The Apple Watch tries to please on every level - and generally it succeeds, especially in its newest Apple Watch Series 4 form. It's stylish, customizable, and packed with smart features, but there's only so much a timepiece can achieve on its own.
Thankfully, a range of quality products are available from Apple and third-party manufacturers that let you customize your Apple Watch experience even more (and they'll make perfect presents).
Whether you want to pimp your timepiece with a standout look or just protect it from damage, there's an accessory that will do the job, and we've collected seventeen of the most interesting choices out there.
The Apple Watch Series 4 is the first major design change for the company's wearable series, but most of the accessories below should be compatible as Apple has continued using the same straps and technology.
Looking for something more specific? We have a couple of dedicated guides that may suit you better.
To create this list, we've scoured the web for the things we're most impressed by, offering some cool features to enhance the power of your smart timepiece. We've ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing - however, some variation may occur over time.
1. Griffin Survivor Tactical Case
A sporty case that adds protection
Colors: Green, Blue, White, Black, Coral Fire
Griffin knows all about extreme phone defense, and the company recently transferred its protective case smarts over to the Apple Watch, with decent results.
The Survivor Tactical Case boasts a tough screen guard to keep your watch's display safe from scratches without compromising the display's touch responsiveness, and a molded TPE/polycarbonate body clips over the case to protect the Digital Crown from above, while remaining accessible from below.
2. Wearlizer Metal Watch Band Clasp
Lets you use normal straps with your Apple Watch
Colors: Silver, Gray
We knew it was inevitable, but Apple ditching standard watchbands for something much more proprietary is still a blow, especially to those of us who don't want to splash out on the stainless steel link bracelet Apple is selling just to inject some metal into our watch.
Thankfully, this Wearlizer adaptor exists. Slotting into the wearable, it lets you attach almost any regular watch strap you want.
3. J&D Tech Leather Strap for Apple Watch
An affordable leather band
Colors: Brown, Blue, Black, Pink Rose, Purple, Fuchsia, Mint
J&D Tech has been offering affordable Apple Watch bands since Apple's first model appeared on the scene, and this genuine leather strap with metal clasp adaptor is just one classy example.
Its elegant appearance and comfy, soft feel on the skin is gender-neutral too. The band includes spare screws and instructions, and is available in an assortment of shades. The perfect accessory for a smart evening out.
4. Nomad Pod for Apple Watch
A stylish way to boost your battery
Colors: Space Gray, Silver
External power packs are a must for the Apple Watch if you plan to use it heavily. This particular one is sleek, molded from aluminum and packs an 1800mAh battery. It looks like it could have come from one of Apple's own design studios.
It's a little 'DIY' though, as you have to use your own MagSafe charging cable, plug it into the battery and then wrap it around the interior to actually charge your Watch.
Still, being able to juice up the wearable a few times in our pocket sounds good to us.
5. Griffin WatchStand
One stand for two devices
Colors: Black, White
Griffin's WatchStand is a nightly home for the wearable and your iPhone. There's a lip on the front that'll prop up your smartphone, while a raised arm proudly hoists your Watch into full view.
You'll be able to attach the MagSafe charger, but it doesn't look like there's anywhere for the iPhone cable. Saying that, it is one of cheaper docking solutions for the Apple Watch, and while it's not constructed from metal the matte black plastic still looks good.
6. ZENS Apple Watch Powerbank
Keeps your Watch charged while you're on the move
Colors: White, Gray
Charging solutions don't come any simpler or smaller than this. Zens' minuscule Apple Watch power bank doesn't have a Lightning cable port - instead, it relies on an internal 1300mAh battery which is attached to an embedded inductive charger.
Four LEDs on the side indicate the battery's power level, and the cube packs three full charges before it needs to be plugged in for re-juicing via its micro USB port (although, irritatingly, adapter not included).
The Powerbank also supports Night Stand mode, making this a great all-round travel companion.
7. Twelve South HiRise
A classic stand made of metal
Colors: Black, Silver
This is a rehash of Twelve South's older HiRise stands for iPhone and iPad (both of which we're huge fans of), but made to keep your Apple Watch charged up and visible when it's not attached to your wrist.
Its aluminum body, available in either black or silver, is Apple-esque and the finish, especially the soft silicone coated edges that'll stop any scratches appearing when you lift up or set down the wearable, is certainly premium.
You'll need to provide your own MagSafe cable, so it's probably best to pick up a spare unless you want this to be your charging solution.
