The best aftermarket Apple Watch bands you can buy right now

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited July 2015
Data shows that Apple Watch owners love their Watches, but Apple's selection of bands is limited and many of the models are expensive. AppleInsider has rounded up some of the most popular third-party models that you can buy today and have on your wrist by next week.


The iVAPO/eLander stainless steel link band

The Best: iVAPO/eLander's stainless steel link band

This band --?sold under various brand names --?is much like Apple's link bracelet, though it comes with a more standard clasp. It's available in silver, black, gold, and rose gold, and at press time had 77 Amazon reviews with average 4.5-star rating.

The silver variant is only available in a 42-millimeter version for $32.99, while the other colors are also available as 38-millimeter models. Gold goes for $37.68/$37.99 (38mm/42mm) compared to $37.98/$37.98 for rose gold and $36.62/$37.71 for black.

A note about quality

This should go without saying, but since we are showcasing $30 bands for a $350-and-up watch, the quality on these bands is nowhere near that of Apple's own accessories. Regardless of how you feel about the pricing on official Apple Watch bands, they were designed in tandem with the watch itself, and they fit and match the device accordingly.

We have used the top-rated, unsanctioned Apple Watch band in this list -- the iVAPO/eLander stainless steel band -- and while we would have no problems recommending it at its bargain price, it should be noted that the accessory does not slide into the Apple Watch as reassuringly as Apple's own bands.




Apple's site notes that "the grooves in each case are precision engineered and CNC machined to ensure a perfect fit with any band." Needless to say, cheap knock-off bands were not built with the same level of craftsmanship.

However, after sliding the band into place on the Apple Watch, we never had issues with the stainless steel accessory becoming unexpectedly unattached, and inserting the band did not leave any visible scratches or blemishes to the device itself.

As a cheap way to accessorize and differentiate your Apple Watch, we believe budget-minded consumers will be generally satisfied with this level of quality.

The Rest




Plusinno's leather band is a standard buckle-style band, available in brown or black. It comes with band adapters --?so you can swap any other watch band in --?and had 44 Amazon reviews with an average 5-star rating at press time.

Both 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter models go for $24.77 with free shipping.




Oittm's milanese loop-style band features a stainless steel mesh design similar to Apple's own milanese loop, but it uses a more traditional clasp rather than magnets. At press time, it had 183 Amazon reviews with an average 4.5-star rating.

Both 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter models go for $29.99 with free shipping.




Ottim's stainless steel folding clasp band is reminiscent of any stainless steel link band that you've ever seen, and is available in silver, black, rose gold, and gold color options. At press time, it had 183 Amazon reviews with an average 4.5-star rating.

Both 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter silver versions goes for $35.99, while gold, black, and rose gold go for $46.99. All versions are available with free shipping.




Rotibox's 24-millimeter stainless steel bracelet is a smaller link bracelet style for those who prefer narrower watch bands. At press time, it had 48 Amazon reviews with an average 4.5-star rating.

Both 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter models go for $41.99 with free shipping.




Pomarks's stainless steel band with butterfly buckle is another narrower band, available in both black and silver variants. At press time, it had 33 Amazon reviews with an average 5-star rating.

Both 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter black variants go for $38.99, while silver models go for $36.00 and all are available with free shipping.

Bonus: adapters for normal watch bands

Luvvit makes band adapters, available in both polished stainless and space black, that will allow any standard watch band to work with the Apple Watch. Just unscrew the two screws that hold the pin in place, insert the pin through the band of your choice, and screw it back into the clip mechanism.

Both 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter models go for $14.99 with free shipping.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    gregqgregq Posts: 62member

    Thanks for the writeup - on the strength of this just ordered a Pomarks black band for my space grey watch.

  • Reply 2 of 67
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    And it really looks like a Mickey Mouse watch.
  • Reply 3 of 67
    jace88jace88 Posts: 37member
    Where a band is sold under multiple brands would you be able to provide some names to help us identify? I personally bought a Hoco stainless steel band (S$50) and a Baseus Milanese loop clasp (S$20) which both look identical to two bands featured in this article so I wonder if they are one and the same.

    In case anyone is wondering I am most impressed with the Hoco band which whilst requiring manual adjustment to remove links, feels like it's worth a lot more than the price I paid. The cheap Milanese buckle one however looks better in photos than it feels to touch in real life.

    [IMG]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/61256/width/200/height/400[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/61254/width/200/height/400[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/61255/width/200/height/400[/IMG]
  • Reply 4 of 67
    Still waiting for my Oittm's stainless steel band actually.
    But love changing the bands for different occasions.
    Black and White were not enough, bought the apple green sport band making for four colors, Black, White, Green and Silver... really love the florescent like white and green colors too. Apple's stainless steel isn't offered as polished steel. Brushed steel is nice but matches the sport better, not the Apple Watch.. hence I gave the Oitmm a shot.
  • Reply 5 of 67
    I had generally stopped wearing watches, largely because I kept taking them off because the clasps scratched on my Mac Book Pro near the keyboard. The thing I like about the Apple straps is the sport band and standard leather bands don't do this, though I'm sure the metal ones would have the same problem.

    The leather band seems very expensive for what it is, but having said that, the elegance of the design and the magnetic connection is amazing.

    Useful to see these alternatives never the less.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,405member
    'Apple's selection of bands is limited'?! On what planet?

