Best Apple Watch faces – how to choose and customize watch faces

Need some inspiration? Give your watch a facelift with these top picks
35737-original
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Everyone wants to get their Apple Watch looking its best – and cool watch faces and complications are the easiest places to start.

Apple has always been selective about watch faces and has taken a less-is-more approach.

And in watchOS 9 we got some all-new watch faces and some big updates to existing ones.

The selection of Apple Watch faces is now pretty big – and with first and third-party complications, there's plenty of customization on offer.

Read on for our top Apple Watch faces, and we explain how you can customize everything to your taste.

Best Apple Watch faces in 2022

There are now tons of Apple Watch faces on offer, and the great thing is how customizable they all are. Below, we've highlighted our top picks, but make sure to play around with the complications on each and have a good crop of options in your on-watch library that you can switch between when you get bored.

Lunar (New for watchOS 9)

Built to help understand how the phases of the moon relate to the calendar, rotate the Digital Crown to scroll through the days of the month and watch how the moon's phase changes. 

You can toggle between the Chinese, Hebrew, and Islamic calendars – and also between a digital and analog clock. Oh, and there's still room for four complications, too.

  • Customizable: Yes
  • Complications: Yes (4)

Playtime (New for watchOS 9)

This bonkers little watch face displays the time via floating characters, that bounce and kick around when you tap the screen. You can change the color of the background, and toggle on/off the background bling, but that's your lot for customization, and there are no complications allowed.

  • Customizable: Color
  • Complications: No

Metropolitan (New for watchOS 9)

Finally, another watch face that apes a traditional analog dial – with plenty of customization on offer. You can change the color of the dial and the style of the numbers, and when you twist your wrist to check the time, the numerals will subtly pulse into view. You also get a complication in each corner of Series 7/8.

  • Customizable: Color
  • Complications: Yes (4)

Wayfinder (Apple Watch Ultra only)

A glorious Apple Watch Ultra exclusive watch face, Wayfinder is designed around the Ultra's outdoors credentials. You can customize elevation or longitude/latitude around the inner ring, and choose colors and dial style. But its neatest trick is to head into a nighttime mode when you rotate the crown, with a tactical style red hue that looks the business on dark trails. 

  • Customizable: Yes
  • Complications: Yes (4)

Modular (updated for watchOS 9)

Modular was a key part of previous watchOS editions, but in OS 9 it was given a facelift with gorgeous color gradients that give it a modern lift. It also comes in three variants, Modular, Compact, and XL versions.

  • Customizable: Yes
  • Complications: Yes

Astronomy (updated for watchOS 9)

Another face that received a sizeable watchOS 9 overhaul.  Astronomy lets you view to put an Earth, moon, or solar system view on your Watch face with room for complications at the top and the bottom of the face. You can also twist the crown to interact with it letting you see information like the next full moon. 

In watchOS 9 the visuals got a massive overhaul, with more realistic and detailed Earth, Moon, and constellations views.

  • Customizable: Yes
  • Complications: Yes

Nike (various)

Previously only wearers of the Nike Apple Watch Editions could take advantage of the special edition watch faces – but in watchOS 9 that changed. They're not open to everyone, regardless of the model you wear.

That means you can install Nike Analog, Nike Bounce, Nike Compact, Nike Digital, and Nike Hybrid. We're big fans of Nike Compact, with the multiple complications and simple arrangement.

Contour (Series 7/8 only)

contour-final-1636033361-zKHM-column-width-inline

One of the new faces added with the arrival of the Watch Series 7 and unique to that model, Contour is made to show off that more curvy case look of Apple's latest smartwatch. You have the option to have the font displayed flat on the screen or to match the curves of the Watch case. You can also adjust the background color and there's a special Pride version as well which is a welcome addition to Apple's growing collection of slick faces.

  • Customisable: Background color
  • Complications: Yes

Portraits

portrait-watch-faces-1636033021-jaN0-column-width-inline

Portraits was a headline new feature in watchOS 8 and it does work on older Watches (Series 4 or later) letting you bring more dynamic-looking portrait pics to your watch face. You can pick from classic, modern or rounded designs with complication support at the top and bottom of the watch face. You can also tinker with font colors too to make the time and complications stand out too.

It was also given an update in watchOS 9, which means that pet photos will also get the dynamic treatment.

  • Customisable: Style
  • Complications: Yes (2)

Modular Duo (Series 7/8 only)

modular-duo-23-1636033159-agga-column-width-inline

The other face addition that landed with Watch Series 7, Modular Duo takes full advantage of the extra screen state on Apple's latest.

You can add up to three complications and adjust the color of those complications and font, but we think the multicolor look is the standout option here.

  • Customisable: Font and color
  • Complications: Three

Fire and Water

fire-1636033820-DluC-column-width-inline

Fire and Water is an animated face option that shines on Apple's Retina display. You can pick from a rectangle or circle dial with room for up to three complications. You can go all in with fire or water or have the best of both worlds and see them side-by-side.

  • Customisable: Dial shape
  • Complications: Yes

GMT 

gmt-1601367757-WQsF-column-width-inline

The first of a slew of new watch faces dropped in the watchOS 7 updates, GMT enables you to set a secondary timezone. The colors can be customized, although we like the Rolex vibes of the default. And there's space for four complications in the corners.

