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Best Apple Watch straps: Third party bands to pimp your watch for less

There’s nothing that changes any watch’s look like a new strap or band, and even the Apple Watch can be given a dramatic makeover with a little customisation.

Like most Apple Watch owners you’ve probably coveted the official straps, and most likely balked at the price. But there are tonnes of third party bands for sale now, and the good news is they’re far cheaper than the official ones.

In-depth: What we can expect from the Apple Watch 2

We’re trying out as many bands as we can to really get a feel for what they’re like to wear, customise and adjust, so look back for more diverse straps every month.

Nyloon Correa Nato

Ever fallen in love with a watch strap? We did the moment we clapped eyes on the Correa Nato strap from Nyloon. Designed in the style of the ever popular Daniel Wellington watches, the fabric strap oozes class. For us, the good old tricolour gets our vote, but there are other combinations to choose from too.

$34.90, etsy.com

LuxWoods Apple Watch Band

For those looking for something different, it doesn’t come much more unique than LuxWoods’ range of straps. A classic link bracelet made from black ebony wood, it feels delightful, with each link smoothed and polished. What’s more, it’s light and comes with a high quality buckle. Word of warning, however, the adjustment is really tough and it’s easy to damage the band.

$64.97, etsy.com

Baseus Milanese Loop

Available from Mobile Fun which ships worldwide, the Baseus Milanese loop is a solid alternative to Apple’s popular band yet a fraction of the price. For just $73.99 you get a quality strap which crucially stays in place thanks to a strong magnetic clasp that ensures it stays in place.

$73.99, MobileFun

Casetify Classic Lady

It’s hard to ignore this muted and classy Casetify strap, which puts a more feminine spin on the classic red, white and blue. Made from a refined plastic, it’s durable and offers a genuine dose of class welcome among the legions of metal chainmail and leather that dominate the third party strap market. There’s also a red, white and blue Classic 1970s men’s version, too.

$70 | Casetify

BlackForestAtelier Handmade Vintage

To Etsy then, where BlackForestAtelier is making some of the best-looking Apple Watch straps we’ve laid our eyes on thus far. These hand-made bands can be produced to be compatible with every type and size of Apple.

You get a choice of colours, leather and designs when you place your order — you also get a special screwdriver and lugs adapter to make switching straps straightforward. Based on the reviews from previous customers, these are well worth the money.

$89.90 | etsy.com

Penom Mesh Milanese Loop

The official Apple Milanese Loop strap caught our attention like no other and has done the most to portray the Watch as a stylish accessory, rather than a gadget. Well, this unofficial alternative is available at Amazon for just $28 – which we’d consider an absolute steal.

$28.93 | Amazon

Pad&Quill leather cuff

A bold statement of a watch strap, the Pad&Quill leather cuff is for those who like a bit of chunk on their arm. Reminiscent of Fossil watch straps, the supple leather is top quality, which is certainly echoed with the price tag.

$129.95, padandquill.com

IVSO Leather Watch Strap

If you’re looking for a comfortable real leather watch strap, but have cleared out your savings after purchasing an Apple Watch, IVSO’s great value leather strap might be worth a punt. Available in red, brown or black, this classic leather strap has a stainless steel buckle and attaches using the more conventional steel needle mount; available in variants to suit either the 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch.

$12.50 | Amazon

JETech Leather Loop Strap

For those who like the feel of leather but are on the hunt for something a little different, the Leather Loop strap from JETech might just fit the bill. This unique leather strap eschews a buckle in favour of an adjustable magnetic clasp to hold the strap at your desired size, and you can choose from either black or blue colours. It is only available for the 42mm variant of the Apple Watch at present, but promises comfort and style for those with the larger of the two models.

$12.99 | Amazon

Spigen Rugged Band

If you would like to replace the silicone band on the standard Apple Watch Sport with something a little more rugged and masculine, Spigen’s hybrid polymer replacement strap should definitely be on the list. Suitable for Apple’s 42mm watch and retaining the “pin and tuck” buckle system, this is a solid strap for anyone who wants to preserve the sporty look without spending the earth on a strap that might not keep up with their of an athletic lifestyle.

$24.99 | Amazon

Leathersy Minimalist Leather Strap

Keep the focus entirely on your Apple watch whilst feeling the comfort of leather with one of Leathersey’s handmade minimalist straps. Made from vegetable leather and available in a variety of colours including tan, navy blue and black, this stylish strap is designed to perfectly fit the wearer’s wrist thanks to the included punch tool. 38mm and 42mm options are available, and you can even choose the colour of the lugs, too.

£41.29 | etsy.com

Juuk Revo

For fans of a good old fashioned metal link strap, Juuk has it nailed. Their aluminium watch strap looks superb, and the links are super easy to remove with the supplied screwdriver. At $195 it’s not cheap, but given that Apple wants $449(!) for an almost identical strap, link lovers will lust after Juuk’s band.

Lucrin Leather

Lucrin offer a variety of sizes and colours in their leather band range, so you can pick one to suit your sartorial style and your 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch casing. Your first choice is between a Classic or a more refined Elegance design, then there’s a choice of leathers — smooth, granulated, goat, real ostrich — and then you can go about picking from one of the 30 different colour options. They’re not cheap but they look the part.

$166.63 | lucrin.com

Pad & Quill Classic

Pad & Quill is well known for its high-quality Apple accessories, and this Classic Apple Watch Band is one of its newest efforts (so new it doesn’t ship until the end of August). You can choose from British tan, whiskey, chocolate and galloper black for your colour, and there’s a selection of metal buckle types to pick from as well. Each band is signed by the maker, a “fourth generation Italian leather tannery artisan” according to Pad & Quill.

$99.95 | padandquill.com

Oittm Stainless Steel Metal

If you fancy a nice stainless steel strap for your Apple Watch but can’t afford the $449 asking price of the official link bracelet, try these cheaper alternatives for Oittm. We can’t vouch personally for how good they are but there are hundreds of reviews online attesting to their quality. The straps come with a folding clasp and there’s a choice of colours for both the 38mm and the 42mm models — you can even get a gold finish if you want.

$35.99 | Amazon

Gorillatronics silicon strap

Silicon bands are great for sporty types, but Apple’s are a little too expensive to have different colour options for different outfits. Gorillatronics’ straps come in a range of hues and at $13 a pop you can grab a bunch for the same price as a single official band.

$13 | Amazon

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