Comparing the three generations of Apple’s Classic Buckle Watch Band

Last week I dropped by the Apple Watch Sub-Reddit and came across a post that some Apple Watch users are interested in knowing the difference between the second and third generation Classic Buckle and users comments on the leather quality.


Since I am a big fan of the Classic Buckle Apple Watch Bands as I wear the 38mm size, and personally own the first and second generations Classic Buckle watch bands since my first Apple Watch, and I recently got the third generation with the new Sea Blue color for my Stainless Steel Apple Watch Series 2 that I showed off on my Instagram, I think I am able to share something about them. Despite that it is not the Saddle Brown that Redditor knuche was actually looking for, I am still wanting to share with you guys on the differences across the three generation Classic Buckles.

So let’s walk it through.

The design and leather

Apple has been iterating the designs of the Classic Buckle on every single launch of new Apple Watch line ups.

Apple Classic Buckle 09.JPG

Facing up, the first generation Classic Buckle (the top one) is more simple in design, a fine piece of genuine calf leather. The second generation (the middle one) was updated with “a new calf leather that ages naturally over time to acquire a beautiful patina”, interior lining and filleted edge. The latest generation (the bottom blue one) also comes with nice piece of calf leather but added color-matched edge stitching that “provides a subtle complement“, according to Apple.


There is subtle difference on the texture of the Classic Buckles as far as I could feel when using it. They are getting more comfortable to touch on with newer generations.

Apple Classic Buckle 13.JPG

Turning to the backside, the major difference between the first and second generations is the two-tone design, with another layer of Saddle Brown calf leather which is more comfortable to wear. There is also a lining on this side of the second generation Classic Buckle. The third generation added a color matching stitch – the upper side is blue stitching but the back is brown – which is subtle but super nice design here. And you may also notice that the finish and texture of the third generation has a better match with the upper side instead of a smoother finish as the second generation.


Near the adapter you will find the “Natural Leather” engraving for the second and third generation Class Buckles. However, it is more clear on the third generation comparing with the second generation.


The dimensions

On the shorter side of the band, the three generations are of the same width and length.


On the longer side, the second and third generation shared the same length and they are approximately 1mm longer than the first generation due to its design change at the tail of the band in a rounded shape. However, they share the same width.


In terms of thickness, the three bands are basically the same despite of changes on design and slight difference on the finish at the edge.


The buckles and adapters

The adapters are exactly the same across the three generations, with the same material used – Stainless Steel, design and finish.

Apple Classic Buckle 05.JPG

The size and location of the screws and the engrave of “Assembled in China” are exactly the same as well.

Apple Classic Buckle 04.JPG

The buckles are also identical in terms of material, design and finish.


So does the above information help you understand better about the Classic Buckle and make a good decision before buying? Which one do you like the most? Let me know in the comments and be sure to check out my other Apple Watch band reviews.

Edit: The “Marine Blue” vs “Ocean Blue” Third Gen. Obviously it is not the latest Ocean Blue as the color is old but the design is new and is exactly the same as the Ocean Blue. This does not affect the review and comparison here. Below is a quick snapshot comparing both bands.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark says:

    Hi, thanks for the great blog. can you recommend a place where I can buy a very high quality black classic buckle 42 mm ?


    1. Stephen Chan says:

      Most available outside of China is not desirable honestly speaking as far as I tried. I suggest you may go for some popular brands for similar (not exact design as the Apple’ classic buckle) will be a wiser and safer choice


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