Tested: Hands-on with SANDMARC’s soft as butter leather Apple Watch Band [Exclusive deal]

SANDMARC leather Apple Watch band review

Today we are taking a hands-on look at SANDMARC’s latest leather Apple Watch band. After releasing what are easily some of my favorite leather iPhone cases over the past couple years, alongside a slew of particularly well-made iPhoneography gear, the brand set its sights on Apple Watch accessories at the tail end of last year to particularly successful effect. Its stainless steel and titanium Apple Watch bracelets look like something from a high-end house of horology, not to mention being some of the more popular options among 9to5Toys readers in 2022, and we wanted to see if its leather Apple Watch bands could keep up. So head below for the latest Tested with 9to5Toys for our hands-on impressions of SANDMARC’s leather Apple Watch band.

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Hands-on impressions of SANDMARC’s Leather Apple Watch band

SANDMARC unleashed its leather Apple Watch bands in two phases, first for the Apple Watch Series 8 and older models and later for the flagship Ultra model. They are essentially both the same, outside of the size, and feature the “highest quality full-grain leather” and stainless steel hardware. SANDMARC makes use of what it calls minimal adapters here – the small metal pieces that attach the band to the watch case – to seamlessly integrate with your Apple wearables of choice.

Style your Apple Watch with our everyday leather band. Crafted from the highest quality full-grain leather and stainless steel hardware. A minimal adapter (connector) that integrates seamlessly with the Apple Watch. With a modern design made to last a lifetime, the leather band will only look better with age.

Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:

  • Premium brown full-grain leather
  • 316L stainless steel hardware
  • Minimal adapter (connector)
  • Black or brown
  • For Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8/SE

9to5Toys’ Take:

The SANDMARC Leather Apple Watch band delivers a soft, genuine leather treatment in its most simple form. You won’t find any stitching details here, just the attached stainless steel buckle and connectors, alongside a subtle debossed SANDMARC logo on the inside of the band. There is a very slight texture to the feel here – just enough to remind you it’s real leather – but it is otherwise quite a soft and pliable experience. It’s just thick enough to have a sort of subtle, cushioned feel, but not so thick and dense that it takes months before it wraps around your wrist nicely, like you might have experienced with real leather straps on traditional mechanical and quartz watches. While I prefer something with a touch more rugged texture to it, I very much appreciate the soft and naturally bendable nature of the design here.

As you can see in the imagery – and much like you would see from a traditional leather watch strap – there are a couple of extra leather loops in place, which are used to manage the excess band after you have buckled it onto your wrist. These function just as you would expect and are made of the same leather treatment as the band itself. If I was going to find something about the band I don’t love – which, to be honest, isn’t easy – it would be here. The second of these appears to me to be a small length of leather visibly glued together in a loop – unlike the stitched approach you might find on higher-end bands from traditional watch brands. Having said that, I haven’t had any problems in my testing and the connection point is hidden on the inside of the band.

As a quick side note, I initially wished there was a slight taper to the form factor of the band, with the width getting slightly thinner as it approaches the clasp. But I have since come to really appreciate the more chunky and squared-off shape here.

I obviously haven’t had the chance to really beat this thing up on a day-to-day basis for long enough to really see the sort of patina that might develop. However, due to how soft and pliable the design is, it’s hard to believe this thing wouldn’t get some gorgeous, gnarly wrinkles and magical discolorations over time.

It would seem that SANDMARC’s leather Apple Watch band has far more competition out there than its titanium and stainless steel bracelets, both of which were among the most popular options among 9to5Toys readers, as we mentioned above. It sits somewhere in between the middle-of-the-road leather models out there at a lower price point and the artisan, clearly handmade options that can cost upwards of $100, which we feature around here on a regular basis. The latter of these tend to feature visible stitching and rougher cut edges on the leather, all features you won’t get with the arguably more refined (or mass produced) SANDMARC variant. Having said all that, it should very much be a consideration for folks that think they would appreciate the softer, but not entirely smooth leather approach described above and just don’t want to spend more cash for a made by hand in America model.

At $69.99 for the Ultra variant and $59.99 for the smaller models, these certainly aren’t the most affordable prices, but you can use the exclusive 9TO5TOYS discount code mentioned above to take 10% off – and just for reference here, SANDMARC literally only has one sale a year during Black Friday for a few days at 20%.

SANDMARC Edition Leather Apple Watch Band

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