Luxury-goods retailer Hermès has removed from its online store its entire range of leather bands for the Apple Watch.
The change comes just two days before Apple is expected to unveil the Apple Watch Series 9 and iPhone 15, and a week after Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claimed that Apple was set to “move away from leather on iPhone cases and Apple Watch bands” for environmental and sustainability reasons.
In a series of posts on X last week, Gurman questioned how Apple’s expected pivot away from leather might impact its partnership with Hermès, which until very recently offered a range of luxury leather bands for the Apple Watch.
The Bloomberg reporter, who often calls it right with Apple’s plans, reposted a message on Sunday showing screenshots of Hermès’ website before and after it removed a link to its leather bands for the Apple Watch. 9to5Mac also shared an empty Hermès product page that until recently displayed a range Apple Watch bands.
It’s not clear if the removal of the leather Apple Watch bands marks an end to Apple’s long-running partnership with Hermès, or if the high-end retailer is merely preparing to update its online store with a new range of non-leather — or possibly even leather — accessories on Tuesday. After all, at the time of writing, Hermès’ website does still offer a range of leather accessories for Apple products that include AirTag key rings, AirPods Pro cases, and a calfskin case for the iPhone 12. Furthermore, Apple’s own website is still showing several leather bands from Hermès.
Apple’s reported move away from the material could be confirmed as early as this week when it unveils the new Apple Watch and iPhone, possibly alongside a new range of synthetic bands and cases that may entirely replace the leather options.
Gurman said recently that he expected that the environment and sustainability will be “a larger than normal part of the September 12 launch,” so Apple might even have some relevant announcements to make in other areas away from the watch and phone.
All will be revealed in just a couple of days’ time.
If you’re interested in watching a live stream of Apple’s biggest event of the year on Tuesday, then Digital Trends has a page explaining everything you need to know.