Watch of Week: Apple Watch Hermès Series 3

Courtesy Apple

One of the year's most popular tech gifts, the latest iteration of the Apple watch is top of mind (and wish lists) for Apple fans, smartwatch addicts, and people ready to talk to their wrists.

Yes, the latest Apple watch can make calls.

That's the big news for the Series 3, because if you've worn either of the previous versions you know what the major complaint about the Apple Watch was: It always had to be tethered to your phone for it to fully work. Not anymore. You can leave your phone behind.

The watch can make calls, send and receive texts, you can talk to Siri—basically you can use your phone independently, via LTE or Wi-Fi. (At a significant cost to your battery life, it should be noted. You can leave your phone behind for at least a few hours.)

And if you have Apple Music, streaming music from your watch to your headphones or AirPods while working out—the different workouts on the Activity App have expanded—is a definite leap forward in the Apple Watch canon.

If you're into the looks of the watch, well, the the Series 1 (introduced in 2015), Series 2, and Series 3 are basically identical on the wrist—Series 3 is thicker, by about a millimeter, and the button on the side got a fresh coat of red paint. If you're ready to go to the next, French leather goods level, there are two new bands from Hermès.

Whereas the previous six Hermès bands had a somewhat stiff juxtaposition—fancy Hermès watch bands attached to Apple watches—the two new, more modern straps look designed to pair with the Apple Watch: a graphic, paisley-printed leather and a sporty cut-out, inspired by the house's signature driving gloves. All of the eight Hermès versions come with exclusive dial designs, an Hermès orange rubber strap to swap out with the leather strap for a workout, run, or swim, and, of course, the best gift box on earth, an orange one.

Apple Watch Hermès 42-mm Stainless Steel Case with Noir Gala Leather Single Tour Rally, $1,299; apple.com.