  • Customisable: The color of the dial
  • Complications: Yes

Artist 

art-1601367777-Pwf1-column-width-inline

Designed by artist Geoff McFetridge, the Artist watch face shows faces that subtly show the time as the eyes and nose. Tap the screen to change and customize the face shown, and the always-on Series 5, Series 6, and Series 7 will show the outline of the drawing when powered down. It's abstract but has a very unique look.

  • Customisable: Tap to change the face
  • Complications: No

Memoji 

memoji-1601367808-ztPj-column-width-inline

It was always going to happen. If you have a Memoji set up on your iPhone you can port him/her/they onto your Apple Watch. However, you can have one of the now familiar stock Memoji characters if you fancy. You can also customize the small info panel at the bottom.

  • Customisable: Change your character or use your personal Memoji
  • Complications: Yes

Stripes 

stripes-1601367824-CMjV-column-width-inline

  • Customisable: Yes (colors/numbers of stripes/direction of stripes)
  • Complications: No

These stripes are almost infinitely customizable, with the number of stripes, colors, angles, and stripe direction all up for discussion. You can have them as a square or inset circle with corner complications, between 2-9 stripes, and pick the color of each stripe. We went for the classic football strip look above, but this is one of the most personal Apple Watch faces going.

Count up 

count-up-1601367850-Dohi-column-width-inline

One for the track runners (possibly), Count Up puts stopwatch functionality straight onto the watch face. Tap the screen to start a timer, which will be shown on the watch face itself. Sadly it doesn't store laps as the design sort of suggests, but you do get four complication spots on the edge and can change the color of the ring.

  • Customisable: Change the color of the dial
  • Complications: Yes

Typograph (watchOS 7)

typrographic-1601367877-iOR1-column-width-inline

Another abstract and classy watch face, Typograph shows the time written out in an edgy font with an analog dial in the center. You can change between a host of fonts, switch to a more classic dial, go for numerals instead of digits and change the color. There are no complications available.

  • Customisable: Change typeface and color
  • Complications: No

Chronograph Pro (watchOS 7)

tachymeter-1601367913-UQzA-column-width-inline

The Chronograph Pro shows a tachymeter by default, which is used for measuring speed. However, you can change to different dials including 60, 30, 6, and 3-second timers, which you start by tapping the dial and hitting the green button.

  • Customisable: Color and timescale
  • Complications: Yes

Infograph

infograph-1537978672-cPpA-column-width-inline

  • Customisable: Color
  • Complications: Yes

For those obsessed with complications, the Infograph has been sent from watch face heaven – and it's our pick for the best Apple Watch face you can use.

It can support up to eight complications, with the four in the corner able to make use of the redesigned Series 4 and Series 5 display to show extra information – check out the weather in the top-right with current, minimum and maximum temperatures on show.

The middle offers shortcuts to common apps as well, such as Activity and Music, but, in truth, you can cut these any way you want.

Meridian

meridian-1571406921-dBFl-column-width-inline

Meridian was added to the Apple Watch Face Gallery with watchOS 6 and has already cemented its place in our high esteem, narrowly missing out on our top slot.

It offers a great blend of design and function, with a clean, bold analog look that's augmented by the option of four complications in the middle of the dial.

You can't get quite as much information on there as you can on the Infograph face, but, then again, you might just want to keep things simple.

  • Customisable: Color and style
  • Complications: Yes

Modular Compact

modular-1572257599-NLwB-column-width-inline

Another data-heavy option is the new Modular Compact face, which can pack in reams of information.

With six complication spots, the three icons at the bottom can be changed to common contacts, to enable you to make calls straight from the Watch.

Corner complications are out, but you can make use of the middle modular unit, which can even include boarding passes from Qantas, heart rate data, and Citymapper commuting alerts.

  • Customisable: Color; analogue/digital
  • Complications: Yes

Breathe

breathe-1537978698-L9WT-column-width-inline

The Breathe watch face apes the design of the app, using the same animations. You can pollute the tranquility with complications if you wish, although it does ruin the calm.

Tap on the watch face and you'll jump straight to the Breathe app for a guided session. This one's certainly good for those who are keen to get some mindfulness in their day.

  • Customisable: Multiple styles
  • Complications: Yes

Gradient

gradient-1571407295-rok2-column-width-inline

New with watchOS 6, Gradient offers a gorgeous, clean look with the benefit of bold colors. If you're rocking a Series 5 or Series 6, it will invert itself to a darker mode when your wrist is down, too.

You can choose the color that best augments your look, so if you're wearing a bold outfit Gradient's a great option to take it a step further.

  • Customisable: Color and gradient
  • Complications: Yes

Pride

apple-pride2021-watch-series6-braided-solo-loop-pride-edition-05172021-1621275675-jwqy-column-width-inline-1622972701-Jrn8-column-width-inline

For those attending a Pride event – or looking to show some LGBTQ+ support – the Pride watch face is what you need. Apple has launched a new version every year, and the 2021 version (pictured above) will launch via a watchOS update. This year's version also adds more colors to celebrate a wider spectrum.

