Pragmatic 76: Banned

20 October, 2016

CURRENT

Marco and I discuss how the Apple Watch brought us both back to wearing watches and the search for the ideal Watch Band for every use case.

Transcript available
Who's going to listen to us talk about watch bands for an hour? I don't know. Let's find out. I guess we'll find out. Welcome to Pragmatic. Pragmatic is a discussion show contemplating the practical application of technology. By exploring the real-world trade-offs, we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives. Nothing is as simple as it seems. Pragmatic is part of the Engineered Network. To support our shows, including this one, head over to our Patreon page, and for other great shows, visit engineered.network today. I'm your host John Chidjie and today I'm joined by a special guest, Marco Arment. How you doing Marco? Good, how are you? Not too bad. Thanks for coming back on the show again. It's been a while. My pleasure. I guess I wanted to talk to you about something that we've both sort of gotten more acquainted with recently because we sort of both drifted away from watches and then when the Apple Watch came out we sort of came back to them again and I've been wearing mine religiously but you've also had a little bit of a different experience and you sort of, I don't know, you started wearing an Apple watch and then sort of that changed. So I thought it'd be a great time to have a chat about some watch related stuff that I've been itching to talk about for a long time. So. Absolutely. So just tell me a little bit about specifically like your journey just in the last, well, about a year and a half. When did you start with watches again? So I really hadn't, you know, I wore like a really basic Timex LCD watch that like the same one everybody had, the Iron Man whatever it was, in like middle school and high school. And then I just kind of stopped wearing it after a while and didn't wear a watch really between high school and the Apple Watch at all. And when the Apple Watch came out I wasn't even planning on getting that much into it but I'm like you know I'm gonna have to develop for it because I'm an Apple developer, so I'm of course going to get one at least for testing and I'll probably just have to wear it to really just know what it's like to wear and to really get into it so I can adequately develop for it. And when the watch came, I really enjoyed it actually. I really liked wearing a watch and it turns out, I know the watch world has known this for quite some time, like hundreds of years, but it turns out that having the time available right there on your wrist is really convenient. Really nice actually. And so basically what happened was I learned that I really enjoy a watch. I enjoy both the utility of it and the fashion of it. I enjoy how it makes me look and feel. Not really look to other people, but just how it makes me look to myself and therefore how that makes me feel. And the Apple Watch was decent at the way it looked on me and was mediocre to okay at telling the time. And And everything else about the Apple Watch, I didn't really use that much. I didn't really use apps. I didn't really, you know, I used some of the fitness tracking stuff for a little while, but then the very first time there was a disconnect in my rings forced by a hardware swap because the watch taptic engine failed. That kind of fell off the wagon at that point, and I was like, "I never really got back into it." And so I realized basically that I liked wearing a watch for timekeeping, but that the Apple watch was probably not the right one for me to wear every day because it only does timekeeping okay. And when you have a like analog watch of any sort, whether it's mechanical or quartz or whatever, you know, the hands are always showing, you can always tell the time. And I know some Android wear watches do this too, where like, there's never any delay. with the Apple Watch, you turn it over and look at the time. And about 10% of the time, it doesn't even show you the time. You gotta exaggerate the gesture again. And the other 90% of the time, it will show you the time after a small delay. But once you're accustomed to an analog watch, that small delay on the Apple Watch to even show the screen turning on, seems barbaric by comparison. I know this is all minor nitpicking stuff. Realistically, all watches are nice to have luxury items, but when your primary use of it is telling the time, I just found that other watches did that better for me. - Okay, well, I mean, that's fair enough. I guess one of the things I'm curious about is what roughly was the time gap? So you said you had the watch replaced 'cause it had a dodgy Taptic sensor in it, feedback thing in it. And that was, how many months was that, Did you, before that happened, roughly? - It was a few months. I mean, I got the watch when it came out, I believe it was late April of last year, and then wore it every day, and the Taptic Engine broke sometime during the summer, I think. And then, I got it replaced after a few days, and then I discovered the joy of mechanical watches last winter. So it was eight or nine months of solid Apple Watch use before I realized that I liked other watches better. Fair enough. Okay, cool. Well, the reason that I wanted to talk about this stuff is because it's not so much the watch, but it's how the watch attaches to your arm. I sort of, I covered a lot about the Apple Watch and the Taptic Engine on previous episodes of the show, but one thing I've never really talked about, but it's been bugging me a lot is something that the Apple Watch and mechanical watches have in common. And that is the way that they get attached to your wrist. And it may seem a little bit odd, but I guess I just, I've always had either a steel band, like a stainless steel link bracelet, or I've had a leather band with a classic buckle. And the funny thing is that prior to the Apple watch, I just never paid attention. I never, if you had said Milanese loop to me, I'd say, okay, what I just didn't pay any attention to it. And I found that once I started wearing the Apple Watch and seeing all the different bands that you could get for it, I actually started investigating a bit more and thinking, well, that actually looks quite nice. So that's a different band. And I got myself sort of wondering, well, what's the best band that you could actually wear? And I know this is personal preference, but one of the things I just, I had to do was I had to try different ones that they had on available. Now, I mean, not, I guess, my experience specifically for the Apple Watch, but I was thinking the same kind of ideas apply to any watch at all. So I guess I was, I've sort of started collecting, well, some genuine, some non-genuine because yeah, well, let's face it. I mean, the Apple watch bands are a little bit X-y, right? They're not cheap. Yeah. So which of the watch bands, because I know you had it for a little while. And I think that I recall you mentioning you may have, may have tried the modern buckle at some point, or maybe it was Tiff, I'm maybe getting confused, I'm not sure. Or am I misremembering? It's quite possible. - No, you're right. So basically, I too, once I got into the Apple Watch, even before purchasing, because I had not worn a watch in so long, I was going back and forth and fretting over all the different band choices, wondering if I made the right choice with what I was getting and thinking about other ones. And in reality, if it was only available on one band, it wouldn't matter. be happy we've moved on. The very earliest personal computers that people had, nobody was a keyboard nerd back then because you had the keyboard it came with and there was one available and that was it. So it's like, I wasn't a controller nerd on my Sega Genesis because there was one controller and okay, that's what you use. And so it was only when faced with lots of choices do we have the luxury of being so picky. - Yeah, exactly. - And in reality, if we didn't have these choices, we'd just put up with whatever it was and it'd be fine. So, but I too, when faced with all these choices, I too got all nerdy about it and did research, tried to analyze them and estimate, well, the modern buckle has the advantage of it's always set to the same size. So you can just snap it on and you don't have to