8. Studio Proper Watchkeeper
Keeps your watch charged and hidden
Colors: Black, Tan
Stand-based docks are great for showing off an Apple Watch, but if you're after more discretion then check out this leather-lined protective steel case from Studio Proper.
The watch lies flat inside in a soft EVA foam tray. Leather band owners may find this a fiddle at first - and Milanese loops need to be detached at the clasp - but once your watch is in, it's protected on top by more foam lining in the case lid.
The charging disc lies in a cut-out in the tray, while the cable runs discreetly underneath and out of a side port for connecting to a power source.
9. Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
A compact travel companion
Colors: Black, White
This neat-looking capsule works as both a case and a stand for your Apple Watch, and the fact that it can hold a charging cable, USB charger, and an extra watch band makes it a compact travel solution.
The charging disc slots into an integrated opening in the top of the case, which feeds power to your Apple Watch when it's draped over the front. The hinges are also stiff enough to keep the case open at an angle, allowing your watch to go into Nightstand mode as it charges.
10. Griffin Travel Power Bank Backup Battery
A very portable battery
Apple Watch batteries don't come much more portable than this. The Griffin Travel Power Bank is just about compact enough to tag along with your keys, but still packs an impressive amount of juice - up to two and a half full charges, in fact.
That kept our favorite timepiece ticking over for a whole week, without it ever going near a power outlet.
The portable battery can be charged using a spare USB port in your computer or any 5V USB charger, while an LED light indicates the charging status.
11. Moov HR Burn Sports Chest Strap
A more accurate way to track your heart rate
The fitness features of the Apple Watch are a big draw, especially for runners and swimmers, but like all smartwatches, the accuracy of the wrist-based heart rate monitor suffers during more complex exercises involving varied movement, such as high-intensity workouts.
The Moov HR Burn gets around this problem by recording your heart rate using chest-based sensors, where readings are more consistent. It also pairs with Apple Watch over Bluetooth, making your iPhone fitness data more accurate in the process.
12. Sena Leather Watch Case
Lets your Watch travel in style
Sena makes brilliant leather sleeves for iPhones, iPads and more. This is a neat travel case that protects the Watch when it's in your luggage. It also works as a charging stand.
It's compact and light, though there's a useful compartment in the base for the charging cord. This is handy when you're travelling, in case there's no convenient surface to rest the Watch on in your hotel room, say. It also means that you can leave the charging cable permanently connected.
The lid is magnetic, too, so you can be sure the Watch stays safely inside.
13. Native Union Marble Dock
A great-looking heavyweight dock
This minimalist dock comes in two parts: a heavy block base made of rubbery-soft matt graphite silicone, and a plastic/aluminum cylinder. The Apple Watch charging disk snaps into a molded cradle on the cylinder, which has an elliptical groove inside where the cable feeds through and runs out of the bottom from a discreet well.
With the charger in place, the cylinder slots magnetically into the reversible base, where it can be rotated freely.
Your Watch snaps onto it securely, buckled or not, while the base can be reversed and placed horizontally or vertically, depending on how you want to view and interact with the watch display. This thing was made for Nightstand mode.
14. Apple AirPods
Long-lasting, great-sounding earphones
The Apple Watch is capable of storing music that you can listen to when you don't have your phone with you - when you're running, for example. The smartwatch can be paired with pretty much any Bluetooth headset, but AirPods have some distinct advantages over the competition.
Apart from sounding great, the earbuds have a long 5-hour battery life, and come with a neat charging case that packs 24 hours of additional juice and a fast-charge feature that can provide an extra 2 hours of battery in 15 minutes. They also pair seamlessly with your iPhone, thanks to Apple's built-in W1 Bluetooth chip.
15. B&O Beoplay H5 Wireless Earphones
High-end earphones packed full of features
Colors: Black, Dusty Rose
If you like to keep track of your fitness activities using your Apple Watch but crave a little musical motivation on those long and lonely runs, then Bluetooth earphones are the way to go.
These premium buds by Bang & Olufsen sit at the high end of the wireless earphones market, but the H5's are brilliantly designed. The magnetized buds snap together around your neck and auto-power off when not in use, they sound excellent, and you can even take calls thanks to the built-in microphone.
They also come with a neat magnetized charging cube and plenty of spare ear tips for matching your comfort and size needs.
- Need more inspiration? Check out the best Apple Watch docking stations