Just a few weeks after the Apple Watch launched to the public on April 24, a handful of start-up websites have begun Apple Watch band exchange programs (via Wired). These sites allow customers a range of services, from the ability to trade in their unwanted band for money to go towards a higher-priced model, to swapping out full bands for different colors in the same style.
That's the basis of iBandSwap, a new band exchange website that creator Alistair Barclay says around 530 users have signed up for, with approximately 148 "matches", or band swaps, taking place so far. iBandSwap not only allows for full band trades, but partial ones as well, with Barclay mentioning Black/White and Pink/Blue are the first and second-most popular swap configurations on the site respectively.
Interestingly, the site also allows for swapping individual links from the stainless steel Link Bracelet watch band. One user, for example, found he needed more links than Apple provided due to his large wrist, so on iBandSwap he's attempting to put up some of his extraneous bands to receive extra links from someone using a Link Bracelet with a smaller wrist.
All of these interactions happen independently from any input with the actual website, with both parties receiving one another's contact information upon a successful match, and any shipping process remains delegated to the users. No money is exchanged in the process.
“It’s a small risk,” Barclay says, “and I like to think that most people who are buying a Watch are good people and have no interest in duping someone, as there isn’t really any money involved.”
iBandSwap isn't alone in its Apple Watch band-swapping cause, with sites like StrapSwap and the France-based Band-Band providing similar swap meets and basic e-commerce band selling services to customers tired of their original strap. All of these sites were faced with the initial hurdle that was Apple's confusing description over exactly how many bands came with Apple Watch Sport models, but iBandSwap, StrapSwap, and Band-Band have kept chugging along and remained nearly identical in structure as initially planned.
BandSwapper, however, has taken a different approach as its Apple Watch Sport-focused swap site was hit hardest of all by the three-band interchangeability confirmed by Apple in the days leading up to the Watch launch. According to the team, they always had a back-up idea for BandSwapper and have decided to pivot to that plan B entirely. It's now called WatchDots, and allows customers to place small stickers on the top of the Digital Crown and contacts buttons, aiming to provide lower-end Watch models with a similar look to the Edition line of color-matched buttons.
“On the high-end gold model, the digital crown is color-matched to your band,” explains co-founder Adam Hoyle. “The Sport doesn’t have this, it’s just all aluminum.” Pricing hasn’t been officially announced yet, but WatchDots will be under $10.
WatchDots hasn't officially launched yet, but those interested can enter their email address on the official website for updates and a 25% off promo code on their first order. These sites are no doubt just the first wave of band swapping and selling services provided online, with new experiences to launch - and currently established ones to rise in popularity - as more Apple Watch units and bands become more widely available in the coming weeks.