worry about getting it in the wrong hole or putting it on the wrong size or whatever. And the Link Press Kit does that too, and then, but this one is magnetic, and this one will be waterproof, and you go back and forth over all different attributes. And so what I ended up doing was I got mine, if you remember when the Apple Watch first launched, the estimated delivery date varied wildly between what band choice you picked. - Yeah, that's right. - It would, the very earliest ones you could get were the sport band, and the ones that were less popular, which included, the one I got was the classic buckle, the basic black leather strap that looked like a basic leather watch buckle, or basic leather watch strap, rather. And we should clarify, so what these terms are, are actually, they actually have meaning. So band encompasses all of them, bracelet is the metal kind, and strap is everything that's not the metal kind. So these terms are, they do have precise meanings. - They do, and the funny thing is, sometimes they use them interchangeably, which can be confusing. And that's now that I've learned more about it, I'm like, that's actually now it becomes irritating when people use what's the wrong terminology, right? So anyway. - Exactly. But during my, you know, Nate and I months with the Apple Watch, I ended up trying almost every band that was available. So some of them were only available on the 38, like the modern buckle, and I wear the 42. But my wife had the 38. So she, you were right, she has the modern buckle on her Apple Watch. And it's nice. It's the only thing is that I think the design is slightly feminine, although I have to give Apple credit that almost all of their bands are fairly unisex. They're fairly gender neutral in their design. That's true. And that is quite to their credit because that's not true for much of the walked world out there. But the modern buckle, it does have a slight feminine design to it and it's also just like the largest one you can get is not that big for most men's wrists. So it ends up, I tried hers and she has, I believe, the large size modern buckle, but even on its largest setting, it is just a little bit too tight for me to wear. So that is kind of a problem. And then on the other side, I know the leather loop was only available on the large one, although I think that might have changed. I forget whether it changed with the release of series two. And then of course, there were a whole bunch of new ones released since I really stopped using it. The entire nylon band series was released after my time quote and the, what was it? The, oh, the entire Hermes line, that's all after my time. The Nike crazy sport with the holes that look like weird alien in your nightmares, that is after my time. - I'm not even sure that's actually been released yet. I was checking on the website and I didn't, I don't think it's actually come out yet. - Oh yeah, it says available October 28th. So yeah, you're right, it isn't actually out yet. But anyway, so, but I ended up having, over the course of having the watch, I briefly had the Milanese loop. It kind of made me itch, so I had to exchange it. So I had the Milanese loop, classic buckle, sport band, link bracelet, the black steel one. And then of course Tiff had the modern buckle. And I think that is it. I had a leather loop briefly, but I ended up returning it 'cause I hated it so much. - Oh yeah. - Yeah, the leather loop is... I want it to be so much better than it is. - Yeah, it just feels funky. It does not feel at all like leather. And it's... - Yeah, it feels like a plastic link bracelet. - Yep, yes, it's exactly what it feels like. Yeah, so, all right. So I guess there's a few things that are about all of these, the pros and cons and the different materials and everything. And I think I just wanna kind of touch on some of that. So when it comes to fitting a watch band, I guess, the sort of dimensions I think you need to explore is first and foremost, how it feels to wear it against your skin. Obviously, if you're getting a rash, that's probably a bad thing. That's definitely a bad thing. How easy it is to fit it. And some of them, well, I think most of them require two hands, but with me, for example, in the Milanese loop, I actually managed to fit it with one with like, I didn't, you don't need to actually like rest it on another object and then sort of like do a fold and a clasp and all that, you know, if you can do like one handed with the other one, sort of like, it's easy to fit. And obviously there's also my concern with, with, with any kind of watches, you don't want to, when you're trying to fit it, take it on or off, you don't want it to just fly off and smash on the floor. So, you know, some of them, I always found that things like the sports band took me a long time to get used to that. And I found myself like putting it on over carpet so that if it did fall, it wouldn't break. I was being very careful. Anyway, so there's also like how easy it is to adjust it. So if you only got X number of holes in it, or if it's always fixed to the same length, or if it's, well, quote unquote, infinitely adjustable, like the Milanese loop is infinitely adjustable, but that can also become a bad thing if you're constantly adjusting it. If sometimes they'll slip or move when you're wearing them, so they'll get looser during the day. Other times, it's like, 'cause some people prefer a tight fit or a loose fit, and all of those things all affect which one you think would do. And actually, you mentioned another one before, if it's waterproof as well, that's a big one. So anyway, so the different materials, you know, and I guess I traditionally have worn either leather or steel and pretty much nothing else. I mean, I've never really gone for the blingy gold bands, but I know that, you know, a lot of women's bands are gold. I think that's my observation anyway. I'm not sure. Have you noticed, have you ever gone for gold on a band at all? because Apple doesn't have a genuine gold... Oh, okay. - Well, not anymore. - No, not anymore. It's gone ceramic, right? - Yeah. - So, I'm just thinking about non-Apple Watch bands, though. I mean, gold bands don't... They just don't seem to be very common. Guys typically don't wear gold bands, as far as I've observed, anyway. I don't know. - I think... I mean, I'm not that much of an expert on fashion. I just I know a lot about watching the watch world for a year, but that's that's about it But it seems like It seems like gold in watches especially regular yellow gold as opposed to like the more modern pink gold look Regular yellow gold is not very popular anymore And it's more of a generational thing older people tend to like it more than younger people do right now And so you might see gold watches on people who were above say, you know 50 or 60 like, you know It's not in you know, yeah, whether that fits your definition of old is up to you You know, it's it's pretty unusual to find I think a gold watch to find it on somebody below like, you know 40 or 30 And and that's part of that is just cost they cost a fortune That's a big one that like, you know as people get older they can usually afford more expensive things So that's that's obviously a big part of it but also I think if you're going to go with a gold shade these days a a more rose gold one is more in fashion for both sexes and I think a lot more men are actually preferring white metals silver, gold or silver, steel, white gold Well it's interesting, I looked and I was wondering because I've always, believe it or not I never really looked into the detail of the difference between a yellow gold and a rose gold, what the difference was and And on the Apple Watch, for example, they had, it was 18 karat gold. And one of the things that always annoyed me about gold is this whole karat thing where 24 karats is pure gold. That's a hundred percent. And everything's like a fraction of that. So it's a terrible scale. I was like, what the heck? Who came up with that? So 22 karat. That's why I bother engineers so much. It's frustrating because I think it doesn't make any sense. Like 20, so 22 karat gold is 22 parts gold, but two parts, something else, which we won't tell you what else, but something else, some other metal. So it's like 91.67% gold. It's like, what kind of a fraction is that? But