watch band Stories February 26, 2016

There are now a ton of third-party Apple Watch bands on the market of varying quality, but at $69, this alternative to Apple’s pricey stainless steel link band from Hyper is worth a closer look.

The bands are made out of the same 316L stainless steel that Apple uses, and nothing about them indicates why there would be an almost $400 gap between these and Apple’s.

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watch band Stories August 3, 2015

Nico Gerard’s new Swiss Made watches come with an Apple Watch built into the band

First announced back in November of last year, accessory maker Nico Gerard is now accepting preorders for its Pinnacle Collection dual-watch bands for Apple Watch. The accessory, which is similar to a product from watchmakers Original Grain that we reviewed earlier this year, offers a traditional style watch on one side with the ability to attach an Apple Watch face to the strap on the opposite side of your wrist. The idea is to get the best of both worlds: The look and feel of a traditional watch, but without sacrificing all of the functionality of your Apple Watch in the process.

Unlike the $269 product from Original Grain we reviewed earlier this year, Nico Gerard’s swiss-made take on the dual-watchband is clearly aiming at a more luxury watch market. Prices range from around $9,300.00 for the stainless steel Nico Gerard Pinnacle and Skyview Pinnacle models (pictured above, left and top right), to $112,000.00 for the Sunrise Pinnacle model in 18 Karat gold (pictured above, lower right). Those prices, however, will include a 38mm stainless steel or gold Apple Watch already attached. All three watches come with a Swiss-certified NG2824A movement rated for 100-meter depths for pressure.

I had quite a positive experience with a similar product from Original Grain when I reviewed it a couple months back, although I haven’t made it my daily driver. In fact, I’ve stopped wearing the Apple Watch entirely for the most part and most of the time opt for favorite traditional watches on any given day.  And on that note, I’m not as confident that there will be as much of an audience for this type of accessory on the luxury end of the watch market.

watch band Stories April 1, 2015

Over the past month, I spent several weeks testing the battery of an Apple watch. Not the Apple Watch, of course, but the first product Apple released with the option of being worn like one: the sixth-generation iPod nano. Back in 2010, Steve Jobs mentioned during the “instantly wearable” nano’s introduction (video at 26:30) that one of Apple’s directors planned to use it as a watch. That brief aside directly inspired the creation of nano watchband makers Lunatik and Hex, as well as simple, cheap bands from Apple accessory specialists including GriffinIncipio, and SwitchEasy. A year later, Apple updated the nano’s software to expand its watch functionality, adding “16 new digital clock faces and improved built-in fitness features.” The nano-as-watch test was at least somewhat successful; Hex even shared pictures showing Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber wearing its nano watch bands.

Today, Apple is three weeks away from releasing the “real” Apple Watch — a product that clearly shares the old iPod nano’s DNA, but was thoroughly redesigned from top to bottom. Yet despite including a battery that’s around twice as powerful as the nano’s, the Watch is promising only 18 hours of typical battery life, maxing out at three days if used solely as a watch in a low-power mode. So when I ran a “watch-only” test of my used four-year-old nano and found that it ran for just over three weeks, keeping perfect time without ever touching a charger (or synchronizing with an atomic clock), I was genuinely surprised. It turns out that Apple really optimized the nano to work well as a timepiece without requiring constant recharging. So what happened with the Apple Watch?…

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