Review: Alto brings Italian leather to Apple Watch bands

Posted:
in Apple Watch
Alto has a history of crafting fantastic cases, sleeves, and other accessories from fine Italian leather. Its new line of Apple Watch bands brings that same quality to a new form.

Alto Apple Watch Band


AppleInsider spent some time with the black "Raven" and the tan "Caramel" bands with our Space Grey stainless steel Apple Watch.

Alto Apple Watch Band


Like many other quality leather straps that we've tried in the past, this strap is rigid right out of the box. It took a few days of wear for it to start to break in and contour our wrist. Once it did break in, though, it fit exceptionally well and was very comfortable even wearing all day.

Alto Apple Watch Band


As compared to some other bands, we found the band almost to the point of being too small. It fit us perfectly fine, but anyone with larger wrists could see the strap reaching the last couple notches. We compared to another leather strap we had on hand from Nomad and did find it to be just a few millimeters shorter than Nomad's, and Nomad even has a flat end compared to the pointed end of Alto.

There is a good attention to detail in Alto's bands, which we'd have expected after using their iPhone cases extensively. Just like their iPhone cases, premium Italian full-grain leather makes up these bands. The leather is skillfully cut, dyed, and stitched for a classic look. The underside bears the Alto logo and a stamp espousing the quality leather used.

Alto Apple Watch Band


When examining the buckle and lugs, in our case, they are black and don't seem to have a high likelihood of scratching like we see with cheaper Apple Watch bands. After a few bashes and dings the watch gets while wearing it around the office, the coloring appears to be staying put. A subtle Alto logo is also etched in the buckle, and is barely visible. It doesn't call a lot of attention to it, something we really like.

Leather bands are our favorites for our Apple Watch. They have the ability to be dressed up, or down depending on your other style choices. A nice band can really elevate the watch itself and make it more of a personalized accessory, especially over the bundled sports bands that come with the vast majority of Apple Watches.

Alto Raven Apple Watch band and case


They also have a long lifespan, and can last years while continuing to look good. Nylon bands can be stained, sports bands can be stretched and show wear. Leather, instead will just develop a rich patina unique to the person who wears it. It looks better over time, not worse.

In the time we've been wearing Alto's bands, we frequently get comments, including people being surprised it is an Apple Watch.

Looking to the future, there are rumors that Apple is making slight changes to the exterior of the "Series 4" Apple Watch, but those same rumors suggest that the lugs won't change at all. That means these bands, and others like it, will work not just with all existing Apple Watch models, and likely the upcoming Series 4 as well.

For us, Alto's bands were nearly perfect. The price point and possible size issues with larger wrists are the only aspects that give us any pause.

Alto Apple Watch Band

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Where to buy

Alto Raven Apple Watch band and case


Alto's classy leather bands come in four different colors -- Olive, Navy, Raven, Caramel -- with black or silver lugs, though are limited to the larger 42mm models of Apple Watch.

They can be picked up currently through Alto's website for $99. Not the most expensive Apple Watch band we've seen, though it is on the high side. Good thing the quality of materials and craftsmanship largely make up for that.

Even better for AppleInsider readers is an exclusive promo code good for 15 percent off. Discount code aiaws15 will be good until September 1st so best to act quick. Just head to Alto's website and enter the promo code upon checkout.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,343member
    Cool. Leather straps are the way to go, IMO. It really dresses up the AW and looks great during a night out.
    Andrew_OSU
  • Reply 2 of 6
    I wonder what's so special about Italian cows that makes their leather so marketable.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 161member, editor
    I wonder what's so special about Italian cows that makes their leather so marketable.
    I can help there!

    So! Italian leather is mainly preferred because of its history. There is a long history of leather products coming from Italy and are often used in the fashion industry. Vegetable tanning was invented in Tuscany before spreading around the world. In these tanneries, they will place the raw hides in wood drums for up to three months with vegetable tannins. This helps built insoluble protein complexes to help increase durability. It even gives Italian leather a distinct smell.

    This watch band is made from full grain leather, which is one of the best available. It is the most resistant and strongest, made from the top layer of the hide without being sanded or buffed. This keeps makes all bands unique with individual imperfections and nuances. When these imperfections show through, only the best leather can be used or it would look terrible.

    TL/DR: Italian tanneries have been around a long time and have a history of some of the best leather in the world.
    stourqueStrangeDaysbestkeptsecret
  • Reply 4 of 6
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,195member
    I wonder what's so special about Italian cows that makes their leather so marketable.
    I can help there!

    So! Italian leather is mainly preferred because of its history. There is a long history of leather products coming from Italy and are often used in the fashion industry. Vegetable tanning was invented in Tuscany before spreading around the world. In these tanneries, they will place the raw hides in wood drums for up to three months with vegetable tannins. This helps built insoluble protein complexes to help increase durability. It even gives Italian leather a distinct smell.

    This watch band is made from full grain leather, which is one of the best available. It is the most resistant and strongest, made from the top layer of the hide without being sanded or buffed. This keeps makes all bands unique with individual imperfections and nuances. When these imperfections show through, only the best leather can be used or it would look terrible.

    TL/DR: Italian tanneries have been around a long time and have a history of some of the best leather in the world.
    Well... that's just part of it.

    The cows over there are treated much better than here in the US.  Most obvious is that the Italians (and the EU in general) don't use barbed-wire to contain the cows in an area.  Regular wood fencing and most times just free-roaming.  Barbed-wire tends to cause undesirable marks, scrapes, tears in the skin that show up when the time comes to process the hides.
    stourqueStrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 6
    flydog said:
    A glowing review followed by an affiliate link from which AI receives a commission. No bias there. 
    Affiliate links are used all over the web. The reviewer wouldn’t say they liked it if they didn’t tho, because their reputation would take a hit if it was a shit product.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    thrangthrang Posts: 727member
    Leather looks quite thick. Hermes has the nicest leather bands for the Watch
Sign In or Register to comment.