Since the release of the first Apple Watch in the Spring of 2015, the Silicon Valley powerhouse has steadily refined its digital timepiece, introducing a growing number of onboard sensors and injecting the modern smartwatch with an ever-growing number of features and functions. And though the Apple Watch already offers an immense amount of utility right out of the box, when it’s equipped with the right add-ons, it’s capable of lending itself to an even wider range of uses and applications, from surfing to motorcycle riding.
With the benefit of a half-decade for third-party manufacturers to develop and produce various upgrades and offerings for the Apple Watch, the cutting-edge smartwatch now boasts an enormous array of cases, chargers, bands, and other items made specifically for the Apple-branded product. From bracelets that add style points to ruggedized protective cases that transform the watch into a bonafide piece of mil-spec hardware, below we’ll be counting down our picks for the best Apple Watch accessories.
The Ultimate Tech Timepiece
Upgrading Your Apple Watch
There’s no denying that the Apple Watch is a cutting-edge piece of gear, it was primarily developed for what we’d describe as a fairly uneventful day-to-day existence. It offers an enormous amount of convenience and manages to cram an impressive amount of tech into such a compact package, however it wasn’t designed to withstand much abuse. This is particularly unfortunate considering one of the Apple Watch’s main selling points is its ability to temporarily replace your smartphone, allowing you to stay connected to your GPS directions, music playback control, calls, and texts, without having to carry a phone on your persons.
Because of this, a myriad of aftermarket companies has produced an array of different protective cases for the Apple Watch, engineered specifically to house the Apple gadget and fortify it from impacts or the elements. Likewise, there are also dozens of bracelets and bands that are designed to stand up to more abusive situations than your average daily commute entails.
While the customizable face does allow for some personalization options, as a whole the stock Apple Watch doesn’t offer much in the way of self-expression. The bands offered by Apple doesn’t do much to help this situation either. Luckily, regardless of your personal style preferences, there’s no shortage of attractive aftermarket bands available through third-party manufacturers, from rugged military-style NATO bands to elegant metal H-link bracelets.
Lastly, there are also Apple Watch accessories designed to make ownership easier or more convenient, through the use of more mobile-friendly charging devices, organized storage and transportation solutions, and so on. No matter your routine, there’s almost certainly an Apple Watch accessory that lends itself to your lifestyle.
Getting The Most From Your Accessories
What To Look For When Shopping For Apple Watch Accessories
Now that you have a decent understanding of why you should consider upgrading your Apple Watch and a few of the different types of accessories that are currently available, let’s explore some of the finer points to consider when in the market for Apple Watch accessories.
Material: Whether it’s a band or a protective outer case, an accessory’s durability and ability to protect the watch will largely boil down to the type of construction used. Considering these cases are literally protecting your investment—of at least $400 for the latest Series 6 generation—it’s well worth paying attention to the material(s) used. Manufacturers that use quality materials will very seldom fail to advertise or mention that in an item’s description.
Protection: This is a fairly important area, as it pertains to the level of protection afforded by an Apple Watch case. This can be in regards to water or weatherproofing, as well as drops and impacts. And while it isn’t too difficult to find a case that affords robust protection, you want one that still allows for complete functionality and one that doesn’t provide protection at the cost of being unreasonably bulky or cumbersome.
Utility: In addition to the possible applications afforded by a better-protected Apple Watch, some accessories are able to allow for even more functionality. This can be turning a laptop or tablet—or even a keychain–into a charging station, or providing a means of organizing charging cables, bands, and other smartwatch peripherals.
Style: The Apple Watch has a fairly simple and understated aesthetic designed to blend in more than it was to turn heads. By opting for a new bracelet or case from a third-party company you can more make the watch your own, adding your own personal stylistic touches through your choice of material, color, buckle, finish, and so on.