anyway, so 18 karat, it doesn't make sense. So 18 karat is actually 75% gold. So that's three quarters of its gold. And between, so on the Apple Watch edition, that was when it was available. OK, I've got to clarify that the original Apple Watch edition, the yellow gold, I'm not sure if it was palladium or platinum, I think platinum, but I'm not totally sure. but for rose gold, you just, you add copper. So that's what gives it that funky, rosish, pinkish color, you know? - Yeah, I don't know a whole lot about the alloys, but that's, I think you're pretty much, you pretty much got it there. - Yeah. - And different, the different alloys also have different hardnesses. - Yes. - Typically gold has the problem where it's a fairly soft metal, and so it will tend to scratch and dent more easily than other metals. - Yes. - And with different alloys of it, you can have different ones. And also I should point out too, with my generalization a minute ago about the market and fashionability of gold to various people, this varies a lot by country and by demographic. So in certain countries, it is more typical to flaunt wealth visibly. And so I know in China, this is more of a thing where if you have wealth, it's more normal to really show it in extravagant, visible ways. Whereas in America, it's a little bit more like most people wanna subdue it a little bit and want to kind of downplay it a little bit more. Not everybody, of course. And so like yellow gold sells better in China than it does here, for instance, because yellow gold is so noticeable as gold. - Yeah, that's true. And I guess one of the other things about gold that's really interesting is that it cleans up and you can buff it and sort of like bring it back to practically near new condition. It looks really, really good, which is not always true of some of the other materials, but in any case, just thought it was interesting to mention, but yeah, no, gold's no longer available on the Apple Watch anyway. And it's like you say, it's where we live at least, it's perhaps not as common, certainly amongst people our age. And yeah, so, but ask me again in 20 years, I probably still won't be wearing a gold watch at that point, but you never know. So stainless steel is the most common steel and there's a couple of different grades of it that they use. And I think the most common one that's used in watches, maybe not all jewelry is 316L, which is nickel chromium. And one of the things that I always found interesting is that they had the L on the end and the 316L has got slightly less carbon than the standard 316. It's like 0.03 versus 0.08%. And anyway, but the interesting thing is that there's another kind of stainless steel that Rolex started using in the 80s. And it was, I've seen it mentioned a few times by different manufacturers, it's 904L, which is apparently ridiculously hard, like really hard. In fact, it's so hard that you can't actually use the normal tooling they'd use to do a 316L, you can't use it. They had to like apparently change all the tooling in the factory and everything just to use it. And I thought the numbering was a bit weird. And I dug into this, I've always wondered what the SAE stood for. SAE actually stands for the Society of Automotive Engineers. I guess they use a lot of steel. They would probably have some standards around this. I guess so. I never come across it. I wonder what that stands for. I actually looked it up. It stands for that Society of Automotive Engineers in America. The funny thing is anything that starts with a nine, all the other ones is like three XX, so like like 304, 316 and so on, 3XX is like nickel chromium. But if you go to 9XX, it simply says various high strength grade low alloy steels. So in other words, it's the miscellaneous category. So that's great. Anyway, so there you go. Just throwing that out there. So yes, and stainless steel is awesome because obviously it doesn't corrode. Well, I mean, it does, it just takes a heck of a lot longer. It does scratch and so on, but it's pretty hard, harder than gold. and you can buff it up pretty good, but you can still damage it to a point, unlike gold where you can bring it back to mint condition. You can't really do that with stainless quite so much, but I still think it looks good, but I'm not really sure from like, again, okay, I'm not a fashion guy, but are you supposed to wear leather or stainless or steel as a dress watch? 'Cause I'm not sure. - So this is a tricky category in watch fashion. Basically, the tradition is that steel-braceleted watches tend to be called "sport watches." And this usually-- and there's exceptions to everything, of course-- but this usually goes along with a watch that has more utility than good looks. And so this would be things like chronographs, pretty much anything that's large or thick or waterproof, any kind of diver. Divers are very, very popular. And so this is like, you know, sporty watches tend to have like more stuff on the dial, thicker casings, thicker bezels and metal bracelets. And they tend to be, you know, waterproof to more depth and, and things like that. And then dress watches are usually much simpler. They're often time only or only time and date, like no, no chronograph functions or anything else. Dress watches are almost always on leather straps or alligator straps on the high end. And they tend to be like cleaner designs, they tend to be smaller watches, more like in the 37 to 39 millimeter range instead of sport watches usually like 40 to 43. However, all this being said, dress watches are not entirely... like dress watches have, I think, waning popularity in recent years. Basically now, so many people love sport watches that people wear sport watches for all occasions, formal or not. So, you know, somebody might wear like, like an Omega Speedmaster is a very popular sport watch. Many Rolexes, like the Rolex Daytona is their popular chronograph. Many Rolexes are sport watches. But people wear these with suits and stuff anyway. So basically there used to be norms here and some people still believe in them. But what it basically comes down to today is nobody cares, wear whatever you like. - Okay. I mean, it would look a little weird if you were wearing like, you know, a really fancy dress watch with a fancy alligator strap with a t-shirt and shorts. - Yeah. - Some people do that, 'cause dress watch, I love dress watches, they're my favorite kind. So I will often wear a dress watch with t-shirt and jeans and just say, "All right, well, if you don't like it, "that's your problem." You know? (laughs) And a lot of people feel the way, like, you know, a lot of people, their only or their favorite watch is a diver, and they'll wear that diver for every occasion, suit or t-shirt and shorts and it's fine. Ultimately, watch fashion doesn't matter much to other people anymore, if it ever did. Ultimately, you have to choose, as a watch person, you basically have to be okay with the fact that you're really doing this for yourself. In almost every business or social circle or place that you will be, no one else is going to notice or care what watch you're wearing. So just wear whatever you want to wear, wear whatever you like and what makes you feel good. - Yeah, well that's fair enough, absolutely. That's a very long way of answering your question of basically, typically, no, a metal bracelet is not formal, but it doesn't matter. Okay, fair enough. Well, yeah, it's a good point actually. I have kind of worn both and I've just been oblivious to like, I realized that there was a difference and I realized that one was more formal than the other, but I was confused because I saw so many people wearing steel link bracelets with, like you say, a definition of a sport watch with chronographs and such. And I just I was confused because it was in different social settings. So, you know, clearly, yeah, I think what you're saying is an accurate reflection of what I've observed. And I've just never really been tuned into it until more recently. So it makes sense. And I guess from my point of view, though, I like the idea of having a watch when you can change its personality without physically changing the watch. That's one of the things I like about being able to change the band, because if you change the band, it changes some of the aspects when you look at the watch and how it