Review and Report: Apple Watch Hermès and Apple Watch Series 2

A selection of Hermès' Apple Watches

By Jonathan Spira on 9 August 2017
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As someone who stayed up until 3 a.m. the first day the original Apple Watch went on sale and who has faithfully worn it to the neglect of some very fine watches since April 2015, I have always been curious about the Apple Watch Hermès.

While the watch itself is the same, the Apple Watch Hermès comes with exquisite handmade leather bands and a special Hermès watch face that isn’t available on the standard Apple Watch unless you jailbreak it.

Apple and Hermès introduced the Apple Watch Hermès in September 2015, six months after the original Apple Watch first shipped. It was a notable partnership that brought together Apple’s advanced technology and Hermès’ classic leatherwork. When Apple unveiled the second generation of the Apple Watch, the Series 2, a corresponding Apple Hermès Watch was unveiled concurrently.

Apple Watch Series 2 in stainless steel with faux Hermès cuff band

Apple Watch Series 2 in stainless steel with faux Hermès cuff band

The new Apple Watch Hermès is a standard stainless steel Apple Watch Series 2 with Hermès branding on the back. It is sold with distinct Hermès bands in the box, and has a unique Hermès watch face that is customizable to resemble different Hermès watch styles, including Clipper, Cape Cod, and Espace.

The Apple Watch Series 2 uses a new, dual-core Apple S2 processor with built-in GPS and it’s 50% faster than the original Apple Watch providing double the performance for on-screen graphics. The built-in GPS means it can track your route even in the absence of your iPhone. It’s slightly thicker than the original, something many watch enthusiasts will appreciate, and uses the same fittings for bands as the original.

It’s water-resistant to 164’ or 50 meters, which means you can take it swimming or in the shower but Apple says that scuba diving with it is not recommended. It will however expel any water that ends up in the watch’s speaker with the tap of an icon. The display is twice as bright, making it easier to see when outside on a sunny day.

Having had the original watch for 28 months, I started thinking about an upgrade and naturally thought the Hermès model would be perfect. For the past year or so, I’ve been using a cuff strap from Black Forest Atelier that strongly resembles the Hermès Barenia Cuff Fauve. On a somewhat overcast Saturday afternoon, I headed over to the Hermès store on Madison Avenue in Manhattan and met with Alexi, one of the store’s Apple Watch experts.

He complimented me on already having the Hermès cuff band and seemed quite surprised when I told him it was a knockoff. We then proceeded to look at the vast array of bands that Hermès offers for the watch and I selected the single tour deployment model in Fauve Barenia leather. But I had a few questions, specifically about the Hermès watch face. I knew it had a limited number of complications (one, to be exact) and I knew one of the options was a world clock. The question I had was how to change the city name that would appear in the complication with the time. For example, in my current Apple Watch, I have five complications – namely one world clock set to Vienna, sunrise and sunset, power reserve, current temperature where I am, and the date.

I did like the Hermès watch face but we soon discovered that each time zone had only one city that could be listed. For Central Europe, it was Paris. While the City of Lights is beautiful, it was not what I wanted to be reminded of on a regular basis so I took this as a sign. After all, the same watch minus the Hermès strap and custom watch face was available for less than half the price and I already had the cuff band. A few taps on the Apple Store app and a brand new Apple Watch Series 2 was waiting for me at the Apple Store at Grand Central Terminal.

We’ll take an in-depth look at the Series 2 as well as what Apple is planning with the next version of its watchOS operating system in an upcoming feature, but my initial tests showed that the Series 2 was indeed faster, brighter, has better battery life, and, thanks to the GPS chip, is even more useful than the original model.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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