Manufacturer: It can be extremely difficult to get a sense of fit and finish and overall quality merely through photos and an online description. This is especially important when dealing with leather items and other accessories where attention to detail and craftsmanship hugely affects the end product. So, while it usually does come at a bit of a financial premium, opting to go with a more reputable high-end brand, is usually a great way to ensure you’re getting a quality, well-made product.
Penom Case for Apple Watch Screen
This rugged little case tightly hugs the body of the Apple Watch, providing robust protection without mitigating functionality. The ultra-thin clear case is constructed from a lightweight yet hardwearing thermoplastic polyurethane that’s resistant to corrosion, scratches, and impacts. In addition to being produced in 40mm and 44mm sizes, this case is also offered in five different color options. What’s more, Penom stands behind this case with an “unconditional 12-month warranty.”
Wearlizer Silver Compatible with Apple Watch Adapters
Sometimes the most simple and straight forward accessory designs are also the most useful, case in point this affordable little add-on from Wearlizer. This item acts as an adapter for the Apple Watch—converting from 38mm to 40mm or from 42mm to 44mm—allowing it to accept larger bands, thereby opening up the door to near-endless band and bracelet possibilities. Sold in rose gold, silver, or gray, this product is made from stainless steel, is compatible with all quick-release Apple Watch straps, and is secured via an easy-to-use spring-loaded button configuration.
OtterBox Exo Edge Case
As one of the aftermarket brands most frequently recommended (and sold) directly by Apple, it’s hard to go wrong with almost anything made by OtterBox, and the Fort Collins company’s Exo Edge Case for the Apple Watch is far from an exception. Offered in seven colors and compatible with stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium housings, this premium case sports a solid raised-bezel design with smooth bumpers that protect the smartwatch’s display. Furthermore, the design of the case itself was also penned to complement the design language of the Apple Watch.
DSPTCH Apple Fidlock Watch Strap
Undoubtedly one of the coolest Apple Watch accessories currently on the market, this strap bestows the smartwatch with a more tactical band and buckle setup. Replacing the standard strap is a 3/4″ herringbone nylon webbing item that’s now secured via a quick-releasing, magnetic Fidlock Hook 20 Flat Buckle. Furthering the military-inspired feel of this item is the array of mil-spec colors the band is offered in, including coyote, OD green, multi-camo, and safety orange, just to name a few.
NOMAD Apple Watch Stand
A top-shelf Apple Watch charger inspired by modern sculptures and architecture, this NOMAD offering is entirely precision-machined from aircraft-grade aluminum billet and is built atop a stainless steel weighted base with a grippy rubber footing. An anodized space gray finish also adds extra durability as well as a dose of style. And, despite the premium construction and the high-end brand behind the product, this wireless charging stand is priced at a very reasonable $40.
Satechi USB-C Magnetic Charging Dock
For as widely adopted and ubiquitous as the Apple Watch has become, finding somewhere to charge the smartwatch when you’re away from your home or office can be tricky. Rather than schlepping around charging cables, Satechi has introduced a clever charging solution that transforms any laptop or mobile device with a USB-C port into a 5W Qi charger for the Apple Watch. Incredibly pocketable at just 1.73” x 2.0” x 0.45”, this micro-charger is MFi-certified, boasts a magnetic charging module, and sports an aluminum finish.
Twelve South TimePorter
Dreamed up as the ultimate all-in-one Apple Watch organizer and mobile charging station, Twelve South’s TimePorter consists of a leather-bound, alloy-hinged, sunglass-style hard case containing a bevy of silicone spools, dividers, and organizers for neatly storing cables, watch bands, and chargers. The TimePorter can also internally hold an Apple Watch charger in place, which allows one of the said watches to receive a wireless charge when wrapped around the case. Best of all, this item weighs less than 5.5oz (or 0.28lbs to be exact), making it ideal for traveling and commuting alike.
