Don't buy the discounted Apple Watch Series 3... yet

The new $199 price tag may be tempting, but it's about to get even lower.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

At $199, the Apple Watch Series 3 is now the bargain to beat. But it's probably going to get even cheaper as the holidays approach.

Update, Sept. 18: Read our full rated Apple Watch Series 5 review here.

The Apple Watch Series 5 has arrived, but that wasn't the only Watch news at today's Apple event: Effective immediately, the Apple Watch Series 3 will have a starting price of $199 -- an $80 cut that makes it arguably the single best Apple Watch deal to date. (Previously, the slow, feature-limited Series 1 was Apple's entry-level watch, but the Series 3 offers a lot more horsepower.) Indeed, if you're put off by the Series 5's $399 price tag, you might be seriously tempted to take advantage of this new deal. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. 

Don't. For long stretches of 2019, the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS 38mm) was already on sale for $199 at stores like Amazon and Walmart. So Apple is just playing catch-up (or, more accurately, mark-down), making retailers' sale price its permanent price.

Read: 13 Apple Watch bands to get on Amazon  

So guess what that means? As we move into the holiday season, stores like Amazon and Walmart will undoubtedly beat Apple's price once again. Indeed, in the weeks leading up to Black Friday , and then during and after the Thanksgiving holiday, I expect the Apple Watch Series 3 to dip even lower.

How much lower? That's the $199 question. Based on past patterns (and a few rumblings I've heard from people in the know), I'm pretty confident we'll see it hit $169 -- perhaps even $149. Again, that'll be for the 38mm GPS-only model, but I'm here to tell you: That's a mighty fine watch, and that would be a mighty appealing price.

Remember, it was just two years ago that the Series 3 arrived as Apple's new flagship watch. It has a ton of advanced features, including irregular-heartbeat detection, music/podcast storage and special tools for runners and swimmers. (Read the Apple Watch Series 3 review.) If you're willing to be patient for just a little longer, and can pick one up for $169 (or less), I highly recommend it.

What do you think? Will the holidays bring even lower prices on the Series 3? Or is now the time to pull the trigger?

Watch this: Apple Watch Series 3: Hands-on

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