Growing up I thought of watches as metal. To me, there weren’t any other kinds of watches (at least none that were cool). I knew that Rolex made watches with metal bands and so did Fossil (which the kids around my school had chosen as the brand of choice). Fast forward to 2015 and watches comes in all kinds of varieties. Swatch, for example, has myriad watch bands and colors to choose from. And the Apple Watch, which came along and changed watches as we know them, debuted with a Sport model that was composed of fluoroelastomer.
I, like many people who wanted an Apple Watch at the most affordable price, went with the Sport model thinking I’d switch out bands here and there for new looks. I’ve tested several third party Apple Watch bands to date but until recently I hadn’t yet tested a metal band.
The Ultra Case Stainless Steel Link Bracelet band for Apple Watch arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I had it out of the package and onto my wrist within a few minutes. That means that this band is easy to install.
Unlike some third party Apple Watch bands, this stainless steel band from Ultra Case slides into place smoothly. As smooth as it is, however, the band doesn’t fit exactly flush with the Apple Watch (at least not if you look closely); the sides stick out just a teeny tiny little bit where the band meets the Watch. It’s not a big deal, but it’s one noticeable way in which you can tell Apple’s own precision isn’t in the mix here.
The standout feature of this steel Apple Watch strap is the “seamless” clasp: when it’s fully secured on your wrist you can’t even tell there’s a clasp. So when it’s worn, the clasp is practically invisible and I like that a lot. It’s a great way to add a bit of flair to your Apple Watch setup.
The Ultra Case steel band is comfortable to wear. It’s not heavy, but it adds just the right about of weight to your wrist. I actually find that I like the added weight better than the lighter Apple Watch Sport band for everyday use (but not high-intensity activity, of course); it lets you know it’s there.
And I like the looks. Even with an Apple Watch that isn’t a stainless steel model itself, this band makes for a nice-looking combo. I’ve got it paired with the Space Grey Aluminum model and I find the look to be nice and eclectic; not too matchy-matchy.
Importantly, the links in the band are easy to remove/add for sizing purposes. I simply used a paperclip to pop links free and completely changing out two links (removing them) took me just a few minutes.
The band is crafted out of 316L stainless steel allow; if you’re keen you know that’s the same allow used by Apple in it’s Stainless Steel Apple Watch casing. That means it’s corrosion resistant. But even so, you’re going to want to be careful when you’re wearing this watch. While testing the Swagway for a review on DailyTekk, I fell off the board and landed on the palms of my hands. Neither my Apple Watch or the Ultra Case band I was wearing at the time made contact with the asphalt, but one of the pins in the band did come loose. I was later able to reattach the pin and link without issue, but it does go to show that this watch is not made for rough or active pursuits (in those cases stick with the sporty bands).
If you’re looking for a nice Apple Watch band that costs $320 less than the official Apple Link Bracelet (this Ultra Case band retails for $129), then this is a great bet. It fits good, looks good and has a really clever hidden clasp. Just be careful you don’t wear it when you’re doing something intense or vigorous.