Native Union Active Strap Leather Edition
Instead of regularly swapping out the band on your Apple Watch to suit various situations, Native Union came up with the concept of an elegant yet rugged strap that can truly do it all, aesthetically fitting in just about anywhere and capable of standing up to all kinds of abuse. The outside is made from genuine leather sourced from France that’s been treated with a water-resistant coating before being mated to an advanced sweatproof and hypoallergenic fluoroelastomer layer that was developed in Switzerland.
UAG Active Watch Strap
A simple Velcro-secured NATO-style band backed by the durability and dependability that Urban Armor Gear is known for, the aptly-named Active Watch Strap was designed to cater to active outdoor lifestyles, with a hook and loop fastener, highly water-resistant high-strength nylon weave band, and custom stainless steel hardware. Designed for Apple Watches Series 1 through 5, the watch also gets a one year warranty, wireless payment compatibility, and is produced in orange, black, or urban camo,
Grovemade Apple Watch Dock
Designed, manufactured, and assembled in its entirety in Portland, Oregon, Grovemade’s Apple Watch Dock is a handsome yet understated nightstand or desktop accessory largely characterized by its minimalistic design and premium materials. The charger is built on a brushed stainless steel base topped off with a natural cork charging pad that’s been darkened with Sumi ink. Measuring 4” in diameter and standing at 0.75”, this charging dock can fully replenish the battery of an Apple Watch in as little as 2.5 hours.
Catalyst Waterproof Apple Watch Case
While it’s admittedly a tad bulkier than some of the other cases on this list, you’d be hard-pressed to find a case affording more robust levels of protection than this item from Catalyst. Comprised of a lightweight silicone band paired with an ultra-rugged polycarbonate case, this ridiculously-hardwearing item is 100% scratch-proof, meets the MIL-STD-810G standard, is IP68-rated, can be submerged to depths of 330’, and is rated to survive drops from as high as 6.6’ This product also sports a fully-functional through-case and a rotating crown dial.
Apple Watch Pocket Watch Hammered
Pairing classic dapper style with modern-day technology, this top-shelf item from Bucardo turns your standard Apple Watch into a timeless-looking pocket watch. This smart pocket watch case boasts a cover with a hammered finish and comes on a matching 15” detachable chain that also allows it to double as a locket. Constructed from high-grade stainless steel, this contemporary pocket watch is also available in a gold finish. It is important to note that this item is only compatible with the first three generations of the Apple Watch.
Native Union White Marble Dock
Juice up your Apple Watch while simultaneously making a statement with this beautifully-crafted marble charging dock from Native Union. Constructed from an amalgamation of genuine marble and aircraft-grade aluminum, this weighted dock features a rotating arm with an adjustable angle depending on where the watch’s display is being viewed from. Compatible with every generation of the Apple Watch, the actual charging location also boasts an internal magnetic for more reliable wireless coupling.
Griffin Travel Power Bank Backup Battery
For those looking for an ultra-compact means of juicing up their Apple Watch on the go, you really can’t do much better than Griffin’s Travel Power Bank Backup Battery. Equipped with a potent 1,050mAh battery—enough to fully replenish an Apple Watch’s battery multiple times over—this MFi-certified charger features an LED battery level indicator light and an integrated magnetic charging surface. And, because this power bank can be recharged via any USB port, finding somewhere to charge it is a breeze.
NOMAD Titanium Band
An understated yet thoroughly top-shelf classic metal band constructed from genuine high-grade titanium, NOMAD’s Titanium Band is a lightweight, yet highly durable and corrosion-resistant bracelet that is compatible with every generation of the Apple Watch. Also offered in an all-black variant, this band features 20 titanium links—which can be removed or adjusted via the included tool sold with this item—and buckles with custom stainless steel lugs. The use of titanium for the clasp also allows it to be incredibly thin without being prone to bending under stress.
The 12 Best Apple Wireless Chargers
With your Apple Watch situation all sorted, be sure to consider upgrading your charging arrangement for your watch, as well as the rest of your gadgets from the Cupertino company with one of the many stellar models from our guide to the best Apple wireless chargers.
HiConsumption is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more