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Best Watch To Buy

Apple recently launched the Series 8 and a new SE, along with the new rugged Ultra sport watch. And while the company has stopped selling last year's Series 7, along with older models, you can still find them at many online retailers (sometimes for a significant discount). All these watches look pretty similar and share a rotating stable of features. Here, we break down which one is best for you, and whether older models are worth the price.

best watch to buy


Most people hold on to their Apple Watch for a while, which makes buying the latest one a safe bet. The latest Series 8 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is the best watch for most Apple users, especially people who menstruate or want to track their fertility. The wrist-based temperature sensing feature tracked my skin temperature dropping steadily as I recovered from Covid-19. I haven't had the opportunity to test the latest Crash Detection feature (and I hope I never will), but that may offer you and your loved ones a little peace of mind.

Apple has dropped last year's Series 7 from the lineup, along with the Series 5 and 6. Last year, I noted that the Series 7 was one of the best sports watches on the market, with better water- and dust-resistance and updated algorithms, a bigger screen, and a full-size keyboard for texting. And when I hold the Series 7 next to the Series 8, the difference in the display size and brightness is negligible. If you can find it on sale for around $300, I think it's worth buying.

WatchOS 9 works with Series 4 watches and later, so if someone wants to give you one or you can find it significantly marked down, those are also worth considering. As Apple has added its health features one by one to each watch, you should double-check to make sure it has the ones you want. For example, the Series 5 doesn't have SpO2 monitoring, and SpO2 monitoring doesn't work on the Series 6 if the user is under 18 or doesn't have a paired iPhone.

It's been years since we've seen retailers carry the Series 1 or Series 2. You may see them on resale sites, but they are probably not worth the price. Family Setup works only on Series 4 and above, so you can't pick these up as cheaper options for your very old or very young family members. The Series 1 isn't waterproof, neither watch has cellular capability, and neither is compatible with the latest WatchOS version. And after many years of recommending the Series 3, we are now giving it the boot as well, as it's no longer compatible with WatchOS 9.

Bigger and more expensive isn't always better. If the case is big and doesn't fit well, it will rattle annoyingly every time you get a notification. I like the Spigen Thin Fit Case ($14) and a screen protector set from Amazon ($10); extras are nice if you mess up the first application. My favorite strap is Nike's woven nylon Sport Loop ($49). Since the battery life still sucks, I would also pick up a power bank ($50) with a built-in Apple Watch charger so you're not caught out with a dead watch.

Modern super compressor-style dive watches, identified by their dual crown and internal rotating bezel designs, are relatively uncommon, but one of the standouts in this style is the Christopher Ward C65 Super Compressor, a vintage-inspired watch measuring 41mm and topped off with a heavily domed sapphire crystal. The watch is also a solid value, just over $1,000 and containing an automatic Sellita SW200 movement.

One of the unquestioned icons of the dive watch category, the Submariner made its debut in 1953 and has continued to evolve as Rolex has introduced new (often patented) innovations to it over the years: the in-house Caliber 3235 with a 70-hour power reserve is a legitimate upgrade over the previous Submariner movement, for example. The case measures 41mm and boasts a serious water resistance of 300 meters.

Swatch, often dismissed as the maker of plastic-cased, quartz-driven, mass-marketed timepieces for limited budgets and trend-driven youth, made the watch world sit up and take notice when it unveiled the Sistem51 in 2013. Priced at an astounding $150, the watch contained an innovatively designed 51-part mechanical movement with five assembly-line produced modules held together by a single central screw. Swatch has since expanded the collection from its original handful of models, including this one with a bold blue 3D-textured dial and a matching blue silicone strap. Flip the watch over to get a glimpse of the groundbreaking self-winding caliber through a caseback window.

Bulgari has spent the past several years shattering watch-industry thinness records with its stylishly avant-garde Octo Finissimo collection. The stepped, octagonal case design is unlike anything else on the market and the ultra-thin profile is equally as impressive. Inside the Octo Finissimo is an accordingly razor thin caliber, the self-winding BVL 128 Finissimo which is finished to the highest level of haute horlogerie. Matte finishes dominate the case, bracelet and dial for a distinct, uniform design.

