subjective assertion that lighter is better.
  20. charlyee, Oct 20, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017

    charlyee macrumors 6502


    Mar 9, 2011
    Quite an interesting thread. Many of the arguments against the aluminum are “it looks like a toy and SS is premium”, which obviously is personal opinion.

    I never wore a watch and tried on the Fitbit Ulta HR about 4 months back, fell in love with the idea and decided to go for the AW.

    I got the white aluminum with the fog band intentionally, the weight, the clarity of the screen, and the matt finish being the main reasons. They are my priorities and my reasons only.

    I looked at my husband’s $2k+ Omega, and yes compared to that mine possibly looks like a toy but I also think no matter what, it is not going to be possible to come close to that classic and classy look with today’s wearables, again just my opinion. He has had the watch for over 20 years, based on my track record I will be surprised with 2 years for me.

    I guess my point is it is whatever one feels happy and comfortable with, to each their own.

    PS: I like that mine looks sporty and casual and not like a wannabe dress watch.
  21. Nell macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2012
    I had a silver aluminium watch first because I couldn’t justify the expense of the stainless steel one for a first generation product especially since I didn’t know whether I’d take to it. After 2.5 years of daily wear it’s still fine but I decided to upgrade to the Series 3. When the Watch first came out I thought I preferred the stainless steel but I quickly came to love the silver aluminium one and it seemed to fit better with my somewhat scruffy appearance. Nonetheless my Series 3 watch is stainless steel (though I spent ages trying both versions on before deciding) and now that I have it I love the look and the weightiness of it.

    Ultimately it’s all down to personal choice. The aluminium will last well in my experience but for now I’m enjoying the sleekness of that shiny silver surface. If you prefer a matt finish, exchange your watch while you’re still in that 14 day window.
  22. DotCom2 macrumors 68040

    Feb 22, 2009
    There is another thread somewhere on this forum titled something like the Aluminum Apple Watch looks like a cheap toy!
    To each their own I say. That's why they have different models in the first place! I for one went with the SS because to's gorgeous! But that's just me.
  23. andrewface macrumors 6502


    May 17, 2006
    Functionally they are both exactly the same. There is a market for premium watches and Apple is catering to it with the SS models. I bought the SS because it looks way better and I scored a good deal on a Series 2. I also loved my old series 1 in aluminum so much so that I could justify spending more for the premium version.
  24. ReeseATPH macrumors member


    Jul 1, 2017
    Simple answer and you stated it in your own observations - FLORIDA, SUNSHINE , UNABLE TO SEE DISPLAY ON SAPPHIRE

    There you go.
  25. Xenomorph macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2008
    St. Louis
    I first bought an aluminum. Then I put a screen protector on it. Then I put a case on it. The case rubbed the screen protector off. Then I ordered some more screen protectors. Then I started to worry about its composite (plastic) back.

    I was worrying more about it than my phone. Applying a flat screen protector on the phone was easy. Just align (with tape or rubber bands), and stick. With the watch, you deal with wet application and curved edges, then you have to wait for it to dry and "cure". Applying a case on my phone was easy. Just put it on. With the watch, I'd have to mess with a tight fit, chance of tearing up the screen protector, and still leaving the plastic back exposed.

    I returned the aluminum watch, and now I'm wearing a naked Space Black Stainless Steel watch. Ceramic back, sapphire front, and diamond-plated case. I've banged it against all kinds of stuff and there isn't a single mark nor hairline scratch. It's flawless. The case is as shiny as the display (it's hard to tell where the screen ends and the case begins), and I haven't had any issue seeing the display outside. It only weighs a few grams more than the aluminum, and that hasn't bothered me. If anything it lets me know I'm still wearing it (so I'll know for sure if it ever comes off accidentally).

    With payments stretched over 24 months, it cost just a few bucks more a month compared to the aluminum, and I never have to worry about damaging it or trying to protect it.

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