Tested_ 8 third-party leather-based bands for the Apple Watch

Apple has put lots of thought into its Apple Watch band choices, and it exhibits. I received’t deny that the Apple Sport Band is among the most snug wrist-adornments I’ve ever worn (ever). However its leather-based choices are restricted—to not point out costly. The Basic Buckle and Leather-based Loop are available in only a handful of colours and value $150, whereas the stylish Fashionable Buckle prices $250, almost as a lot because the Sport Watch itself.


However if you need a leather-based band, Apple’s not your solely possibility. Loads of third-party band-makers have stepped in to fill the void. I attempted out eight third-party leather-based bands, together with bands fabricated from unique leathers and a intelligent button-stud band, over the course of a number of weeks to see how they break in and maintain up. Let’s have a look.

Clessant: Calf, Crocodile, and Lizard

Based mostly in Lyon, France, Clessant claims to have the primary luxurious straps designed for the Apple Watch—designed in France, handmade in Western Europe, and created from unique leathers similar to crocodile, lizard, and stingray. The model just lately completed its Indiegogo marketing campaign, elevating 103 p.c of its preliminary objective, and ships its bands worldwide (delivery to the U.S. is $12). These bands are slim, light-weight, and clearly well-designed. They characteristic vibrant, saturated colours (in addition to a number of properly aged leather-based appears to be like) and brushed chrome steel buckles that lie flat in opposition to the wrist.

Clessant The Clessant calf band is available in three shades of brown.

I examined out three of Clessant’s bands: The $111 classic brown calf leather-based band, the $236 pastel pink alligator stomach leather-based band, and the $179 mustard yellow lizard leather-based band. All bands match me properly—the longer a part of every band measured 4.5 inches and had 7 holes for adjustment. As a result of the Clessant bands taper to a pointy level on the finish, the adjustment holes didn’t provide as a lot dimension flexibility as different bands I attempted: The most important adjustment gap is 3.5 inches from the adapter, whereas the most important gap on the Incipio Premium Leather-based band is 4 inches from the adapter. Nonetheless, there’s loads of room to punch an additional gap or two if you must dimension up or down.

Clessant’s calf leather-based band is available in six colours, that are merely labeled CK1 by CK6. CK1 by CK3 are various shades of brown (grayish brown, classic brown, and flat brown), whereas CK4 is midnight blue, CK5 is black, and CK6 is orange. CK1 by CK3 are vegetable tanned, which can give them a “sturdy patina and persona with age,” whereas CK4 by CK6 are chrome tanned with a easy matte end. I examined a CK2 (classic brown) band, which appears to be like superb: It has a mottled, aged coloring that appears good on women and men. The band was slightly stiff at first, nevertheless it solely took about someday of damage to interrupt in. Regardless of the relative thinness of the leather-based, the band didn’t warp a lot after a straight week of damage, although it warped sufficient that you could inform it’s now not new.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal I like the pink alligator Clessant band.

The crocodile/alligator stomach leather-based band is available in six colours: CR1 is pitch black crocodile leather-based, CR2 is tobacco brown crocodile leather-based, CR3 is pale blue alligator stomach leather-based, CR4 is pale pink alligator stomach leather-based, CR5 is forest inexperienced crocodile leather-based, and CR6 is royal blue crocodile leather-based. All of those straps have a textured, matte end apart from CR5, which has a shiny end. The primary distinction between Clessant’s crocodile/alligator stomach leather-based and its alligator leather-based bands, except for the worth, appears to be the dimensions of the scales – the crocodile/alligator leather-based bands have smaller scales, that are extra suited to unisex types. I examined a CR4 (pale pink alligator stomach leather-based) band, which is one in all my favourite third-party bands to this point. Not solely does this band look costly and unique, it’s slim whereas nonetheless being powerful—after one week of fixed put on, I noticed just about no warping.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Clessant’s mustard yellow lizard band warped after a number of days, however you may’t inform when it’s strapped to my wrist.

