Review: The Watch Strap Co. Apple Watch bands are solid options to Apple's

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited February 7
The Watch Strap Co. offers a wide variety of Apple Watch bands that are more affordable than Apple's as well as more unique. We picked up a few to try for ourselves.

WsC Apple Watch bands
WsC Apple Watch bands


Each WsC band that we got arrived in its own individual box. The box is a vivid orange with a matte black sleeve to cover it. The box has a very strong hinge and holds the band against a microfiber lining with two elastic bands. This is great for storage and travel if you have no other way to protect your bands when not in use.

The bands we picked up were the Defiant, the Nautilus, the Fury, and the classic NATO.

WsC Defiant

The Defiant watch band is perhaps the classiest of the bunch from The Watchstrap Company. It's made from quality leather and lined with nubuck for comfortable wear.

WsC Defiant watch band
WsC Defiant leather watch band


There's a polished sheen to the outward-facing leather. It looks similar to Shell Cordovan leather, though not quite as premium as that well-known, seldom-used, high-end leather.

WsC is using its own custom stainless steel lugs and buckles for that added touch of uniqueness. The buckle is quite comfortable, with rounded edges that don't press into your wrist while wearing.

WsC Defiant band interior
WsC leather Defiant band interior


A simple WsC logo is stamped on the underside leather, the exterior leather blemish-free, and a subtle WsC logo etched into the steel buckle.

All the hardware comes in several different finishes, almost ensuring it matches any Apple Watch you own. There are several matte aluminum finishes, polished gold and rose gold options, and stainless steel black. Both the buckle and the lugs are matched together so that the whole package will mesh with your watch.

The only one missing is a new colorway for the graphite Apple Watch Series 6. It is a lighter color than the previous Space Black Apple Watch Series 5, so the black lugs are just a hair too dark. It won't matter for most people, but it may be an issue for those with heightened attention to detail.

You can grab the WsC Defiant watch band for $88.50.

Nautilus

WsC's Nautilus band is perhaps our favorite of the bunch, part for its style as well as for its uniqueness. The nautical-inspired band is made from SCUBA diving-class silicone, but instead of most other silicone bands, it replicates the look of a classy leather band.

WsC Nautilus band in its box
WsC Nautilus band in its box


It is tapered from the ends with small bumps in the center, very similar to the Defiant band. Around the edge is white cotton thread (or an optional red thread on the black-colored band) for an accent color as well as a way to elevate your standard rubber strap.

This band feels sporty and very comfortable as you wear it all day, and the look can't be beaten for its durability. It is a "best of both worlds" situation by having an elegant appearance but physical durability.

WsC Nautilus band
WsC Nautilus band


It too has all finished of the stainless steel lugs and buckle and is available for $66.

NATO and woven nylon

NATO-style nylon bands are quite a popular option these days. They are super lightweight, durable, washable, and sweat-resistant. WsC has many different solid NATO bands as well as many striped woven nylon options as well.

There isn't a ton to say about these bands other than they are well made and comfortable in many great colors. For the NATO bands, we love the dark red and dark blue alongside the usual Army green and black.

WsC NATO band
WsC NATO band


The woven nylon feels very similar to the NATO but differs by having nylon loops to hold the excess strap versus the metal loops. They also look a bit less militaristic with poppy, vibrant colors.

Both the NATO bands and the woven nylon bands are available for $43.50 and $58.50 respectively in various colorways.

Fury

WsC offers a few metal bands for Apple Watch, and we chose to check out the Fury. This band is a traditional link-style bracelet with individual links that differ by either a matte or polished finish. Links are removed with a typical pin removal tool and lack the integrated rear button that Apple's link band offers. Changes like that are why this comes in at a much lower price.

WsC Fury stainless steel Apple Watch band
WsC Fury stainless steel Apple Watch band


There is a common butterfly clasp to keep it secure that is opened by squeezing the sides of the band. In our use, it did press a bit into our wrist, especially typing on a MacBook Pro for great lengths during the day. We prefer the more slim buckle other bands offer, including the more-modern WsC link bracelet.

As it is stainless steel, the band is hefty and perfect for the stainless Apple Watch models. It's added weight makes it feel more like a traditional timepiece rather than a smartwatch.

WsC Fury stainless steel Apple Watch band
WsC Fury stainless steel Apple Watch band


It comes in black, gold, silver, and a silver and rose gold combo for $97.50.

Other options

The Watch Strap Co offers many other Apple Watch band styles as well that we didn't touch on. That includes several designs that mimic Apple's styles, which we aren't as big fans of. They offer leather link, leather loop, Solo Loop sports band sty, and more that look near identical to Apple's but don't necessarily have the same quality.

Another WsC Apple Watch strap
Another WsC Apple Watch Strap


Apple charges a premium for its bands, so we don't blame anyone looking for a similar style at a budget price, but we prefer the more unique bands that WsC offers, such as the Nautilus.

Regardless of whether you are looking for a more affordable Apple-style band or something unique, The Watch Strap Co. has many options for you to choose from.

Pros
  • Many styles

  • Solid packaging

  • Great quality bands

  • Most are very comfortable

  • Nautilus is a unique style that Apple doesn't offer
Cons
  • Clones of Apple bands aren't quite as premium

  • Fury is hard to change links and can dig into our wrist a bit

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    The company name sounded familiar... but so does AliExpress, does it not? Let me explain. 

