Have you heard this before? The official bands for Apple Watch are way too expensive. We’ve told you that. A few times. And while there are plenty of options out there, finding the balance between affordable and quality materials can be difficult.

After years of success creating handmade accessories in LA, This is Ground has decided to turn its attention to Apple Watch. It’s playing up this new line of Band Connoisseur for Apple Watch as having the same attention to detail as we’ve come to expect while going abroad for Italian craftsmanship. If you’re a fan of This is Ground’s natural handcrafted looks, you’ll feel right at home with one of its new Apple Watch bands on your wrist.

This is Ground Experience

We’ve covered This is Ground’s wide range of accessories before with a particular focus on its Mod accessory line. The Los Angeles-based brand takes the familiar equation and translates it to Apple Watch in expected fashion.

Right off the bat, the packaging lets you know it’s a This is Ground product. My bands came wrapped in a silk bag covered in a brown paper that was marked with a TIG stamp of approval. Instead of shipping in the usual cardboard box that many retailers are accustomed to, there’s a bit (ok, a lot) of extra attention here that makes this arrival standout from the rest.

Colors and Materials

This is Ground continues with its familiar use of leather and color selection on the new Connoisseur Bands. That means vegetable tanned leather meant to age gracefully and not be cast aside quickly.

The color names have changed a bit from cognac and toffee to amaranth, molé and nutmeg, but the look is the same. You can still count on a similar speckled leather appearance that deviates from the usual smooth finish you might be used to. Chalk this up to This is Ground’s focus on high-grade leather that most other manufacturers skip out on. Oh, and it smells amazing out of the box as well.

Fit and Finish

I’ve tried a wide range of Apple Watch bands over the last two years since I first purchased Apple’s wearable. While it’s a better bet financially to go with a third-party option, the fit and finish doesn’t always live up to Cupertino’s expectations.

Thankfully, that’s not the case with This is Ground’s latest release. I’m always drawn to the metal slugs that accessory makers use on Apple Watch bands. There are plenty that seem to be just a hair too wide or long, leaving gaps between the casing and slug. I was happy to see that this was not something to be worried about here.

A round metal clasp keeps the band together along with a single leather holder that slides up and down as needed. The band itself is wider than I expected, going almost the full width of the slug itself. I personally don’t mind the design, but for some this may be wider than desired.

Conclusion

This is Ground never seems to disappoint when it comes to material choices and attention to detail. With that comes an arguably higher price tag than some of the alternatives we’ve featured in the past. Still, at $115 for both the 38 and 42mm models, you’re saving about $30 versus a comparable option from Apple. As well, you’re getting that handmade vibe that will standout from most bands you’ll see out in the wild.

If you’re after an alternative to the usual Apple Watch bands, going with This is Ground’s Connoisseur Collection won’t let you down. The price may be a turnoff for some, but it’s important to remember the level of quality you’ll be receiving. If you don’t see your Apple Watch bands as a fashionable investment, then it may be best to look elsewhere. For those focused on quality and design at the forefront, it’s tough to go wrong here.

But This is Ground’s Band Connoisseur for Apple Watch today for $115.

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