The LTE Apple Watch and the red dot

Yesterday, we posted the Hodinkee review of the cellular Apple Watch, with some focus on the red dot placed on the edge of the Digital Crown.

To add to the discussion, this from Matthew Achariam’s Red Dot blog post:

We got an unknowing first glimpse at the latest design of the Apple Watch more than two years ago. No less, adorned on the wrist of Tim Cook was a stainless steel watch with a bright red crown cap.

This pic is a closeup from the original Reuters’ pic of Tim’s wrist from a few years ago:

Note the red dot. More from Matthew:

Leica’s brand is iconic due to their distinct red mark which it has used since 1913. It is instantly recognizable.


French fashion designer, Christian Louboutin, employs a similar technique, coating the soles of the shoes he creates in a bright glossy red.


In horology watchmakers use color as a tool to differentiate between editions and various releases constantly. Industrial designer and long time Ive collaborator, Marc Newson, has created several watches that Ive has drawn inspiration from for the Apple Watch. Newson’s Hemipode watch also features red caps, adorned on secondary buttons.


By nature, changing anything that touches so many people always elicits a reaction. If you want an LTE enabled Apple Watch, you’re getting a red crown cap—a decidedly non-neutral color is now the only option. In the past, you had some semblance of choice in getting a non-neutral color. This small red dot breaks the modular styling of the watch. For better or worse, the watch design team decided that this marker and what it represents was of greater importance.

A small thing, perhaps, but the red dot is an important, distinguishing design element.

  • William Reynish

    …It’s also a really bad idea. Apple Watch, as opposed to most other watches, are designed to be worn with many different bands and with many different faces in various bright colors. By adding such a bright red accent, Apple is severely limiting the combinations that will look acceptable with the new Watch. Anecdotally, I know several people who are holding out on the new Watch solely because the red dot doesn’t work for the straps they would like to use.

  • A small thing, perhaps, but the red dot is an important, distinguishing design element.

    No doubt, but shouldn’t it be optional like engraving?

    • SDR97

      You forgot to add “garish.” I’ve already ordered from and I expect many others will do the same.

      • edsug

        I’m pretty happy with my series 1, but if I had the series 3, watchdots would be my first stop.

      • Mo

        I’d opt for a decal, too. Glad there are at least a couple of sources out there, even if I’m not glad about the pricing.

  • arbitrary and non-neutral. hate it.

  • Billy Razzle

    Hate the red dot.

  • I don’t mind the red dot. I was just curious why it’s there. I think a lot of people let stupid things like this influence their purchasing decisions way too much! I think a sticker on the digital crown is more stupid than the red dot. It’s a waste of money, and the sticker will eventually start to fray and peel off. That will looks worse than the red dot. It’s the same as someone getting a bad tint job on their car. The tint looks good for a while, and then starts to bubble up and crack. It will be the same with the stickers.