With watchOS 3 and the new Apple Watch hardware, I'm using my Apple Watch more than ever. I have also slowly been assembling a collection of watch bands. While Apple has some pretty impressive watch straps, they are also a bit pricey. Alternatively, there are several third party manufacturers making Apple Watch straps but they make me nervous. The last thing I want to do is put a strap on my expensive Apple Watch made with cheap lugs that break or disconnect.
Last year Nomad started selling Apple Watch bands. I've bought products from Nomad before and been happy with their quality. Moreover, the design was impressive and I really like their rugged leather straps. So when my family started asking me for gift ideas last year, I asked for the Nomad leather strap. I was a good boy and one showed up under my tree. It's been my primary band for the last year.
Recently I purchased a brand-new stainless steel Series 2 Apple Watch. The nice people at Nomad offered to send me a few of their most recent straps to take a look.
The Nomad Leather Straps
Nomad now has two leather straps. The Modern Build is a brown or gray leather strap with a refined design. The stitching is subtle and the strap compares to Apple's own brown leather buckle strap. Consider this the fancy one.
The Traditional Build leather strap is the successor to the original Nomad leather strap and features a more rugged design with heavy stitching and padded leather.
Both watches use Horween leather from Chicago. The leather in both this new sample band and my one-year-old Nomad leather strap looks great. It ages nicely and if you like leather bands, you'll be happy with the look and feel of one of these Nomad straps. They only get better with time.
Both leather bands are sold with either silver or black stainless steel hardware lugs and buckles. My older Nomad strap has black hardware, which looked great with my space gray alluminum watch. The new one is silver and can match either the stainless steel or standard aluminum Apple Watch.
I like the lugs in this new Nomad watch band better than the ones they used last year. Third party lugs often look a little cheap and that's what scares me most about third party bands. These new Nomad lugs are solid and wider than typical third party watch bands with a bit of a shoulder giving the watch a little extra dimension on the top and bottom. It's both solid and different … in a good way. I feel my watch is secure with the Nomad lugs and I like the way it looks.
Vulcanized LSR Silicone Strap
Nomad also makes an active wear strap designed from vulcanized silicone. As the name implies, the Vulcanized LSR Silicone strap is made of silicone (as opposed to petrolium-based) rubber, which has fewer chemicals and is better for your skin. This also makes the strap more water resistant. This strap also comes in silver and black stainless steel hardware options. Nomad explains on their website that this design should also allow the strap to hold up to weather and heavy use. The overall design is sporty and rugged. There is a bit of texture.
Overall, the design feels different in both texture and feel to Apple's fluoroelastomer. I've been wearing the Nomad Silicone strap on my daily workout for several weeks now with no troubles. When this strap gets sweaty or dirty, I just wear it in the shower and it cleans right up. It still looks like new but you'd expect that after just a few weeks.
I like both of Nomad's new Apple Watch straps and will be putting them in the daily rotation. Nomad gets obsessive with their design and to me that is always a good thing. I think their most impressive feature is the wide lugs they use in both watches. If you're looking for a nice strap for your Apple Watch, I'd recommend either of these. See the below gallery for my review samples and more thoughts.