One of the nicest features of the Apple Watch is that it encourages you to be more active, and then assists with your workout. There are lots of bands available for the Apple Watch, made by Apple and an increasing number of third parties, but one of the best is the Sport Band sold by Apple — a perfect band for working out because it can get wet. It is also the least expensive band sold by Apple ($49), it comes in lots of colors, and it feels great. That's why I encourage everyone who buys an Apple Watch (even it isn't the Apple Watch Sport model) to select a Sport Band as the band that comes with the watch; it is a band that you are going to want to have anyway. You might also buy a fancier band to wear during the day, but by making that a separate purchase, you can more easily return it if you try it out and decide that you don't like it.
I purchased a Sport Band at the time that I purchased an Apple Watch, when they first went on sale on April 10, and at that time there was only one Sport Band size that you could buy. The Sport Band came with one side that attaches to the top of the watch, and two sides that attach to the bottom of the watch: a S/M band made for wrists 140-185mm and a M/L band made for wrists 160-210mm.
There is actually only a 40mm difference between the first and last hole on a Sport Band. Because Apple assigns a 45mm range on the S/M band and a 50MM range on the M/L band, Apple must be accounting for the fact that both parts of the Sport Band can stretch, especially the part that attaches to the top of the Apple Watch.
I have what I suppose is a larger wrist. Using a measuring tape from my wife's sewing kit, I measure it right at 210mm, which is Apple's largest recommended size for the M/L band. And sure enough, when I wore that band, I always used the last hole. It was comfortable without feeling too tight, but it did bother me that there was only a small portion of the band that remained to tuck into the slot on the part of the band that attaches to the top of the Apple Watch. You want the band to tuck into that slot for the band to remain closed; without being in the slot, there is a risk that the two bands could separate. I never had my Apple Watch fall off of my wrist because it came untucked, but I was afraid that it might happen one day because I have noticed occasions on which it became untucked.
And apparently this is not just a theoretical concern. Roman Loyola, an editor at Macworld, had been using the last hole on his M/L band just like I did and, as his tells the tale, one day discovered that his Apple Watch wasn't on his wrist. After retracing his steps and using his iPhone to make his Apple Watch make a sound, he ultimately found it in his garage next to his compost bin. Apparently, the end of his M/L band came untucked, and somehow the two bands came apart — perhaps the band caught on the side of the compost bin or something else in the garage? — and the Apple Watch fell off of his wrist.
Fortunately, the M/L band is no longer the largest Sport Band. On August 14th, Apple started selling a version of the Sport Band that included both a M/L and a new L/XL band. The L/XL band fits wrists 195 to 245mm. (Note that if you use the smaller 38mm version of the Apple Watch, there is currently no L/XL band, so the largest size is a M/L band for wrist sizes up to 200mm. However, if your wrist is 200mm or more, you would probably be happier with the larger 42mm version of the Apple Watch anyway.)
Roman Loyola concluded his Macworld article by saying that his frightening experience led him to purchase the L/XL band soon after it went on sale. Almost a month ago, I decided to do so as well.
Here is that same picture again, but I used Photoshop to lighten the shadows substantially so that you can see how much longer the inner band goes on the L/XL band:
Note that you do make a color sacrifice when you opt for the larger band. The S/M and M/L sizes of the Sport Band now come in 15 colors: black, walnut, stone, antique white, blue, fog, turquoise, white, midnight blue, vintage rose, lavender, green, pink, orange or red. There are actually 16 color models because you can get the black band with either a regular steel pin or a black steel pin (perfect for the darker models of the Apple Watch).
The new L/XL band doesn't currently come with all of those color options. Your choices are black (with a regular steel pin) or white. Which reminds me of a quote from Henry Ford, who wrote in his autobiography when describing the Model T: "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black."
Although I enjoyed spending six months with the blue model of the Sport Band, I also like the black one, so even with the limited choice I still got a color that Henry Ford and I both like. More importantly, the L/XL gives me the additional length that makes a big difference. No longer do I need to use the last hole on the M/L band with only about 15mm of band remaining to tuck into the slot. With the L/XL band, I can use the second of the seven holes and the last 50mm of the band can tuck into the slot. With that extra length in the slot, the band is far more secure, and I cannot imagine my Apple Watch ever accidentally coming off of my wrist.
As a nice side benefit, as much as I liked the feel of the Sport Band on my wrist when I used the M/L band, it actually feels even better when I use the longer L/XL band. I guess the additional 35mm of length, with the end of the band reaching almost to the beginning of the other part of the band, just makes it feel slightly better against my wrist.
I typically wear the Milanese Loop band during the day, but every night I switch to the Sport Band, both so that I have a waterproof band during bathtime with my kids, and also so that I have it on when I use a treadmill at night. After wearing the L/XL Sport Band every day for several weeks, I can't imagine that I will ever go back to the M/L band. The L/XL band is clearly the best size for my wrist.
If your wrist is larger and you are in the market for an Apple Watch, I strongly encourage you to consider the M/L and L/XL combination, even though it limits your color choices. And if you are already using the last hole, or maybe even the second-to-last hole, on the M/L band — perhaps because it was the largest size available when you bought your band — consider spending the $50 for the new larger size of the band. I'm certainly glad that I did.
There's only one thing that gives me pause, and you can do the math yourself if you read my August review of three other watch bands: I need to come to terms with the fact that I now own four different watch bands. There has never before been a time in my life when I owned more than two watches at a time, and I certainly never before had multiple bands for each watch. So if any of you catch me on Amazon buying the Alpha-x 7 Color Watch Replacement Bands, which comes with seven different bands so you have a new color for each day of the week, it will be time to get me admitted to a 12-step program.