goes with certain outfits in certain situations. So, and my God, I'm starting to sound like a fashion person. Anyway. Hey, look, I fell down this hole a year ago or whatever, and it's a good place to be. It turns out watch fashion is, it's great for people like me, and I don't know if you fit this category, people like me who have just never ever been fashionable in their entire lives and are mostly nerdy, and like watch fashion is something that is a small area that is easily understood by geeky engineers and is easily like managed and and traveled by people who don't otherwise have a lot of fashion in them. And that's certainly how it's been for me. Like, I think I'm pretty fashionable with my watches now and I'm fashionable with nothing else in my entire life, but it doesn't matter. This is what makes me feel good. - Cool. Yeah, I'm reaching a similar sort of point. And I guess my, the thing is that I love my Apple watch too much, but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna go and try different bands and see how it looks and feels and in terms of functionality as well. So the funny thing is that now that third parties are able to produce bands, and I guess that's probably been the case for at least a year or more now, even a year and a half, some of the other materials that are out there for bands that ordinarily aren't available through the Apple Store, you can get. And I've had a look at some of the different options out there. It's kind of actually mind bending the different materials that you can get beyond, well, beyond steel and fluoroelastomer, if you like. Yeah, anyway. - Everyone else just says rubber. - Rubber. - It's fine. - Gosh, I don't know. The fancy name doesn't make it any fancier. So anyhow, I've even, I've seen, you mentioned alligator before, alligator or crocodile. I think that's kind of considered to be pretty posh. I have no idea how that- - Only on dress watches. - Only on dress watches, okay. - And honestly, and I personally, I have one watch that has an alligator strap on it, and I personally don't care for alligator. I mean, first of all, I think there might be some problems with how the animals are hunted or treated for this. I think there's some problems there. But also, compared to leather, it is more stiff. It is a little higher maintenance. It isn't as comfortable, but it does look formal. But in my opinion, like, you know, if I ever find a really good leather strap for that watch, I'll probably change it to leather. Okay, well, that's good to know. I mean, I was looking through some of the lists of like natural, when I say natural, I mean, you know, like animal hides and I couldn't believe some of them on here, like lizard. I found lizard, believe it or not. Oh, there's all sorts of crazy ones, like when you get into the like the crazy, you know, high end skins. One that's interesting is shell cordovan, which is actually horse leather. But if you get it from the good places, like Horine, which is the company, shell cordovan might be their trademark. I don't know if this is a generic term, but I think it's their trademark. But yeah, Horine shell cordovan is raised ethically. And so it's like horses that have died from other causes, it's their leather that's being used. And it's kind of pricey. A strap made of shell cordovan tends to start at about $70 US and often go into like the low $100 range, but it is the softest, nicest, most comfortable leather I've ever felt. And one of the brands I like a lot is Nomos Las Jutas. And Nomos, their watches are very, very nice in lots of ways, and one of the ways they're very nice is that I think all of their leather is shell cordovan it is and it is of course you know ethically raised and you know from the right company and everything they do offer a few like like suede like kind of micro suede style bands but almost all their bands are leather and all their leather is this type of leather and it's so incredibly soft and comfortable cool okay it's good to know I'll put a link in the show notes to that too that's one thing that Apple does not offer because I mean they probably can't offer it because the volumes Apple selling it I mean this is This is coming from this one source that is probably not having lots of naturally dyed horses going into it. I would imagine Apple can only make things that they can make in great volumes because of the sales volume they do. It's interesting though, when you say it's like $70-$100, a lot of the watch bands that Apple sells are more than that. So, I don't know. - Oh, sure. I mean, Apple's bands are, and I have to give Apple credit. Apple's bands are very good. Like, compared to other bands in the watch world, Apple's bands are really top class. Like, there's a few, I think there's a few duds in there. Like I mentioned, I'm not crazy about the Leather Loop, but for the most part, their bands are excellent. And they really, I think, should be commended that they came in and literally their very first offering of a watch came with a very large number of choices here, and almost all of which are not only good, but great. - Yeah, that's true. It's very true. They did their homework and they did a really great, they opened very strong, I think. And that is really good. I just wanted to just, I've got a list here of just quickly other different materials I found. Some of them I thought were bizarre, like before we move on, like ostrich, shark, snake, buffalo, which I thought, okay. And then I got to some other stuff that wasn't animal related, so like carbon fibre, which I'm not even sure how that would even be particularly comfortable, but a carbon fibre. I guess you make them out of metal. I mean, you can just like, I guess you might be able to make a carbon fibre link bracelet of some sort. I'm not sure. Yeah, it's just it was weird when I saw that. Okay. So anyway. Ceramic. Yes. Ceramic bracelets. That's true. Yes. Not by Apple, but other people make them. Yep, exactly. And different metals, like the more exotic metals, things like titanium, platinum. I even saw one with rhodium in it, which I thought was a bit, that's really exotic. But in any case. Yes, so those are different bands. So we talked about bands, straps, bracelets and the different kinds of what they are. One of the other little things I just want to add to that is some bands loops and loops can be either captive or non-captive. So like a captive loop, like the Milanese loop, you can't actually separate the Milanese loop. The magnet sort of doesn't fully come out of the end of it. Whereas on the leather loop... You can't lay it flat on a table. Yeah, exactly. Whereas it doesn't actually separate. Whereas the leather loop, they made that design decision to put the... So it's like you've got the short end with the hole at one end of it that the other and sort of like slips through and it doesn't, it actually can come apart, which I find, I sort of found that a little bit annoying because then you've got to thread it through in order to get it on sometimes because it didn't go on my wrist. But anyway, so let's see. The band pins, just quickly, is Apple don't actually have band pins because they, the pins that hold the band in on every other watch in the world. Well, that's a sweeping generalisation. The vast majority of watchers maybe. I started looking into the different kinds of spring bars like they've got. And so you've got like, here's the list that I found. Classic double flanged spring bars, double shoulder spring bars, round tip spring bars, single shoulder spring bars, female spring bars, telescoping spring bars, curved spring bars, Short end spring bars, peg spring bars, screw bars. And there's probably more than that because I stopped at that point. And I'm like, okay, yikes. My memory of changing bands on a traditional watch is trying to get my fingernail in to that notch and try and like pull the edge of that spring-loaded bit in and then gently pry it out and then try and catch it before the spring just shoots across the room or something. And good luck getting it back in. Yeah, that's it. This is one of those many tasks in life where having the right tool for the job makes a world of difference There's a tool for that? Hey, my fingernail perfectly worked fine until I lost the spring bar There's a whole category of spring bar tools, they range from price from about a dollar to about $70 Not to mention spring bar pliers that can compress both sides of the spring bar at once Which cost a lot more than that There's a whole range of tools, 'cause if you're changing watch bands more often than never, you're gonna want one of these. - But this is just it, is that no one changes them, right? 