It's minimalist, but tapping on-screen prompts lush animations that wobble and warp those rainbow lines pleasingly. You can adjust the single complication as well, as a nice bonus.

And if you prefer a previous year's Pride design you can long press and hit Customize to cycle through them all.

  • Customisable: Choose previous years' styles
  • Complications: Yes

Activity

activityface-1505941274-krkU-column-width-inline

You're looking to lose some weight and want to track your activity and calories on your journey.

That's why we've got the Workout complication up top ready for your next workout, a heart rate complication on the other side so you can check in on your vitals, and the Lose It! complication down at the bottom lets you know how you're doing on the food front.

The digital activity face is the centerpiece here, so you can easily keep track of your beloved rings, calories burned, exercise minutes, and stand hours.

  • Customisable: Color/time format
  • Complications: Yes

Solar Dial

solar-dial-1571407615-zT9O-column-width-inline

Another new design from watchOS 6, Solar Dial is a pretty flashy face with a real practical side.

The face has complications in each corner, for your choice of details, and features a prominent and striking solar measure that lets you know when you can expect sunset where you are, alongside the time.

You can also tap the watch to see the length of daylight, which is useful if you're planning anything outdoorsy, such as if you want to squeeze in a run after work.

  • Customisable: Digital/analog
  • Complications: Yes

Siri

siriface-1505941745-NPXf-column-width-inline

If you're looking for an assistant to be proactive about your day and what you need to get done, you're not going to find a better watch face.

The Siri complication sits up at the top, so if you need to get something done and don't have your iPhone around, it'll handle it. Below, you'll see a carousel of guidance, notifications, and more.

  • Customisable: Color
  • Complications: Yes

Simple

bawf-9-1503502593-5EXc-column-width-inline

If you're in Apple's ecosystem, that might also include some smart home tech, which is why we've added the HomeKit complication, while you've also got quick access to Remote if you want to control your Apple TV. And of course, don't forget a handy timer. Home sweet home.

  • Customisable: Style/color
  • Complications: Yes

Mickey Mouse

bawf-10-1503502632-FxX5-column-width-inline

Just let loose and click on Mickey, he'll tell you the time. Don't be afraid to swap in the Toy Story gang if you prefer some Pixar, by the way.

Get the weather from the sarcastic Carrot, use Magic Guide for theme park ride times, and hatch your Pokemon with Pokemon Go – all at the same time. See also Minnie Mouse and Toy Story.

  • Customisable: Mickey or Mini
  • Complications: Yes

Numerals

bawf-12-1503502710-L1jq-column-width-inline

You don't need much. You're simple – but classy. You just want the time and date, and you want it in the sleekest way possible. Take on the Numerals watch face, get a nice calm color going, and then strut your stuff.

  • Customisable: Color
  • Complications: Yes

Unity

untitled-1613575805-4y2V-column-width-inline

Released in February 2021 for Black History Month, the Unity watch face is inspired by the Pan-African flag.

You can customize the color mix, and it's also designed to be paired up with a limited edition Apple Watch strap released for the event.

The Unity watch face is made for Apple Watch Series 6 and later and that includes the SE. You'll need to be on watch OS 7.3 or later to get it too.

  • Customisable: Color
  • Complications: Yes

Kaleidoscope

kaleidoscope-1520300551-Qxka-column-width-inline

If you're looking to calm yourself, or even want to zone out, your best bet is the Kaleidoscope face.

Head to the Watch companion app and choose your picture, then choose a design (we've got Radial here) and get your custom piece of art on your wrist.

We've gone with the Breathe and Heart Rate complications up at the top, so you're just a tap away from total zen at all times.

  • Customisable: Color/style
  • Complications: Yes

Photos

photo-1520300566-OYR8-column-width-inline

Smartphone cameras have gotten pretty damn good, meaning that every so often you'll take a picture that's so good you'll want to look at it a lot.

That's what this face is for. We've also gone with a simple calendar complication below that, but you can get rid of that if you'd prefer to have your view less obstructed.

  • Customisable: Change the photo
  • Complications: Yes

Download watch faces with Facer

facer-watch-faces-1620733434-mpcv-column-width-inline-1622973341-tbHu-column-width-inline

Below we're going to go through our favorite Apple Watch faces that come built into the Apple Watch.

But if you want to take customization up to the next level then Facer has added new faces for Apple Watch, with options from the likes of NASA, Star Trek, and Tetris.

Read our full guide to using Facer for Apple Watch to get started.

How to change Apple Watch faces

watchkaleidoscope-1506738820-sinv-1507334561-21qa-column-width-inline-1550494163-u4GX-column-width-inline

To change the Apple Watch face on your smartwatch force touch (long press) the screen to access the face gallery. From here you can scroll through your favorites, or press the + icon to access the full gallery.

When you select one it's added to your favorites, which you can cycle through simply by sliding the watch face left or right.

You can also access the full selection in the Apple Watch companion app, where the full Face Gallery is available to add selections to your watch manually.

More Apple Watch guides


James Stables

By

James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.


Related stories