Alternative Bands for the Apple Watch from MonoWear Design
By Graham K. Rogers
When I first had the Apple Watch, I was loaned a selection of bands. I have recently bought some of my own, with some from Apple and a couple of others from MonoWear Design. These leather bands are a cheaper alternative to those from Apple.
While some people are lucky enough to have several watches to wear, I use a single Apple Watch at any time these days. I like the convenience of message displays as well as the health data that is recorded during the day. I also like the flexibility that changing bands offers me, particularly as I can mix and match these with clothes.
I was able to try the Apple Watch almost as soon as it arrived in Thailand and in the last year or so also tried the Apple Watch 2. As this came in black I bought myself the Milanese Loop (7900 baht) to go with a number of bands I had been loaned. When these were returned a few months ago, I purchased the Apple Watch 3 as soon as it was released with a black polymer band which was added to the blue one I had picked up last year and the black metal band.
Although I had been interested in a conservative brown leather band from Apple, I actually bought a bright yellow band (5900 baht) from iStudio in Siam Paragon, because. . . well, why not?
A few weeks ago I saw an item on Cult of Mac about alternative bands for the Apple Watch. Cult of Mac sell a wide range of bands and neck chains for Apple Watch. I also had a look at the links in the article and rather liked some of the bands from MonoWear Design: there were several materials options and colours for the bands they had.
I was again thinking about a brown leather band, but this second time, with prices considerably lower than Apple's own products I selected two (again not brown): a grey band of perforated leather ($52); and a navy leather band ($45). The total order (with shipping) came to 3,321.85 baht. Delivery was made to my office on 29 January, just 7 days after I placed the order.
I was told a while back that the unique connectors for the Apple Watch can be purchased from Apple. I was able to select grey connectors for my Monowear order to match the Apple Watch 3 I have: an option I have not seen with Apple Watch bands here, other than the black ones like my Milanese Loop.
There are other minor differences, such as with the clasps which seem less substantial than those with an Apple leather band. Those on the new straps are held on with what look like standard watchmakers pins with springs at either end. I know this because I dropped the Watch and the clasp came off. I was able easily to reconnect it, and although I have tried hard this has not come off again. As it does use standard parts, it would be easy to have this repaired at a watchmaker should this happen again, although I was able to do this myself.
As I had a striped blue shirt on when the bands arrived, I tried the navy band first. It was slightly thinner than the yellow band and a little stiff out of the box. After several hours use I did not even notice I was wearing it. The grey perforated leather band looks and feels slightly thicker. It isn't, but the design and feel give that impression. Stitching on this band is neat and tidy. Both of the straps are marked as "Genuine Leather" and also bear the company logo.
Both straps offer me a cheaper alternative to the more expensive Apple leather bands. There are several more offered by MonoWear as well as options from other outlets. Many appear to be cheaper than the handsome versions from Apple.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)