'Cause it's too much of a pain in the neck. And I mean- - There are some, there's some quick release ones that have like little bars, you just kind of push, or you slide a little bar, usually it's on the underside of the strap where it attaches and that basically compresses the spring bar from the outside. And then, so it's still a spring bar, but it has like a basically a quick change bar. That being said though, I don't know a lot of other watch nerds in real life, but I don't know anybody who actually uses those quick change bars on a regular basis to change their watch straps. I think what Apple has with theirs, with this truly quick change system, which is even easier than that, with these buttons that you push and you just slide the whole thing out, what Apple has with their watch attachment mechanism there is so much better than what the rest of the industry does. really quite nice. When I'm not using an Apple watch, I wish that many other watches had straps that were that easily changed. I have a part of me that's hoping that the rest of the watch industry sees that and sees the success that Apple's had in on-selling the watch bands and having a smarter, quick-changing mechanism like Apple have got. I'm hoping that they run with it. I haven't seen it yet, I'm hoping that they do something like that because the thing that occurred to me is that once you lower that, make that more accessible, once you make those sorts of tasks easier, then previously no one would have ever have said, "Oh, I'm going out tonight. I'm going to change my watch band. I'll just get the spring bar tool out." No one, well, maybe there's someone out there that thinks that, but I haven't met him. I doubt it. You just never change your watch band. Now, with the Apple Watches mechanism, it makes it so easy that you start thinking, "Well, maybe I could actually have three watch bands," which no one would ever have thought of previously. You just get a second or third watch. I guess. Yeah. I think that's great. And what it means is that you can actually choose to do that. And the weird thing is that Apple, well, I had a look into what they actually called it and they simply called it the Apple Watch Band Interface. And it's like, "Seriously, guys, that's all you could come up with?" Anyway. So they released a whole made for Apple Watch thing and third parties could comply with the watch lug dimensions and interface dimensions and everything. It's great, but I can't see that anyone else is really going to like that. No one else other than Apple is going to have this as a standard, but at least it means that we can go to... Amazon's got a whole bunch of them, some of them through AliExpress or Alibaba or whatever else. of knockoffs from different parts of the world and they're all compliant now, which is great. So I've got a handful of them and it just gives you those options. So anyway, all right. We talked a little bit about buckles. So let's see, 'cause I mean, buckles and clasps that I guess they're sort of used interchangeably but they're not really the same thing, are they? - Yeah, I actually don't know the precise definition of these terms. I bet one is a subset of the other. Yeah. I would imagine clasp is probably the superset, but I don't know that for sure. Well, what I was able to sort of, you know, digging up and reading up a lot on this and trying to get my head around it because it was bugging me is, and this is going to sound a bit strange, but it's like buckles seem to be predominantly for fastening two pieces together. Whereas clasps are more about securing a loop into a fixed position and it's kind of, that's about the best I could come up with, but I don't know if that's always going to be applicable because the problem is that everyone seems to use them interchangeably and that makes it hard to get a definition, a good definition. But one of the things I did find that was interesting is the idea of a deployment or deployant. And I could have swore people were having an argument on this watch website either whether it was a deployant or deployment class. (laughs) - So this is, I can't tell you what the answer is. I always thought that the answer was, it was called a deployant, but that people would mishear that as deployment, and then eventually that just caught on. But that could be wrong. But basically the way these work is, so normally you have the typical watch buckle that everyone has seen, where you put the hole through the thing and you slide it through. The deployant, basically, you set it at a fixed length. And then the deployant clasp itself is just like this basically swinging buckle thing. So it can swing open so you can get your hand in and out. And then you latch it back down to swing it back closed again to tighten the watch back against your wrist. It's kind of hard to explain in words and much easier if you just see it. But this is typically, these have been around for a while, this is typically considered sort of higher end option for leather bands. And it is, there's pluses and minuses to it. One of the reasons people use it is that when you thread a regular leather strap through a buckle, it has to bend at a certain point kind of harshly. And so typically when, you know, after a few days or weeks of wearing it, you will kind of develop this permanent crease at that point in the leather. And so you can kind of always tell, like if somebody lays their leather strap washed flat on a table, you can tell exactly what hole they used to buckle it because there's a big bend right there, right next to the leather at that point. And a deployant keeps both sides of the strap a lot flatter in its operation. And so it's still not perfect, but it's a lot closer to perfect. So it tends to reduce wear on the leather itself. And then the other option, of course, or the other advantage, of course, is that you can typically do it one-handed because it is, you know, it's similar to a bracelet in that it's never fully flattened out and opened. I mean it can be, but nobody, you know, typically in typical use you leave it in the circle, just an open circle or a closed circle, like a big one or a small one. So a deployant, you can throw it on with one hand and then just tighten it down, snap it into place, and you're done. The downsides of deployants are are, first of all, in many watches they cost more. Some watches include them, but usually they're a premium option that costs a little bit more. And they tend to be fairly thick on the bottom, because you have that whole metal assembly that goes down there. It's this two-layer metal thing, plus the two straps that are attached on the bottom. So on the bottom of your wrist, if you care about how thick the watch band gets at the bottom, if you rest it on a keyboard or something during the day, which you shouldn't do, but people Oh, yeah, if you rested on things like sometimes the thickness of your watch band bunching up on the bottom there might bother some people So deployants tend to be thicker down there depending on the strap and they also if you if you Occasionally use a different size on the band like if some days when you're hot in the summertime You like switch to like the wider hole and then maybe later on the day when you're when you cool down you like switch back To the narrower hole on a deployant. It's pretty cumbersome some pretty tedious to change size. It's the kind of thing, it's more like a bracelet, more like a metal bracelet where you should really set it kind of at one size and generally never adjust it after that because it's just too much of a pain. So, you know, all those things aside, I thought I would like deployants until I had one. And then I realized, you know what? It's not really worth it for me. - Yeah, I've never actually had a deployant clasp on my, on a leather band. I've had them on stainless steel bands, but that's, yeah. Cause that's pretty much the standard, I think more or less. But the thing that's interesting is that I've actually had