The Nomad Titanium Band got a refresh this month, with a much neater magnet-assisted snap closure mechanism, a more streamlined design, and a coating designed to improve durability.

Let’s begin by acknowledging that this is an expensive Apple Watch band – until you compare it with Apple’s stainless steel Link Bracelet …

Apple’s Link Bracelet costs $349 in silver, or $449 in black. For that, you’re getting a high-quality stainless steel band, an internal butterfly closure mechanism, and a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating for added wear resistance.

Nomad’s version of this in stainless steel comes in at $149, but spending an extra hundred bucks lets you upgrade to titanium (with the same DLC coating) for $249. Unlike Apple, there’s no premium for black, either.

Look and feel

Titanium gets you the same look as stainless steel, but with a worthwhile weight savings.

Visually, there is little to distinguish the Nomad band from the Apple one. Both have the same classic link design, which has an, uh, timeless look in silver, and a more contemporary one in black.

It feels as good as it looks, the finish and build quality matching that of the Apple bracelet. If you’re buying it for a stainless steel Apple Watch, then either color looks great; with the aluminum version, I’d say the black one is a better pairing.

The big surprise comes when you pick it up. It looks chunky, and you expect it to feel weighty, but it really doesn’t. The exact weight will depend on how many links you remove when sizing to fit, but mine weighs 57g, or a fraction over two ounces.

In use, this makes it even more comfortable to wear than a stainless steel link band.

Fitting

As with any link bracelet, fitting is a bit of a pain, as you have to figure out how many links you need, and then remove the excess by using the supplied tool to remove pins, set aside the excess links, and then reinsert pins.

Figuring out how many links you need typically involves a bit of trial-and-error, so expect this process to take about 15-20 minutes if it’s your first time adjusting this type of band – or perhaps 10 minutes if you’ve done it all before. The simple tool you need comes in the box.

The good news, of course, is that you only have to do it once, though it’s worth keeping the excess links and tool safe in case you ever want to give away or sell the band.

Clasp mechanism

The original version of the Nomad Titanium Band band had the hinged clasp mechanism familiar to anyone who has ever worn a watch with a link bracelet. It’s easy to open, and easy to close: putting on the watch and taking it off again is very quick.

Nomad aimed to improve on this with the latest version. Instead of the hinged clasp, there’s a much neater magnetic one. You still have the same press-in tabs at the side, to ensure it can’t accidentally come undone, but the mechanism itself is simpler and cleaner.

Putting the watch on, this works brilliantly. It’s even easier and faster than the traditional hinged mechanism. Just press the two ends together, the magnets snap it into place and the spring-loaded lock closes automatically. There’s also less risk of trapping wrist hairs in the mechanism!

Taking the watch off, it doesn’t work quite as well. As with a conventional mechanism, you use your thumb and middle finger to press in the tabs and then pull. However, with this one, I found I also needed to use my middle finger to press on the receiving side of the band, and it didn’t always release first try.

Overall, I applaud Nomad’s innovation in rethinking this, but on balance I prefer the original. That said, I wouldn’t see this as a reason to put you off the new design, it just doesn’t quite yet live up to the promise.

Conclusions

Look, feel, and build quality are on a par with the Apple bracelet – with the same DLC coating – but you get titanium instead of stainless steel. That’s a good deal even before you factor in the cost savings.

If you want the silver version, you’re paying $100 less for a more expensive metal; the savings on the black one is even greater at $200. For my money, this is a no-brainer.

The Nomad Titanium Band is available from the company’s website for $249.

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