Picking an Apple Watch can be confusing. There are a lot of options and the base price can quickly grow, even eclipsing the price of your iPhone!
The first-gen Apple Watch launched in 2015. Depending on the way you count there have been at least two more versions since then, plus various specialty models.
There are currently three formally designated "models" of the Apple Watch currently in the marketplace, plus there are specialty editions, and tons of options. So, if you're someone who has trouble making decisions, this might be a trying process. Rather than list every feature, I'm going to focus on the things that distinguish the various models as you make your decision.
Apple Watch Series 1 (starting at $249): this is an updated model of the original design. It isn't waterproof, just "splash resistant", so don't go swimming with it! It has basic health tracking functions to help you measure your workouts and health, including a built in heart rate monitor.
Apple Watch Series 2 is no longer sold by Apple, but you will see it online at some retailers. It added a dual-core S2 CPU, water resistance (which, in-turn, enabled it to offer tracking for swimmers) as well as built-in GPS, and a screen that is a bit brighter than the original. Apple also introduced a "higher end" edition with a ceramic case that you may prefer aesthetically, but it comes at a much higher price.
Apple Watch Series 3 should really be considered two separate models. All Series 3 models have second-generation OLED Retina displays (translated, this means they are sharp and twice as bright as the Series 1). They also support wireless charging. The "lower" priced versions ($329) , like the Series 1 and 2, rely for most functionality on a connection via your iPhone. For the first time, however, there are models starting at $399 in the Series 3 line that have built in cellular functionality. This means they can connect to the internet and even place calls without you having your iPhone with you. This can be a big plus if you plan on exercising and don't want to lug around your phone. Keep in mind, however, that the cellular service won't work if you travel overseas.
The cellular models have sapphire crystal screens, while the GPS-only models have glass fronts.
That "starting at" price should be taken with a grain of salt. First, there are two face sizes, the larger of which pushes the base price up to $429. Next you'll have to choose the type of material your watch is made from: ceramic (starting at $1299), stainless steel, or basic aluminum. Then, you have all the different wrist bands, and even special editions, co-branded with Hermes and Nike. Finally, you'll probably want to factor in Apple Care for your watch!
Oh yes…there is another charge to figure in if you get the cellular versions: the monthly charge currently 10 dollars a month.
The Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular + GPS is the closest we've come to the old Dick Tracy 2-way Wrist Watch. It is a solid, if pricey option, if you really want/need all that functionality on your wrist.