different styles in terms of some with safety clasps and others without. And so, you know, like the safety clasps. So if assume it's a tri and you're right, this is hard to put into words to describe verbally, but yeah, if you've got, it's a trifold. So you've got essentially two pieces of metal with a hinge that fit the curvature of the wrist. And then there's a clasp that sort of like fits over the top and as you unfurl it, it looks like a little bit like the letter Z. And anyway, so that little latch section that you put your finger under and flip it open, some of them have a safety clasp on them. So I actually had an old watch a long time ago which didn't have a safety clasp and the safety clasp sort of clips the opposite direction. If you brush it against your pocket or your jeans or something, if you pop the safety clasp open, then you'll notice and you'll close it again. Whereas, if you don't have a safety clasp on it, then you could catch that on something and it'll open the deployment, deployant, I said, clasp, and then it'll open on you. I've actually had a bit of both of those. But the thing that was interesting is I was looking at what Apple had and technically they do have the deployant clasp but it's a different kind it's not a tri-fold or fold over it's something they call a butterfly clasp which I hadn't come across before and the butterfly clasp is so cool because when it opens up it looks a little bit like butterfly wings I guess. It's basically a double deployant and these do exist in the rest of the watch world too It tends to be a higher-end option. It's actually more common for women's watches But I actually have a bracelet that has that on it And it's it's quite nice because it's it's a little easier to put on And you get a little bit more slack when it's when it's open than with a single-ended deployant Mm-hmm, and it's it's also symmetrical and I guess the other great thing about it I think is brilliant is that it's it's when it when it's folded. It's quite compact and it's really smooth and Yes. It looks so much neater and I don't know what the word is, just looks much nicer, I think. Yeah, and this is actually one of the reasons why I like bracelets when they're done well, which is not all the time. One of the reasons I like bracelets so much, and including apples, which is done very well, is that I'm one of the people who cares about how thick the bottom of my watch is when I'm using a computer and, you know, when I'm resting my hand on my keyboard like I'm not supposed to. And so I care a lot about that. And if you look on Apple's site, they, I think they still do this, let me double check, but they provide like straight-on side views of all the watches, yeah they still do it, and so you can compare right there, you can see like how thick the bottom of the bands are when they're attached, and if you look, the link bracelets are the thinnest, if not one of the thinnest, depends on like, like the Milanese can be that thin if you strap it within a certain range so it avoids more overlap. But the link bracelets are one of the absolute thinnest options you have there for how thin the strap is on the bottom on the underside of your wrist. And it's also, as you mentioned, it's flat the whole way. It's a consistent thickness across that whole section. So you don't have the issue that you do with leather straps where as you roll your hand along a wrist rest, you hit a bump at one point, 'cause that's where the clasp bunches up. you don't have that issue with link bracelets. My one main complaint about the Apple link bracelet, and it's a pretty big one unfortunately, is that you are limited in sizing it to only the width of one of the links. So it lacks what is known as micro adjustment, which is if you look at many popular brands of watch buckles especially nice ones like Rolex or Omega, you can usually tell on their clasp, is usually on one side of it, there's usually a little tiny row, you could see, of like four or five little dots where like a bar could go through. And those are micro-adjustment dots. And so you can actually-- you can open up the class in a certain way with those, and you can size the watch to be smaller than-- you can adjust the sizing in a smaller increment than the width of one link. And other braids would solve this by offering links that are actually different widths. Like I have one that came with a 1 1/2 link wide link. So you can like stick that into the link, you know, line the link list. You can stick it in there and then you can have like a half size basically. And so the problem with the Apple link bracelet is that you can't do any of these things. So if your ideal size falls between two link intervals, you're kind of out of luck. You just have to wear either too tight or too loose and just deal with it. and how loose you want your watch depends a lot on just your personal preference and what kind of conditions you use it in and things like that. But that is one thing that like, if you want that infinite sizing ability, you gotta go with something like the Milanese Loop or Leather Loop if you really are crazy. Sorry Leather Loop owners, it's just so bad. - Yeah, they're not good. - If you like it, more power to you. - Yeah, that's it. I'm glad someone's enjoying them 'cause I'm not. -That's good. -I wanted it to be so much better. It should have been. It had so much promise. We're just disappointed, aren't we? But anyway, it's okay. It's fine. Someone else likes them. But I'll tell you the other thing I like about the butterfly clasp is that the buttons to release it are sort of hidden in the sides of them and you can't catch them on anything. That's really... Because I would do that occasionally with my traditional tri-fold, even with the safety catch on it. So I think that's brilliant. And, but yeah, that lack of adjustability, that's painful. So, all right. Just to mention for the sake of completeness, there's also jewelry clasps and they're sort of a little bit hard to describe again where it's basically a clasp, it's not a deployant. It's the edge, the ends of the two come together and then there's a little like catch that's like maybe a quarter of the width or maybe a third of the width of the watch sometimes and usually in the center to be symmetrical that flips from one side to the other to hold it on. 101 different ways of doing it but in any case I think that's probably enough about class and deployment anyway but DME. And we've kind of already talked about link bracelets versus woven stainless steel mesh otherwise known as a Melanese bracelet. And I guess, I don't know, I've got to talk about arm hair pinching at some point. So, yes, let's just deal with it. And I have to say, Link bracelets- My first podcast about arm hair. Yeah, I know it had to happen at some point. It's happening now. And honestly, Link bracelets will do it to you, even when you're wearing it. If it's just a little bit loose, it just it seems to just take out arm hairs. and oh well, but yes. - And this also, this depends a lot on, of course, your arm hair. - Yeah. - And it also depends a lot on the strap and how you've attached it. Like one of the things I've found is that the Milanese can actually do it if you accidentally trap arm hairs between the two layers when you put it on, like when the magnet clips it together. - It's true. - You can trap arm hairs just between those two and then if the watch moves during the day, you'll feel that. But generally speaking, it's pretty much only metal bands that can do this. The other ones tend not to, just by their materials. But that's something that, like, some people, they just, they love metal bands, 'cause metal bands have a lot of advantages. - Oh yeah. - One of the biggest ones is the way they deal with moisture. - Yes. - Because whether you're dunking your hand underwater, sometimes, I always found this to be an issue when I'm giving my kid a bath. It's like, if I'm wearing a metal band to wash, I can keep it on, and just put my hand under water I need to and it's fine. And also just like as you sweat during the day and that's one of the reasons why watches that are meant for like fitness kind of activity stuff, those don't usually have leather or nylon bands because leather and nylon absorb moisture and I don't know how the nylon deals with it long term, I suspect