Little Known Apple Watch Watchfaces

Recently, Marco Arment posted about the inconsistencies/oddities of Apple Watch watchfaces. For those that didn’t read that commentary, the crux of his position was that the Apple Watch all but ignores long-held horological standards that make reading the time on an analog watchface more simple. Marco’s asssessment was one that I would have not been able to put into words but admittedly agreed with wholeheartedly. Shortly before that post, I puchased an Apple Watch Series 3 Nike+ to replace my aging Series 0 Stainless Steel. The reason I am providing so much additional information about all this is the differences I noted between a standard” Apple Watch and the Nike+ models. In particular, the additional watchfaces that come with the Nike+ model watches.

As I started to do more research on this topic, I noted just how little has been written about Apple Watch watchfaces in general, aside from the annual diatribes from Apple Watch developers about the desire to create third-party watchfaces. In fact, in order to see a full list of watchface options, I had to visit the Apple Watch User Guide given the fact that there is very little information even within Apple’s main support pages. Note also that the Apple Watch User Guide does not include any information about Nike+ nor Hermès series watchfaces.

Standard Watchfaces

Based on the information in the Apple Watch User Guide, there are twenty-six different watchfaces available to an Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) with one of those disallowed on non-cellular models (Explorer) and two additional ones not available on Series 3 and earlier (Infograph and Infograph Digital). All of the watchfaces have various Customizable features” and Available complications” listed in full in the guide. The above screenshots are the standards for promotional materials that are available on all Apple Watches and the below screenshot are the three that are exclusive based on hardware.

Exclusive Watchfaces

For Nike+ models, there are two additional options (Nike+ Analog and Nike+ Digital, pictured below) that provide a standard (read: unchangeable) swoosh icon/complication for quick access to the Nike+ Run Club app. I have used both of these faces now and really like both even though I am not an avid runner. The analog version in particular changes the commentary from Marco (“If you want analog time with numerals, Utility is the only good option.”) to include this secondary option. Aside from the fact that you cannot show the date within the dial, the Nike+ Analog watchface is worth a look if you have access. I should also mention at this point that the Nike+ version has access to non-standard color options, including Nike’s Volt green, as does the Hermès version have access to Hermès orange.

Nike+ Watchfaces

For Hermès models, there is one additional option named simply Hermès. However, the one additional option” comment belies the sheer amount of customization that can be done to the Hermès watchface. Amongst the available customizable features” to use Apple’s parlance, the Hermès watchface has the ability to change the color/style, typeface (which includes three options plus a roman numeral option), and dial layout (which simply means all numbers, four numbers, or only the 12 index). In addition, this watchface has room for a single complication inside the dial that is limited to Date, Stopwatch, or World Clock. To be frank, though out of my price range, the Hermès Apple Watch seems worth it to someone who cares about numerical indices as much as Marco does, plus this/these watchface(s) is/are gorgeous.

The craziest thing about the Hermès watchfaces are just how little documentation there is about them at all. I had difficulty finding any screenshots of the watchfaces, let alone ones like those documented above for the standard styles. The screenshots you see below are stitched together from Apple’s own Hermès page and does not show all options available. The only reason I know what options are available is because of a jailbreak option that is well-documented for unlocking” these extra watchfaces on standard models and an unboxing video I found that actually did a good job enumerating the options.

Hermès Watchfaces

This post is really only an attempt to get something on the web that people can look at to gain a better understanding of the options on the Apple Watch. I was not and am not making any assessments on the value of the above-listed options nor the expectation that this is by any means a complete walkthrough. I also have only had a few days at this point with anything other than a Series 0 Stainless Steel watch, so this was/is not meant to be a review of the new features or even the watchfaces I see in my new Apple Watch Series 3 Nike+.

All that being said, I still agree with Marco’s assessment about the current state of Apple Watch watchfaces; I personally have a carefully curated group of analog and digital watchfaces that I use on a daily basis, but I am not wholly satisfied with them. As I get used to the power and speed of a modern Apple Watch, I will likely write more about watchfaces and my preferred usage scenarios. Thanks for reading.


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The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.