    I once saw this company mentioned on the Macrumors forums, and so I did a little digging. Even though I like the fact you took the time for this review, you reviewed what is most likely cheap garbage in an expensive box. The Milanese, sport and link bands are cheap Chinese knockoffs for European prices (believe me, i spent weeks searching for different link bands that compare to Apple’s band, and came across different iterations. And TheWatchStrap Company sells the not-so-good-edition. 

    For further clarification, here I copied my post from the forums over at MacRumors, to shed some more light on what looks like a legit company (due to some positive reviews, not unlike the one here on Ai), but may very well not be! 

    ———————————
    It looks like cheapass watchbands, paired with a good looking website, to give you the idea that you are actually buying quality. I bought all my bands at Aliexpress, and they look better than the ones from WsC. I would NEVER pay 30 pounds (that's 38 dollar people!) for a fake band. The original is only 10 bucks more. I very much doubt if these are even actual Fluorelastomer.

    The Milanese Loop:
    "This ultra-sleek, intricately woven stainless-steel strap is designed to fit your wrist perfectly". 75 pounds. Damn girl. That's 95 dollars. But of course, it's on sale. For "only" 55 pounds.

    The Link bands: was 129, now on sale for 79 pounds. That's over a 100 dollars. Just, nah, don't do it. It hasn't even got the link buttons on the inside.

    I would kindly advise: don't buy.

    Ps: i visited the site for the second time, and the chatbot said: "welcome back, just to let you know, we've extended our sale".
    Note: there is no sale. It's all about convincing you to pay a load of money for very cheap bands.

    I have posted (IN THIS THREAD!) the very best ripoffs in all sorts, in my honest opinion. Look them up a few pages back.

    -----------------------------

    Edit: So i thought, let me look up the company on google maps. The adress stated on their website should do it, right? "17 Ensign House, Admirals Way, Canary Wharf, London E14 9XQ". Apparently on this adress, the following companies are located:
    - Flex Office (telephone answering )
    - Investor in customers (business development service )
    - The Website Group (guess who made the website for the wonderful watch band company  )
    - some other small companies.

    As we would say in the Netherlands: dat is geen zuivere koffie. (which translates to: that's no clean coffee, which means: there's something fishy about it ).

    Ps2: the band you bought is probably just fine, you won't notice anything about it, it's just that the band is worth 2 dollars. That's it. And you paid 70 for two bands....

    just a little lesson for you readers at home: always know where you're buying, what you're buying. before you're buying”

    (edited for readability purposes) 
    edited January 28 watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 4
    urashidurashid Posts: 108member
    The company name sounded familiar... but so does AliExpress, does it not? Let me explain. 

    I once saw this company mentioned on the Macrumors forums, and so I did a little digging. Even though I like the fact you took the time for this review, you reviewed what is most likely cheap garbage in an expensive box. The Milanese, sport and link bands are cheap Chinese knockoffs for European prices (believe me, i spent weeks searching for different link bands that compare to Apple’s band, and came across different iterations. And TheWatchStrap Company sells the not-so-good-edition. 

    For further clarification, here I copied my post from the forums over at MacRumors, to shed some more light on what looks like a legit company (due to some positive reviews, not unlike the one here on Ai), but may very well not be! 

    ———————————
    It looks like cheapass watchbands, paired with a good looking website, to give you the idea that you are actually buying quality. I bought all my bands at Aliexpress, and they look better than the ones from WsC. I would NEVER pay 30 pounds (that's 38 dollar people!) for a fake band. The original is only 10 bucks more. I very much doubt if these are even actual Fluorelastomer.

    The Milanese Loop:
    "This ultra-sleek, intricately woven stainless-steel strap is designed to fit your wrist perfectly". 75 pounds. Damn girl. That's 95 dollars. But of course, it's on sale. For "only" 55 pounds.

    The Link bands: was 129, now on sale for 79 pounds. That's over a 100 dollars. Just, nah, don't do it. It hasn't even got the link buttons on the inside.

    I would kindly advise: don't buy.

    Ps: i visited the site for the second time, and the chatbot said: "welcome back, just to let you know, we've extended our sale".
    Note: there is no sale. It's all about convincing you to pay a load of money for very cheap bands.

    I have posted (IN THIS THREAD!) the very best ripoffs in all sorts, in my honest opinion. Look them up a few pages back.

    -----------------------------

    Edit: So i thought, let me look up the company on google maps. The adress stated on their website should do it, right? "17 Ensign House, Admirals Way, Canary Wharf, London E14 9XQ". Apparently on this adress, the following companies are located:
    - Flex Office (telephone answering )
    - Investor in customers (business development service )
    - The Website Group (guess who made the website for the wonderful watch band company  )
    - some other small companies.

    As we would say in the Netherlands: dat is geen zuivere koffie. (which translates to: that's no clean coffee, which means: there's something fishy about it ).

    Ps2: the band you bought is probably just fine, you won't notice anything about it, it's just that the band is worth 2 dollars. That's it. And you paid 70 for two bands....

    just a little lesson for you readers at home: always know where you're buying, what you're buying. before you're buying”

    (edited for readability purposes) 

    I have no knowledge or opinion about the company or their products, but the address on their website is not what you stated:

    The Watch Strap Co,
    Broxbourne Business Centre, Unit 10, 4 Pindar Road, Hoddesdon, EN11 0FJ


    Maybe the website developer had their own address as placeholder?

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 4
    The post I wrote on Macrumors was made in 2018, I believe. The address may have changed since then. I highly doubt their products changed, however ;)  

    Probably still $2,- bands, sold for $50,- or so. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 4
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    The aftermarket watch band is such a tricky thing to navigate through. Like a lot of things anymore, who do you trust?
    watto_cobra
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