Arrow & Board Simple Apple Watch Band Review – $149

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I love watch straps, I love shell cordovan, and I love unique products. The Arrow & Board Simple Apple Watch Band in Shell Cordovan Reverse offers all three. This strap showcases the unique green underside of black shell cordovan, is lightweight and comfortable, and features top notch materials and construction.

About Arrow & Board

Arrow & Board is a family owned and operated company out of Austin, Texas. Zackary and Jackie Brown began the company inspired by a love of heirloom-quality watches and tech accessories. They actually began the company with Apple Watch straps, and have grown to include other tech accessories, classic leather products, and home decor. Their company aims to break the modern mold of disposable products by offering timeless pieces of their own.

Leather and Construction

The Simple Apple Watch Band is made with Horween shell cordovan leather. If you don’t know much about the granddaddy of leathers, make sure to check out our page about it. Here’s the brief version: it’s incredibly strong and looks amazing! One of the big advantages of using shell on a watch strap is that it can be quite thin but still be stronger than most straps at twice the thickness. This means it’s very lightweight, which I appreciate.

The hardware used is also a bit more lean than other similar watches I’ve used. It’s stainless steel and brass, so there won’t be any durability issues, but it does save a few grams.

Construction is well done. Cutting is done by laser for precision. Stitching is done by hand with polyester and is very uniform. Burnishing makes the sleek shell even more classy.

Function

Like many products we review, a watch strap is a relatively simple product. So we have to look at some of the subtle aspects that make the use experiences better or worse. Long story short, it nicely holds your watch to your wrist!

The lightweight construction makes this strap more lean, less noticeable, and therefore more comfortable. The strength of the shell cordovan means minimal stretching. The shell is fairly thin and nicely burnished on the edges. These attributes combine to make the strap more easy to use than thicker cow leather straps I’ve used. It’s easier to thread through the keepers as you pull it on and off.

Speaking of the keeper straps, they’re leather on this Arrow & Board strap! I’m a fan of this, as it means less things to push into your skin if you’re using the strap while typing at a desk in comparison to metal keepers. I wish the sliding keeper was a bit smaller, though. I wear my watch straps a bit loose and this keeper tends to float around a lot.

The quality construction and shell cordovan leather work together to enhance the experience of using this strap.

Aesthetic

If I’m honest, I don’t know why Horween’s black shell cordovan is green on the underside. I’ve inquired Horween about it, and will hopefully have an answer soon (perhaps in time for our upcoming review of Arrow & Board’s minimal wallet in the same color!). However, I do know that it looks awesome!

If you want to see the classic shell cordovan sheen, you’ll have to look at the inside of this strap. The green reverse side is much more matte, with a gentle texture to it. It’s muted enough to not have an overly loud appearance, but being green, still has a unique look that can catch attention.

I feel that the appearance of this strap is very well balanced. It’s subtle, yet stands out. As a result, I’ve used this as an all-occasions strap. I’m just as content using it to go outdoors as I am to wear it with the right suit.

Conclusion

The Arrow & Board Simple Apple Watch Band in Shell Cordovan Reverse is a fantastic high-end watch strap. I love the unique green look of the reversed shell that helps it both stand out and fit in. Shell cordovan allows the strap to be both strong and impressively lightweight. It’s comfortable to wear and easy to use.

The price may seem high for a watch strap, but some research into shell cordovan will show it’s roughly in line with the market. This particular strap features a few small enhancements, such as hand stitching and burnishing, that further enhance the value.

I highly recommend this strap to make using your Apple Watch an even more enjoyable experience.

Shell on shell

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About Author

Computer engineering graduate student, research assistant, DJ. Lover of music, volleyball, good conversation, cold milk, corgis, and the work of passionate leather artisans.

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