The new device, Apple's first that connects to the internet without being tethered to a smartphone, took the USA mobile giant to 3.9 million shipments in the recent Q3 2017, according to new data from Canalys.
Xiaomi and Fitbit respectively shipped 3.6 million and 3.5 million wearable bands, an increase from the previous quarter for both. Yet it still estimates that Apple shipped 800,000 cellular enabled units in the quarter.
In some ways, Apple's performance was even more impressive because supplies of the new watch were limited, meaning demand was stronger than the number of shipments indicates. CEO Tim Cook said in Apple's most recent earnings report that Watch sales were up by 50 percent for the third consecutive quarter thanks to a focus on health services. It surpassed Xiaomi, which has 21 percent, followed by 20 percent of Fitbit.
Smartphone makers Huawei and Samsung also make their own series of smartwatches, some of which are created to rival the Apple Watch, but have had to contend with 6% and 5% share, respectively. In proof of considerable fragmentation within the industry, "other brands" accounted for a dominant 25 percent, according to Canalys' figures.
Though third quarter is the weakest period for the sales of wearable devices, top manufacturers gained huge in Q3 2017. Overall, however, the industry was down three percents - primarily due to lackluster interest in basic fitness bands.
The research firm took that as a positive sign of the potential for smartwatches now that Apple, the most visible player, is offering LTE versions.