Clessant’s lizard leather-based bands are for individuals who like unique leather-based and vibrant colours. Lizard leather-based is available in 5 colours, together with tan (LK1), fuchsia (LK2), royal blue (LK3), brick red-orange (LK4), and mustard yellow (LK5). All colours characteristic a textured, shiny end. I examined an LK5 (mustard yellow) band, which is eye-catching (to say the least) due to its vibrant coloration. The lizard leather-based is barely thicker than the calf and alligator stomach leather-based, and so this band took about 4 days to totally break in and cease feeling stiff in opposition to my wrist. It’s additionally extra liable to warping. After every week of damage, warping was noticeable, although not whereas I used to be carrying it.

Clessant’s bands aren’t low-cost—they begin at $111 for the calf leather-based band and go as much as $448 for alligator leather-based—however they do look the half. These bands come together with your selection of adapter coloration (polished chrome steel or black) and could be made to suit both the 38mmor the 42mm Watch. Whilst you can positively discover cheaper leather-based bands to your Watch, Clessant delivers in terms of precision and high quality.

type•operate•type Button-Stud Apple Watch band

In the event you’re on the lookout for an unconventionally trendy band, you must take a look at the Button-Stud Apple Watch band by Orlando-based type•operate•type. This $94 band is custom-made with latigo leather-based, is available in three colorsR: io Tan (chestnut brown), Weathered Gray, and Sienna Tan (darkish brown). Each band options hand-stitched particulars and your selection of {hardware} coloration: polished silver, matte silver, polished black, or matte black.

type operate type The Button-Stud band doesn’t modify, however should you want a unique dimension later, the corporate will alternate it at no cost.

Not like different bands, the Button-Stud Apple Watch band is just not adjustable. This implies you’ll want to select your dimension, which is predicated in your Apple Watch Sport Band dimension, while you order. On the Apple Watch Sport Band, I’m between the third and fourth gap (the third gap is barely too tight, however the fourth gap is barely too free), so type•operate•type despatched me three bands, one sized for the third gap, one sized for in between the third and the fourth gap, and one sized for the fourth gap. The band sized for in between the third and fourth gap (S/M 3.5) match me completely, although the band must be slightly tight initially as a result of the leather-based will loosen up with put on. The Button-Stud Apple Watch band comes with a lifetime dimension guarantee: If the dimensions you order doesn’t match, type•operate•type will ship you a brand new dimension in addition to a delivery label to return the outdated band.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal I wanted assist placing this one on the primary few instances.

The band isn’t the one factor that’s tight at first—the button stud closure is nearly unattainable to shut the primary few instances. I needed to have one other individual shut the band round my wrist the primary three or 4 instances I wore it, however after a number of days of taking it on and off it began to loosen up.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Due to its distinctive closure, the Button Stud band is snug in opposition to my wrist.

The Button-Stud Apple Watch band is one in all my favourite third-party bands to date. It’s snug when you break it in. I often hate carrying issues on my wrists whereas I’m typing, however as a result of the Button-Stud has no clasp, I hardly even discover it. It’s additionally attractive. The design is easy but distinctive, and can look good on each women and men.

Incipio Premium Leather-based band

Incipio’s Premium Leather-based band is fabricated from extremely mushy, pliable leather-based, and is subsequently very snug proper out of the field. This $60 band is available in black, brown, and chestnut brown, and sports activities chrome steel connecting {hardware} and a chrome steel Incipio-branded buckle.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Incipio’s band is cheap at $60 however nonetheless appears to be like good.

The Premium Leather-based band is light-weight and easy, with a barely tapered design that flattens on the finish and a single loop to carry the top of the band in place. The chrome steel buckle is curved so it lies flat in opposition to your wrist, and it’s fairly snug even should you’re choosy, like I’m, about wrist adornments. The longer a part of the band is about 4.5 inches lengthy (the shorter half is 2.5 inches, not together with the buckle) and has 11 holes for adjustment. I’ve a reasonably small wrist, and the fourth smallest gap match me completely.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Incipio’s band has loads of holes for a extremely adjustable match.

On Incipio’s web site, the Premium Leather-based band seems to come back with just one connector {hardware} possibility, polished silver chrome steel. Whereas this appears to be like high-quality in opposition to my silver aluminum Apple Watch Sport, it would look a bit extra jarring when it’s linked to an area grey or yellow gold Apple Watch. The Premium Leather-based band is offered for each the 38mm and 42mm Watch faces.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Incipio’s mushy leather-based and curved clasp make this band very snug.

