In fact, some quick research suggests that multiple Swiss watchmakers had engineered quick-change watch straps before Apple... but you can definitely credit Apple for bringing it to the everyday consumer. I found an article[0] that predates the first Apple watch which mentions Hublot, Panerai and Cartier as innovators here.

In fact, one of the coolest things about the Cartier Santos is not only the quick-release system that frees the band from the watch but the hidden buttons that also allow you to resize the steel bracelet itself[1]! (Video shows a 2018 Santos, but nevertheless)

Regardless of who got it right first, I do hope that Apple's watch strap system becomes more ubiquitous in the watch world. Oftentimes watches are over-engineered for their 99% use case of casual wear in order to fulfill some fantasy of diving in the Caribbean or scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro, and so therefore many are screwed or fastened in some way that makes adjusting them a pain without tiny little tools and a clean surface.



I have a whole boatload of straps -almost none, Apple straps.

You can buy all kinds of knockoff (and surprisingly high-quality) straps on Amazon, for $50 or less (many of mine were about $15).

Apple, on the other hand, charges eye-watering prices for fairly basic straps.

All that said, the last few years, I've just been getting the stainless steel variants of the Watch (I currently have an 8), and use a metal band that I got for about $25[0].

The Apple version of a similar band is ... slightly more expensive [1].



>“Most watch users don’t know how to change the strap and I bet pre-Apple Watch, many didn’t realize that was an option

I get it, they got bands and ecosystem and everything, but making it sound like no one swapped bands pre apple is a stretch

The article goes to great lengths to describe the difficulties in manufacturing and assembling the mechanism in the band itself but then also mentions that there a large ecosystem of third-party bands available. How do all those get made? Does every manufacturer have to use the same high-precision machines?
It's a shame a technology publication can't invest in someone to create a visualization of the mechanism in action. Words are a poor way to describe what is happening.
The stainless link bands are amazing too. I wondered why the Swiss hadn’t made resizing the band so easy. Then I realized that being forced to go to a jewelers/watch shop is a feature for them.
I've been hanging on to my original band from when I bought my Series 7 watch, partly because I'm not sure I trust amazon bands that seem to cost a fraction of the price of the OEM bands. If they fail, I'll get a ding on the watch at best or a broken screen at worst. This did make me trust the off-brand bands a little more, since they seem to require a better mechanism that my previous swappable-band watch had.
Proprietary? Fitbits have had these buttons since forever. And my Samsung has something similar, but in the pins, but just as easy to manipulate. This isn't an Apple thing, lol.
Surprised there isn’t a MFI program for 3rd party Apple Watch bands that provides the connectors only. (At some inflated unit price of course)

Or maybe 3rd party bands are only viable in the low cost side of the market, and apple just owns the high side.

I find these descriptions incomprehensible. Its like explanations written for ppl who already know the thing. Some labelled images or videos or before/after comparisons might help.
Ironically enough, I've picked up some adapters so I can use regular watch bands with my Apple Watch. There are just more options (that I like) using regular watch bands, and most decent (i.e. >= $20) watch bands now use quick release spring bars, making them stupidly simple to change (and not lose said bars).
> Most watch users don’t know how to change the strap and I bet pre-Apple Watch, many didn’t realize that was an option

Hmmm... what's this little springy thing on my Garmin watch? Oh! check that out! I can replace the bands!

Apple makes cool stuff, I even have some of it, but stop suckin' their butts.

> Most watch users don’t know how to change the strap and I bet pre-Apple Watch, many didn’t realize that was an option.

Although Apple has a history of simplifying and popularising various things, I thinks it's a bit of an overstatement. Could it be that people were influenced by marketing and "fashionable" image of various bands that they began collecting and switching them as desired?

For me at least, a few of my older watches and smartwatches had an option to change bands, though I never used them. With my first and current AW 7 I only used this "feature" to first change the default band and after that only recently once my previous one got worn out.

Anyone else noticed that looking at the top of your wrist for a prolonged time is difficult because the joints that turn the wrist are near an extreme point?

I think a more natural orientation of the screen is slightly more down on the wrist.

> “The number of people who lived in the factory getting these machines up and running, 24/7 sleeping bags on the floor, is not zero. People’s whole lives to get that one slot perfect.”

Why do companies brag about this sort of thing? That's not something to be proud of. Hell, in my state, that would be a workplace violation (one mandatory day of rest every 7 days, and I believe mandatory minimum rest between shifts, 10 hours I think?)

That 24/7 nonsense with sleeping bags on the floor wasn't to get that one slot was to get the slot perfect on an unrealistic schedule set by management.

Is there an animation of this in action, I don't think I'm getting a real understanding of whats happening from just the text and pictures.
Except for a few "dress" watches I've switched all others to nato-style. One of his arguments is it's "easier". I don't know, nato-style is pretty much idiot proof.

I do have a "pin" tool which makes it easy, but I'd rather buy a simple tool then buy into an expensive closed ecosystem.

Yeah this is pretty cool, when I first checked out my watch I was fascinated by how it worked, and I knew there was some mechanical trickery as it didn’t make sense if you just looked at it.
The complication sounds somewhat like a soft DRM for hardware: Requiring third parties to potentially have a looser fit etc if they can't get the mechanism right
Some of us watch enthusiasts enjoy the occasional challenge of swapping watch bands :)
I was today years old when I learned about these buttons...
These aren't buttons
Springbars with quick release are far easier to use and more compatible.

I've always thought that the apple design adds a LOT of size to the watch head with the way they intrude inside the case. If they didn't do that and had the standard horns/lugs that every other watch has the watch head could be smaller. Also occurs to me that might be a desired result though so they can have a bigger display.