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What is the cheapest Apple Watch? We find the lowest price possible

If you want an Apple Watch, regardless of its condition, these are the cheapest models.

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The Apple Watch Series 1 and the Apple Watch Series 3.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Apple Watch product line made its debut in 2014, initially trumpeted as a companion to the iPhone and a fashion accessory -- one that started in price at $349, heading upwards to an eye-popping $17,000 for an 18-karat gold watch.

Now, barring any Black Friday discounts, the Apple Watch line starts at $199 for the Apple Watch Series 3 that debuted in 2017, $279 for the Apple Watch SE that first appeared in 2020 and $399 for the 2021 Apple Watch Series 7. (The Apple Watch SE is $60 off for Black Friday, and the Series 7 is $19 off.)

Going into the holidays, you may be a little Apple Watch-curious and looking for the cheapest version of the Apple Watch to try out. While you might start with the Apple Watch Series 3, which we ordinarily do not recommend, we wanted to dig a bit deeper and truly find the cheapest possible Apple Watch -- regardless of the watch's actual condition.

Let's go over the cheapest Apple Watch models we can find, how we came across them and whether or not these would fill the checkmark for simply owning the cheapest possible Apple Watch.

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The broken or damaged Apple Watch

Maybe the Apple Watch you're looking for doesn't actually have to turn on. It might sound like a joke gift, but there are products out there that pretend to be a phone by mimicking their look and feel, without actually being a phone. That "phone" is called the NoPhone, and it's still on sale for $12.

With that spirit in mind, maybe you're filming a movie and the broken Apple Watch is simply a costume item for your actors to wear. Or you just want a fancy-looking bracelet. Then for roughly $10 to $50, there are a number of older Apple Watch Series 1Apple Watch Series 2 and Apple Watch Series 3 devices on sale on eBay that are damaged or do not work. If those links show the listings have ended, you can find current ones by clicking here for an Apple Watch eBay search organized by lowest price. Some of the listings may only include the watch unit, without the wristband.

Cheapest used, refurbished Apple Watch

Working our way up to functional Apple Watch models, a refurbished Apple Watch Series 1 (which, notably, was released in 2016 and isn't the very first Apple Watch model) can be found starting at $51 on eBay as of this writing. A seller-refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 on eBay starts around $85. Most other cheaper, functional Apple Watch models in a used or seller-refurbished condition currently list in the $50 to $140 range on eBay.

Notably, while I would have expected the original 2015 Apple Watch to be the cheapest you can find, several sellers of that model are offering it for between $75 and $90. Also, of the older Apple Watch models, only the Series 3 can run the latest version of WatchOS 8.

It's worth noting that Apple does include the Apple Watch in its own refurbished store, but none of the current offers are particularly compelling. The cheapest as of this writing is an Apple Watch Series 4 for $269, and for that price range you may as well buy the new Apple Watch SE for the better specs.

Cheapest new

As mentioned earlier, the Apple Watch Series 3 is the cheapest new watch that Apple currently sells. Walmart's Black Friday sale that put the Apple Watch at $109 (sold out at the time of writing) is the lowest price that we've seen for it, with $120 being the lowest price the Apple Watch Series 3 has been seen on Amazon, according to the CamelCamelCamel price tracker.

While $109 is a very low price to get into Apple's WatchOS world, if you are hoping to make use of the Apple Watch longer-term it is likely a better value to get the Apple Watch SE's Black Friday deal of $219 at Best Buy. You can check out our full list of why we don't recommend the Apple Watch Series 3 as a new purchase here, chief among the concerns being the watch's future software support and older specs that make the watch run slower than devices that have been released since.

Read moreBlack Friday Apple Watch deals: $60 off Watch SE, $50 off Series 6

Have you seen the Apple Watch for an even cheaper price anywhere on the internet? Or would you buy a broken Apple Watch? Talk about it in the comments.