The International Collection Sport Loop was released at the time of the Summer Olympics played in 2021 (referred to as the 2020 Olympics due to the COVID-19 delay). The bands came in 22 designs “representing nations across the globe, each with a downloadable matching watch face.”
The bands used the Sport Loop design, described by Apple as, “Soft, breathable, and lightweight, it features a hook-and-loop fastener for quick and easy adjustment. The double-layer nylon weave has dense loops on the skin side that provide soft cushioning while allowing moisture to escape. On the reverse side, the attachment loops are securely anchored for superior durability.”
The packaging for each band was highly customized and featured the Apple Watch logo on the box exterior in metallic gold (presumably a reference to Olympic gold medals). The interior packaging used the design of the sport band (as opposed to the generic design used in other Sport Loop designs) and included an App Clip Code (Apple’s custom circular QR Code design) that led directly to a downloadable Watch face that matched the band.
According to an Apple Newsroom release from June 29, 2021:
“To celebrate the indescribable drive and competitive spirit of all athletes and fans, Apple is launching the International Collection bands for Apple Watch, featuring 22 limited-edition Sport Loop bands with colorful designs that represent those nations across the globe. Each band also features a matching downloadable Stripes watch face1 showcasing color combinations that customers around the world can use to personalize their Apple Watch and boldly show their country support.
The soft, breathable, and lightweight International Collection Sport Loop bands are available representing the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the US.”
The colorful designs used one-color bands, one- and two-color facing bands, and some bands were split vertically with two colors (a first for Apple Watch band designs). All bands used a contrasting edge color, and many bands featured contrasting plastic connectors/closure colors. Bands matched the flags of each country and featured two to five colors each. My band color descriptions include:
- Australia—2-sided bright green and yellow band; bright green edges; bright green plastic connectors/closure.
- Belgium—yellow gold band; red edges; black plastic connectors/closure.
- Brazil—bright green band; yellow edges; dark blue plastic connectors/closure.
- Canada—vertical striped white and red band; white and red edges; whit plastic connectors, white closure.
- China—red band; yellow-gold edges; red plastic connectors, yellow-gold closure.
- Denmark—red band; white edges; white plastic connectors/closure.
- France—white band; blue and red edges; white plastic connectors, blue closure.
- Germany—2-sided black and yellow-gold band; red edges; black plastic connectors/closure.
- Greece—vertical striped white and blue band; blue and white edges; white plastic connectors/closure.
- Italy—bright blue band; white edges; green plastic connectors, red closure.
- Jamaica—2-sided bright green and black band; yellow edges; black plastic connectors, yellow closure.
- Japan—white band; red edges; white plastic connectors, red closure.
- Mexico—white band; green and blue edges; white plastic connectors, green closure.
- Netherlands—bright orange band; white edges; white plastic connectors, blue closure.
- New Zealand—black band; white edges; black plastic connectors, white closure.
- Russia—2-sided blue and red band; white edges; white plastic connectors/closure.
- South Africa—2-sided red and blue band; green edges; black plastic connectors, yellow closure.
- South Korea—white band; black edges; blue plastic connectors, red closure.
- Spain—2-sided yellow-gold and red band; red edges; red plastic connectors/closure.
- Sweden—2-sided yellow and medium-blue band; medium-blue edges; medium-blue plastic connectors/closure.
- United States—vertical striped white and blue band; red edges; white plastic connectors, red closure.
- Great Britain—2-sided red and blue band; white edges; white plastic connectors/closure.
This example is a 44mm Sport Loop representing South Africa. This band is the most colorful of the International collection, featuring five colors.
Please note that there is no connection between South Africa and LEGO. When I unpackaged this band, I was immediately reminded of the classic LEGO colors, and I decided to include some bricks in a few of the photos. The actual flag of the Republic of South Africa was designed in 1994 and uses these same colors, but has never evoked a LEGO vibe to me. According to the Southern African Vexillological Association:
“The design…represents a converging of paths, the merging of both the past and the present. Black, gold and green, which were first incorporated into South African national flags in the 19th century, also feature prominently in the flags of the liberation movements, particularly the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan-African Congress (PAC)… Red, white, blue and green reflect the British and Dutch (later Boer) influence, as shown in the earliest flags flown in South Africa…”
Sources: Apple (product pages, Newsroom, developer), Southern African Vexillological Association