    I think we have a phenomenal set of watch strap choices from Apple, and I'll take any one of those over the unappealing-looking ones features here.
  • Reply 7 of 67
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    They all look like garbage compared to Apple's offerings. I wish people would come up with unique designs rather than just trying to copy Apple's but at a cheaper price.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    wwchriswwchris Posts: 60member
    You want to some really cool and custom Apple Watch bands, check out these:

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackForestAtelier
  • Reply 9 of 67
    The link bands shown (the first and the rose gold one later) are all the same band made by the same company but sold by generic third-party vendors who put their name on them. Don't pay the prices listed, I got my jet black one for $16 on Amazon for my Apple Watch Sport.
  • Reply 10 of 67
    wwchriswwchris Posts: 60member
    I bought these three last week and am happy with all of them.
    The stainless steel one comes with a tool to remove links which was very cool.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XU8Q2YM?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

    The light brown leather one was only $19 which is almost the same price as buying the stand-alone band adapter without a band, so might as well get the band for $5 even if you don't use it. Having said that it is almost identical to Apple's classic leather band.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZZEFKQU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    The fact that Apple didn't make a brown leather version of the classic leather seems like a big oversight (I do not like Apple's Leather Loop) so bought the third for a more traditional look.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YS7XY1I/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • Reply 11 of 67
    jace88jace88 Posts: 37member
    'Apple's selection of bands is limited'?! On what planet?

    I think we have a phenomenal set of watch strap choices from Apple, and I'll take any one of those over the unappealing-looking ones features here.

    There's quite a few apple offerings and they're quite diverse but it's still early days and we haven't really seen what the third party market will innovate on. I actually quite like that there are some interesting alternatives - not just the stainless steel and leather ones but even some of the customisable plastic ones which will make swatch look a bit common!
  • Reply 12 of 67
    danielswdanielsw Posts: 906member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post



    'Apple's selection of bands is limited'?! On what planet?



    I think we have a phenomenal set of watch strap choices from Apple, and I'll take any one of those over the unappealing-looking ones features here.



    I agree. It's hard to beat the fit and finish of Apple products. I chose the green sport band and love it with my Sport 42.

  • Reply 13 of 67
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,118member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wwchris View Post



    You want to some really cool and custom Apple Watch bands, check out these:



    https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackForestAtelier



    Wow, some of those do look great, and appear to be good alternatives to Apple's offerings rather than just cheaper takes on the same thing.

  • Reply 14 of 67
    Apple's bands are really, really well made. I was impressed by the quality when I went to try on the Watch back in May. The sport band is still my everyday use band, but I was thinking getting a black stainless steel link bracelet to go with social events.
  • Reply 15 of 67
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    Apple's bands are really, really well made. I was impressed by the quality when I went to try on the Watch back in May. The sport band is still my everyday use band, but I was thinking getting a black stainless steel link bracelet to go with social events.

     

    How sad is it that Apple has innovated more on watch bands in their first try in this market than the watch industry has done in the last 100 years? I mean, ALL THESE COMPANIES MAKE is watches, and yet they couldn't be bothered to come up with a link bracelet that doesn't need tools to adjust. The magnetic milanese loop is brilliant. The Sport band is insanely comfortable. Utterly pathetic, and shows that Apple NEEDS and SHOULD disrupt industries, for the sake of everyone.  Even if people hate Apple's offerings, you can't deny that it motivates the other players to get off their lazy asses and try to do something different. 

  • Reply 16 of 67
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    wwchris wrote: »
    You want to some really cool and custom Apple Watch bands, check out these:

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackForestAtelier

    Really like this one: https://www.etsy.com/listing/238113447/handmade-vintage-leather-strap

    Kinda like this one too, even though it's not really my style: https://www.etsy.com/listing/240382733/handmade-python-skin-band-p5-limited?ref=related_listing
  • Reply 17 of 67
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member

    $700 watch with a $30 band. Right, Jony would approve. NOT!

     

    I took one look at that Milanese loop band with the mechanical latch and noticed it was the same as my old $25 Casio. Then I looked at my newly purchased ?Watch Standard 42mm stainless steel with Jony’s Milanese loop band and thought, “Yeah, I like this better, a lot better.”

     

    BTW it was very pleasant buying experience. I walked into the Apple Store at the Galleria in St. Louis. Told them I wanted to look at the watches. Nice young man helped me try on the watch, showed me a few features. With my wife’s permission and encouragement of course I  said let’s do it. Paid for it with ?Pay on the spot, including AppleCare+ of course. They brought the box out in a nice white Apple bag and sent me over to another counter where a young lady helped me unbox it, turn it on, pair and sync it with my iPhone 6. Short, sweet, efficient, no issues, it just worked and I walked out of the store in less than 30 minutes. Couldn’t be happier.

  • Reply 18 of 67
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,675member
    knowitall wrote: »
    And it really looks like a Mickey Mouse watch.

    When configuring a watch face, I think that's what you get when selecting ...Mickey Mouse¡



    Also look here. Though the article is 3 months old, it has some nice takes on watch bands.

    http://9to5mac.com/2015/04/19/third-party-bands-replacement-straps-battery-packs-apple-watch/
  • Reply 19 of 67
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member

    And we already have an instant cottage industry building up around the ?Watch ecosystem. Where do I go to get an Android Wear third party watch band? I saw almost none on Amazon and those were like $12 cheapies.

  • Reply 20 of 67
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    lkrupp wrote: »
    And we already have an instant cottage industry building up around the ?Watch ecosystem. Where do I go to get an Android Wear third party watch band? I saw almost none on Amazon and those were like $12 cheapies.

    Apple creates billion-dollar accessories markets without even trying.
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