RGM was founded and established in 1992 by Roland G. Murphy, and today is widely regarded as the finest watch brand in The United States. Murphy began crafting in-house movements with Caliber 801 in 2007, becoming the first American watchmaker to do so in decades. Recently, RGM devoted a year of research and development to produce a skeletonized version of this movement, which animates this very rare timepiece. Ownership of one would put you in rare company, as only about 70 Caliber 801 watches are made annually, meaning the number allocated for skeletonization is even smaller. RGM offers the model in either stainless steel or in 18k rose gold.

One of the signature design characteristics of a classic dress watch is thinness. Most of the watches on this list have thicknesses between 7 and 10 millimeters allowing them to easily slide under a cuff. The Piaget Altiplano takes thinness to the extreme with its 6.4mm case height and with the wafer-thin 2.1mm 430P movement inside, giving it the distinction as one of the thinnest mechanical watches in production today. Impressively, the Altiplano gets 43 hours of power reserve from the single-barrel mainspring, powered only by hand winding.

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The Apple Watch Series 8 is a big leap forward for the flagship smartwatch. It not only features an updated S8 chip but also two new sensors to detect falls and car accidents. This allows you to use the watch to contact emergency services and emergency contacts when you can't reach your phone or the OnStar button in your car.

The case is made of 100% recycled aerospace-grade alloy, giving the watch face plenty of strength to handle everyday wear and tear as well as the occasional accident. The glass watch face is also designed to be tough, using Apple's Ion-X glass to protect against scratches and cracks while still providing great usability.

Another new feature for the Series 8 is the ability to use SOS calling and messaging even when a cellular network is out of range. The updated SOS feature allows the watch to connect to satellites in order to contact emergency services and contacts in case of a fall, crash, or medical emergency. And the battery has been updated as well, giving you up to 36 hours of use with the new battery-saver mode.

The Apple Watch Ultra is a totally new iteration of the smartwatch, designed from the ground up to handle the toughest outdoor challenges you can find. The case is made of aerospace-grade titanium with a sapphire crystal face for extra durability to handle everything from everyday wear and tear to extreme weather conditions.

The watch is rated for water resistance up to 100 meters (328 feet) and scuba diving up to 40 meters (131 feet), making it a great choice for divers, snorkeling enthusiasts, and competitive swimmers. And with MIL-STD-810H durability, the Apple Watch Ultra is able to handle temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) and as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius), as well as shocks, sustained vibrations, and high altitudes.

The Apple Watch SE is the brand's more budget-friendly version of the smartwatch, offering a simpler and more streamlined device for users who just want to track workouts or stay on top of their call and text notifications. The SE also sports Apple's updated sensors for crash and fall detection, allowing you to call for help if you can't reach your phone or OnStar button in your car.

If you're really looking to splurge on a designer smartwatch, the Apple Watch Hermès is a chic option for fashionistas. The watch itself is an Apple Watch Series 8, but you'll get exclusive Hermès watchfaces and different case etchings.

On top of the standard smartwatch features (like sending/receiving messages and tracking your steps), the Series 7 also lets you measure your blood oxygen, take an ECG, and analyze your sleep -- which is a huge bonus if you're health-conscious. It's also dust-, water-, and crack-resistant, so you can feel comfortable taking it on even the hardest workouts.

The Series 7 comes in aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel finishes, with colors like green, blue, graphite, silver, and gold. It's also available in the special-edition Apple Watch Nike and Apple Watch Hermès collections. Depending on how you'd like to use your watch (and your budget), you can choose from either GPS or GPS + Cellular connectivity, but be aware you'll pay $100 more for the latter option.

A ruggedized Apple Watch for extreme outdoor conditions. With its durable casing and shatter-resistant screen, the Apple Watch Ultra is the perfect choice for adventurous people who want a reliable and sturdy smartwatch.

A fashion-forward Apple Watch splurge. This version of the Apple Watch is a collaboration with the French luxury brand, offering premium materials and exclusive watch faces for those looking to make a statement with their timepiece. 041b061a72


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