not well. Leather starts to smell bad after a while. You know typically you have to change a leather band if you're If you're a moderately active person, they typically start to smell bad after about a year or two, and you generally have to replace them at that point, or just have a stinky watch. (both laughing) But that's up to you. - Different kind of statement. - Yeah, exactly. (both laughing) And it's a very personal fashion. - Yeah, it's very. - But yeah, metal bands are really the only kind of band that is all condition, all weather, you know. And also, like sport bands, the rubber sport bands have the same moisture resistance, which is great. But rubber sport bands also kind of feel slightly sweaty all the time because they don't breathe at all. There's no air flow in them, so like your skin under them really can't breathe at all. And so that's really, I would say, the only downside of rubber sport bands in functional terms. You know, looks, you can decide what you think of them. But in functional terms, they're pretty much awesome in every other way, except that they really don't breathe. And metal doesn't, you know, flat metal against your skin doesn't really breathe that much either, but link bracelets and the Milanese have gaps between the metal, and the metal moves around a little bit during the day. Whereas the rubber band tends to stick, it has a much higher friction, is it coefficient of friction? Is that what sticks it there? - Technically, yes. - You're the engineer. - Yep, there you go. - There you go, so, yeah, so like the rubber kind of stays in one spot and kind of makes your hand feel a little bit sweaty. and the metal can move around a little bit more and there's gaps between the metals so you don't feel that. Nylon in this way is interesting. Nylon bands are extremely popular among internet watch nerds who read Reddit and post on forums. Typically in the form of what's called a NATO band, which is really a style. You've probably seen them where they have, basically it looks like a nylon strap with a whole bunch of metal rings on it for some reason. That's a NATO band. - It's weird. - And I'm actually not crazy about the number of rings on most of them, but that's just my style. But nylon is incredibly practical because it is typically very comfortable. It is really soft, it breathes incredibly well, you know, 'cause it's just woven cloth, really. But it's fairly tough because it's usually some kind of nicer nylon or ballistic nylon or something like that. So it tends to be pretty good for all conditions with the one exception that it does hold moisture. And so if you get sweaty or wet, it doesn't dry very quickly and that can get kind of uncomfortable. So nylon bands are really great in almost every way. And Apple offers their own now. And everybody thought it looked really weird 'cause the pictures on the website look really weird. But if you see them in person, they don't look that weird. And they're very comfortable, very soft. And so if holding moisture is not going to be a problem for you, then the nylon band for the Apple Watch is probably the best all around band. - Yeah. And I guess just, yeah, absolutely. My daughter actually, for her 13th birthday, cashed in some of her savings and we sort of met her in the middle with a watch band because she wanted an Apple watch. And so, we're like, okay, fine. And anyway, she-. Did you get her a band without a watch? No, we got her a watch, but no. Sorry. Yeah, we got her the-. But she wanted the nylon band because she thought it looked fantastic. Right. The kids these days, you know, it's all good. Anyway, and what we found is that it got wet and she didn't dry it in time. I mean, it got really, really quite wet and it was immersed and she didn't understand that she needed to dry it and keep it dry. And we actually found that at the point at which the buckle passes through the pin, at that point there, the color of it changed slightly so that when you open the band out afterwards, when it wasn't in use. You could see a distinct line where the colour had run. And it's a bit odd. And someone said, oh, you should take it back for a, you know, for a refund, that shouldn't happen. And it's like, well, then you read different people's opinions on the nylon bands. And it's like, well, you're not supposed to immerse them. You're not supposed to, apparently. Certain bands have issues with that. So, I don't know. I kind of get the feeling. When I felt it on my wrist, I thought, yeah, that actually feels quite soft and quite comfortable. And I didn't expect it to be that comfortable, but I'm not sure how it will go in terms of long-term durability. But that was my daughter's experience anyway with it. So she stopped wearing it to be honest, and she's gone back to the rubber band. And actually speaking of the sports band, I just want to talk a little bit more about that. But one of the things that I found annoying about it is getting used to that clasp mechanism. - Yeah, that drove me nuts the first couple of days. I eventually, like once you figure it out, I was able to do it with one hand eventually, but it is so tricky because it, and actually one thing I like about the Apple Sportband is that the excess, I forget what term, the watch world has a term for like the excess part of the strap after it passes through the buckle. I forget what that term is right now, but basically the excess strap length, in most bands, sticks out on the outside. And so you can snag it on things. Or it can become undone from the keeper, which is the little loop of material that holds the excess down. That's called a keeper. And so it can become undone from the keeper, and then you can have this flappy band that could even fall off if it gets too bad. And that's very annoying on most other kinds of bands. On the Apple Sportband, the excess strap is tucked on the inside. And so it doesn't snag on anything. And that is really very nice about it. and that's one thing that I wish, I don't really know how leather bands would do that necessarily, 'cause it requires that big reinforced hole on the strap for them to pass back through again, but however they would do it, I would like to see that attempted by somebody, because it is really nice to not have that strap, the excess to catch on things and become undone. - Yeah, absolutely, no, I totally agree with that. And the thing is that that is a really great, especially because it's intended for exercising, which is when you're very likely to actually snag it on things. and that's perfect. The thing that I just, the downside of that is because when you slide it underneath, if you're doing it up so it's a nice tight fit, 'cause I like to wear my watch relatively tight on my wrist, I don't like it flopping around or anything, that'll often take out arm hairs on the way through, but usually once it's on, you're good. But the thing that I found about mine is that I've got the black sport band, and I don't know if it's a problem specific to the black sport band, but I did a bit of an anonymous, well, not anonymous, a random survey, I should say, on Twitter a few months ago. And people, different people that had the sport band are just looking at photos of theirs. And there's definite wear and some small cracking and erosion where that where that pin goes through the hole. And I think it's the sort of thing with enough connect and disconnect cycles going through that eventually, you know, that's going to crack and wear And I reckon maybe two or three years of heavy use every day. And I think these sport bands are probably going to need to be replaced, I think, because of it's just the materials not, I don't know. Did you- Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. Did you see any wearing out on yours at all or- See, I'm looking at it now. You can definitely tell which hole I use, like there's like some marks around it. But I don't- I didn't use the sport band very much. I used it for a brief period, but I ultimately found that the space black link bracelet was my preferred band most of the time. But the sport band is really, I mean the sport band is very, very good for a lot of cases. But I think you're right, I think you kind of have to be okay with the fact that you're probably going to be replacing it maybe once every year or two. And I think this is why