Many Apple enthusiasts are faithful to the Apple brand and would never buy “fake” Apple Watch bands. I understand that; Apple’s quality is top-notch, and they stand behind their products with excellent customer service. However, I know that some of you do want the Apple look, but desire a good quality, lower-priced alternative to Apple’s bands. This article is for you.
I’ve seen many articles that compile internet reviews of cheaper copies of Apple Watch Bands, but none in which the writer has tried out all of the bands. Since I have been lucky enough to receive a number of bands as a reviewer for Appadvice and WatchAware, and I bought some myself, I have a lot of bands. I thought I’d put all of my favorite Apple copycat bands in one article for readers to peruse.
The Sport Band
Apple’s $49 Sport Band isn’t all that expensive to begin with, but for people who want a variety of colors to suit their wardrobes, the cost can add up quickly. While the first knock-offs were pretty bad, the Sport Band copycat market has gotten better in the year since initial release. There are plenty of duds out there, and I’ve bought some, but I’ve also found one that is practically indistinguishable from Apple’s Sport Band.
The LNKOO band on Amazon is my favorite of all the sport-style bands I’ve tried. It mimics the smooth, solid feel of Apple’s fluoroelastomer band and the subtle grayed lavender shade Apple created. It fits into the watch well, and the attachment mechanism has gotten smoother with wear, not rougher as I said I feared in my initial review. It comes in 15 colors, both 38mm and 42mm sizes, and costs just $9.98. One thing to note: this band ships only with the S/M band. If you need the larger band, then keep reading.
This Lavender LNKOO band looks so much like Apple's.
These Apple Watch bands from Lucrin are beautiful
I’ve reviewed a few classic-style leather bands, none of which are exact replicas of Apple’s $149 Classic Buckle. Here are the closest duplicates in my collection.
The best of the bunch is unsurprisingly the most expensive; quality leather isn’t cheap. Lucrin’s Apple Watch Bands are more expensive than Apple’s Classic Buckle. But I love these gorgeous bands and the wide array of colors from which to choose; there are 28 colors and up to four different leather grains. Prices start at $166.63.
Two far cheaper alternatives that I also like are from MakerGrafix and Jisoncase. The MakerGrafix leather is a bit stiff, but the band is still attractive and comfortable to wear. What stands out about the MakerGrafix band is the customization. You can have your band engraved on the inside with the logo or characters of your choice. MakerGrafix bands are $49.99 and come in black, brown, red, and white.
The Jisoncase band was the cheapest I reviewed; it’s soft, comfortable, and it looks good. If you just want a simple knock-off, and you don’t want to spend a lot, this is the one. Quality-wise it’s good, except for a missing stitch. One missing stitch can multiply over time. The Jisoncase bands come in a few different colors starting at $21.99.
I’ve had the opportunity to review two Leather Loop knock-offs from different companies, and one of them was so bad that I declined to review it. The one I do like is from the bizarrely named OULUOQI.
While Apple’s $149 Leather Loop is constructed from real leather, OULUOQI’s replica is not. Still, for so much less money, it’s quite a nice band. It fits beautifully. It’s soft and comfortable to wear. The magnet is strong, and I have experienced no band slippage or false haptic tapping while wearing it.
You’ll know the difference if you compare the OULUOQI and Apple band right next to each other, but when it’s on your wrist, very few people will notice the difference. In the comparison photo below, the Apple band is the darker band on top.
MoKo Milanese Loop in Colorful
Apple’s $149 Milanese Loop is a popular choice; it’s neutral, a bit dressy, and not terribly expensive. But the knock-offs are far cheaper, and often look just like the original. As far as I can tell from what I’ve read and what I’ve experienced myself, the big drawback to every copy on the market is that the magnet is not shielded as well as it is on Apple’s. In other words, your wrist is going to stick to metal objects from time to time. I don’t find it to be a huge issue, but if that’s going to bother you, stick with the real deal.
Two separate bands I received from different sellers were unworthy of review, as the adapters did not properly fit the watch or the bands did not lock into place. I won’t review a watch band that I feel endangers the Apple Watch.
I did receive a third one from Amazon seller Marge Plus, which I like very much. I wear this band frequently, as it’s both comfortable and beautiful. I had planned on recommending it in this article, but when I went to check the links, I found that the seller has removed the item from Amazon since I wrote the original review. If it comes back, know that it’s a great option in several colors, starting at just $15.99.
I had the opportunity to review another Milanese-style band, this one from MoKo. The adapters aren’t the smoothest, but they fit securely. I got the band in the shade called Colorful, which catches the light and appears different colors at different angles. I love this band. Not everyone will want such a rainbow-colored band, but it comes in many shades, including the typical ones. MoKo’s Milanese Loop is $19.99 on Amazon.
When Apple first released the $449 Link Bracelet, the third-party market was quick to release copies. However, these early replicas were pretty shoddy, by most accounts. Unlike Apple’s push-button link removal system, you needed a tool and some jewelry repair skills to adjust these link bracelets to fit. Many early buyers took their bracelets to a jeweler to have them adjusted to fit. Additionally, the clasp was not even close to Apple’s elegant butterfly clasp, and it jabbed user’s wrists.
I got in on the so-called “fourth generation” of Link Bracelet replicas with this band from OULUOQI. This means that I was able to remove the extra links easily with a push-button mechanism just like Apple’s. The butterfly clasp operates like the genuine Apple one and lays flush against my wrist without poking me.
This Link Bracelet copy is close to the real deal. It’s a slightly darker shade of silver, as you can see in the photos below that picture the OULUOQI band on the left and Apple on the right. The links have tiny gaps between them. As I continued to wear it after writing my initial review, it got more and more comfortable. If you don’t mind the small gaps, this is a worthy substitute for the Apple Link Bracelet. It’s available on Amazon in black or silver for the 38mm or 42mm watch.
When Apple and Hermès first announced their partnership, the only way you could get an Hermès band was to buy the special Hermès Apple Watch. Now, you can purchase the genuine Hermès bands on their own, including the Double Tour band for $490.
But well before that, Lucrin released its own version of the Double Tour band. It’s not cheap, of course, and I hesitate to use the word “knock-off” at all. This is a luxurious watch band.
Like the Classic Lucrin band, the Double Tour comes in 28 colors and up to four different leather grains. Unlike some of the far cheaper replicas I’ve read about, Lucrin’s Double Tour band is comfortable to wear and the second wrap has never slipped under the watch on me. Once I put it on, it needs no adjustment throughout the day.
I had reviewed the Lucrin band before the Hermès band was available for purchase on its own. Lucrin’s band still ends up being cheaper than the Hermès, starting at $244. You get high quality without paying for the Hermès name.
With vivid colors, full-grain leather, and excellent craftsmanship, Lucrin Apple Watch bands are premium products.
There are a lot of third-party Apple Watch bands on the market, with huge variations in quality and price. While there are a lot of shoddy copies, there are also some fabulous bands worth their cost. Hopefully this compilation has given you some options to check out.
If you want to check out a larger collection of our favorite Apple Watch bands, check out our Guide on WatchAware.