Color me excited about the third-party Apple Watch bands that are finally starting to roll out. Apple calls the Apple Watch its most personal product yet, but as a woman, I find the customization options available with Apple’s bands to be somewhat lacking. Most of Apple’s bands look like they have been designed for men. In fact, I was initially hesitant to buy an Apple Watch for just that reason – it just looked too masculine for me. I finally ordered mine with the white Sports Band, which is gender-neutral enough that I don’t feel like I’m wearing Daddy’s watch. But still, I have been scouring the Internet for more options. I was thrilled when Apple released guidelines to third-party companies, and a whole new world of creativity opened up. This rainbow roundup of bands is sure to appeal to a variety of tastes, both for men and women. Unless otherwise noted, every watch band is available in both watch sizes, 38mm, and 42mm.
MakerGrafix customizes your Apple Watch band in a cool way
MakerGrafix Genuine Italian Leather Apple Watch Band
MakerGrafix Italian leather bands are “tattooed” on the inside with the artwork and text of your choice. It’s similar in style to Apple’s Classic Buckle but substantially less expensive. Choose from four colors: black, brown, red, or white for $49.99. Currently, you can order your MakerGrafix band with black or silver stainless steel adapters. Brushed aluminum, in both silver and space gray to coordinate with the Apple Watch Sport, is coming soon.
Read our hands-on review of MakerGrafix bands.
Lucrin specializes in luxury leather
Lucrin Apple Watch band
Lucrin offers an incredible rainbow array of high-end leather bands for the Apple Watch. The basic style is similar to Apple’s Classic Buckle, however, the variety of options is anything but basic. This is not the band for bargain hunters, but if you want something special, you’ll want to check out the fantastic selection of colors and leathers. There are 30 different colors to choose from, ranging from subtle neutrals to bold colors. Also, there are different leather choices, each at a different price point: smooth, granulated, goat, and real ostrich. Adapters come in shiny silver or space black shades. Prices range from $166.63 to $255.75, which is on par with Apple’s leather band prices.
Read our hands-on review of Lucrin's Apple Watch bands.
Leathersy's Zen style stands out from the crowd
Leathersy Apple Watch strap
Leathersy on Etsy brings “Handmade Vegetable tanned genuine leather craft in Minimalist & Zen style.” These stylish bands will not be confused with Apple’s offerings. Inserted is a single peg into a hole punched to your exact wrist size. The original leather color above starts out yellow but develops a natural brown patina with time. Or, select coffee, navy, black, or a reddish amaranthine shade. The adapters come in shiny silver to go with the Apple Watch stainless steel version; or choose frosted silver or space gray to go with the Sport. These run $85.
Read our hands-on review of Leathersy bands.
BlackForestAtelier brings handcrafted leather to the Apple Watch
BlackForestAtelier Handmade Leather Leather Strap for Apple Watch
This eye-catching green is only one of the utterly unique handmade leather options from BlackForestAtelier on Etsy. The vintage leather bands are available in numerous colors and styles for $89.90. If those don’t stand out enough for you, there are also ostrich, frog, and python leather bands ranging in price up to $109.90. The adapters are a shiny silver color.
Futuristic fashion-forward designs abound at Cubify
Cubify Flex Bands for Apple Watch
On the complete opposite end of the style spectrum, you’ll find this futuristic offering from Cubify. These bands are 3-D printed in flexible nylon. No adapters are needed, as they slide directly into the watch like Apple’s Sport Bands. Four different styles and four different colors (black, gray, pink, and blue) are available for preorder at $39.99.
Casetify's bands are wearable art
Casetify Apple Watch Band
Casetify was one of the first companies to offer third-party watch bands. These lovely, sporty bands bring me back to my Swatch-wearing days. Choose from a variety of artist’s designs, or create one with personal photos or artwork. The bands are made from “high-performing, sweat resistant, durable polycarbonate.” The adapters are made from stainless steel, but the only colors currently are matte silver and matte black. Casetify’s bands are $70, but I’ve seen some discount coupons on the Web, so be sure to search for the current one before ordering.
KESS commissions artists to make beautiful Apple Watch bands
KESS InHouse Apple Watch Straps
Similar in style to Casetify, these wearable art bands from Kess offer over 4500 colorful designs by featured artists. No adapters are needed as they slide directly into the watch. These sporty bands are the most bargain-priced on this list at just $34.
Sykla ports several traditional band styles to the Apple Watch
Sykla Apple Watch Leather Band
Sykla offers two different leather styles (snake and alligator) in five different colors (black, brown, white, red, and pink) ranging in price from $54.99 to $63.99. Adapters are available in stainless steel, matte silver, and matte space gray. Sykla plans to offer their version of Apple’s Milanese Loop soon.
Case-Mate offers high-fashion looks
Case-Mate Apple Watch Band Collection
Case-Mate’s offerings will make a bold fashion statement. Whether bold is beautiful is up to you, the beholder. See all of the unusual styles for yourself. The offerings differ by size. The 38mm models tend to skew female, while 42mm models are more masculine. The adapter colors vary by style while some styles don’t even need adapters. Ranging in price from $35 to $80, these bands will make your Apple Watch stand out from the crowd.
Bling your Apple Watch with AppleCharmers
AppleCharmers Apple Watch Band
AppleCharmers on Etsy brings a charming homespun look to the Apple Watch. Several beaded designs are available on a leather band in black, navy, red, or brown with stainless adapters for $64.99 or a Milanese-style band for $74.99. More styles are coming soon.
We went hands-on with one of AppleCharmers' bands.
Pad & Quill
Pad & Quill is well-known for its quality craftsmanship. Their Apple Watch bands are sure to be no different. This bonus 11th option promises to be something pretty special.
Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks and months. I’ll be reviewing some of these bands as I can get my hands on them.