Incipio’s Premium Leather-based band is probably the most snug band I examined, and it wants no break-in time. My solely small problem with this band, except for the dearth of {hardware} choices, is that the leather-based may be too mushy. After one week’s value of damage, I did discover a number of scuffs and scratches. However for simply $60, it’s a sharp-looking strap.

MintApple: Crocodile, Lizard, and Ostrich

Clessant isn’t the one firm making unique leather-based bands. U.Ok.-based MintApple additionally affords Apple Watch bands in crocodile, alligator, lizard, and ostrich leather-based. MintApple’s bands characteristic thick, padded leather-based in principally impartial colours, they usually fasten along with a chrome steel folding clasp as an alternative of a buckle.

MintApple MintApple’s band shut with a folding clasp as an alternative of a buckle.

I examined three of MintApple’s leather-based bands: The $106 black crocodile leather-based band, the $106 brown lizard leather-based band, and the $106 brown ostrich leather-based band. You probably have a bigger wrist, MintApple’s bands are designed for you. Based on their web site, these bands can match a wrist with a most circumference (together with the Apple Watch) of 222mm, or 8.7 inches. You can too particular order a bigger dimension (no phrase on how large it’s), and a MintApple consultant tells me that smaller sizes will finally be obtainable as properly. However sizing was the primary problem I encountered with the MintApple bands: I’ve a really small wrist, and none of those bands match me on even the smallest gap. I needed to punch three further holes within the ostrich leather-based band, and it nonetheless doesn’t sit comfortable sufficient in opposition to my wrist for my Apple Watch’s coronary heart price monitor to work.

MintApple’s bands characteristic a clasp as an alternative of a buckle, and I think about this isn’t a problem should you occur to have a bigger wrist. Nonetheless, for my wrist, the clasp was just too large. By the point I punched further holes within the bands and adjusted them to suit my 5.5-inch wrist, the clasp poked into the bone in my wrist, uncomfortable at finest and painful at worst. The clasp is curved to accommodate the curvature of your wrist, however I anticipate that it’s designed to lie in opposition to the underside of your wrist, not the facet of your wrist like mine did.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal MintApple’s black crocodile strap.

Fortunately, these bands are leather-based and subsequently do break in after a number of days of damage. The crocodile leather-based band is available in black, brown, purple, and tan, and options massive scales and a semi-glossy end. This band is thicker than the others (although it may be ordered for each the 38mm and the 42mm Watch), and is subsequently most likely higher suited to a bigger wrist. The crocodile band is evenly padded all through and takes about 4 days to interrupt in. It has two leather-based loops (one stationary, one sliding) to safe the top in place and 7 holes for adjustment. This band feels notably sturdy and doesn’t warp in any respect.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal MintApple’s brown lizard strap.

The lizard leather-based band is available in two colours: Black and darkish brown – I examined the brown lizard leather-based band, which is a wealthy, deep brown with a textured, semi-glossy end. This band options thick, padded leather-based close to the adapter, and tapers off into thinner leather-based close to the top. It has seven holes for adjustment (I needed to punch an additional three), a MintApple-branded polished silver clasp, and two loops (one stationary, one sliding) to safe the top in place.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal MintApple’s brown ostrich band.

MintApple’s ostrich leather-based band is available in black, brown, and purple, and has a matte end. I examined the brown ostrich leather-based band, which is lighter brown than the brown lizard leather-based band (extra of a caramel coloration). Just like the lizard leather-based band, this band is padded close to the adapter and thinner close to the top, however the band itself can also be slimmer total. It’s a way more female profile and appears much less cumbersome than the lizard or crocodile bands. The ostrich leather-based is easy and versatile, and took lower than a day to interrupt in and be snug on my wrist.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal The MintApple bands had been slightly too large for my wrist.

MintApple’s bands are handsome, if slightly cumbersome—should you can stand the clasp state of affairs. The corporate additionally makes a mushy leather-based band that comes with a buckle as an alternative of a clasp. As a result of these bands are made to order, MintApple affords {custom} adapter {hardware} in several colours, together with polished chrome steel, area grey, area black, gold, and rose gold, however not matte aluminum (no less than, not but). That is the one firm I’ve seen to date that has adapters to match the brand new gold and rose gold Apple Watch Sport colours.

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