too, we didn't really know last year when the watch first came out, we didn't really know, well what happens when there's a watch two and what if we don't want to buy a new band? buy a watch with no band? And the answer is no. Every watch that you buy from Apple comes with a band, whether you want one or not. And so I think maybe that's a good thing. It kind of forces you to replace your band whenever you replace your watch. - Yeah. - And the good thing is the old band still works. So if you have a really nice band, like a bracelet, you can still, then you can just buy the cheapest watch with the sport band, and then put the sport band in a drawer and you can still use your bracelet. But it's at least forcing you to consider replacing the band every time you get a new watch, which is probably going to with the Apple Watch, it's probably going to be every few years. Yeah, exactly. And I found the other thing that I like about this particular about that band is that, and I've got to talk about, I know that this doesn't apply to mechanical watches, but when I'm using the Taptic Feedback, one of the things that drives me mad is a loose band that has a rattle because I like Yes. I can't, it just it's, I have this thing where I've turned off all audio. So I have no audible, no sound on my iPhone. It's a silent ringtone. The vibration is all turned off and the watch is in silent mode. The only thing I get are taptic notifications, so it'll tap tap on the back of my wrist. And it's brilliant because you're sitting in the middle of an office and everyone else's phone is making whatever noise. And you don't have that, I don't have that feeling anymore where it's like, oh, is that my phone going off? Because you know, if it's going to go off, you're going to get a tap on your wrist. Except, of course, if you put a loose band on there, like a link bracelet, that's not quite tight. And then when it taps, you get this sort of a audible kind of a, oh, it's just a really unpleasant sound. It's not quite fingernails on a chalkboard kind of thing, but it's just, no, not good. - Yeah, and this is one thing that I think, if you're gonna wear an Apple Watch, I think you almost have to wear it pretty snug. Like, other watches, it's more of a choice of how loosely you wanna wear it. The Apple Watch really does best when it's snug, because if it's loose, not only do you have the Taptic being less, you might be more likely to miss it, and it might sound buzzy, but also the sensor on the bottom that detects whether the watch is on you or not might occasionally think it's not on you anymore, and then your watch is locked and deactivated until you type in your passcode or whatever. And that's no good either. So really the Apple Watch, I think, is made to be worn snugly. Not like cutting off circulation, but not able to move around very much. - Yeah, if your hand turns purple, you've gone too far. That's-- - Yes, exactly. (both laughing) - But yeah. - And for that purpose, and I think that's one of the reasons why the Sportband is so good in practice, because it has that high friction from the rubber, it tends to keep it in place more easily. - Yeah, absolutely right. So the best part of it is that the best all-around band is that there's not any, it's the cheapest one. Well, I put it this way, it's one of the most affordable and it comes with the entry-level watches, which is great. So Apple definitely kicked a goal there. So I guess a little bit about the Milanese Loop, just briefly, now we talked about it a little bit, there's some other things about it. I love the fact that it can be infinitely adjusted, but then I found that when I was wearing it through the day, I kept adjusting it even when I didn't have to. It's like. - Yeah. That's one of the reasons why it didn't work out for me because I would fiddle with it too much. And it would kind of bother me. Like what I like to do if possible is to figure out what setting is like right for me and then just leave it there and then be able to put it on reliably every day and have it feel exactly the same. - Yeah. - And in practice, there's a few problems with this, you know, chiefly of which the people change sizes throughout the year and day. But besides that issue, I really do like the idea of being able to like find my ideal size and just leave it there. And the Milanese and leather loop, of course, don't really allow you to do that. And that's honestly, it's kind of a feature, not a bug. But if you're the kind of person to fiddle with it, like we are, it could become actually less good for you. - Yeah, exactly. I found it was becoming one of those, not a nervous habit, but you know, it's like, it was just a subconscious thing. And you'd look down at you. Yeah, exactly. And you're just playing with the strap because you can, and you look down at your wrist and you realize that you might look a little bit funny 'cause other people are now staring at you and you're like, oh, sorry, I'll just fold my arms now and pretend I wasn't doing anything. But anyway, the other thing about the Milanese loop that I found frustrating was that the magnet on it, I mean, whilst it is very good, it tends to slip a little bit. And yeah, so if you're running or jogging, or even if you're doing, like I found, I was just hammering something in with a nail and it's like the impact is the, the impact kind of motions are the worst and it would just slip and slip and you'd go down, you'd have a look at your wrist and it's sort of like flopping around. So it really is no good at all for exercise. Yes, it's waterproof, but it's just, it just came loose too easily. It doesn't rattle when the haptic goes, the haptic goes off, which is great. But the thing that I did find is that the woven steel threads, where it folds back on itself after you adjust it, they don't always settle into their own, like the grooves of the other piece. So, you'll like twist your wrist a few times and it's kind of like it moves around and then as it settles into those grooves, it actually feels like a false tap. And every time you adjust it, it goes and does the same thing, or at least that's what I've experienced. And I actually was getting phantom taps for a few weeks until I figured out what was going on and I thought, "Oh, I'm getting phantom taps. Am I going mad?" It's quite possible, but no. So anyway, not too bad though. But you know what, you said something else I just wanted to, I think it's definitely worth mentioning is how the size of our wrist changes. And it's not always the same diameter because, I mean, beyond the obvious thing, like people lose weight, people put on weight, maybe they go to the gym a lot. Although I'm not really sure how many muscles there really are in that part of the wrist that bulk up. I'd probably not that many. It's not like it's part of the bicep or anything, but anyway, things like, you know, like salts, like fluid retention, you know, if you're exercising or whatever else and it's, or it's really hot or there's high humidity and all of that affects the diameter of your wrist, which is really annoying because it's never the same size. So it's one of those things that I found that there's, I found that leather bands seem to take it better because the rubber bands don't really change their size much. The steel bands obviously don't either. Like a steel link braces is whatever size you set it beyond the micro adjustments. You set it in the morning. No one's going to take an adjustment tools tool with them to work. So, yeah. So, it's like how do you, and the Apple watch band, you can't even do that micro adjustment anyway. So, I mean, I sort of was trying to get my head around the why that that is, but leather just seems to, I don't know, have a little bit more give in it or a little bit more flexibility to it so that I don't notice the difference anywhere near as much either if it's a little bit too tight and it's sort of like cutting into my skin just a little bit, I don't seem to notice it so much on the leather if it was as tight and it was a metal band. Do you know what I mean? Oh no, I feel the same way. I mean, this is why I almost universally prefer leather bands. Even if I'm going to be like, you know, sweating in them and then I have to replace them after a year or two. Like I'd rather just do that because they're just so comfortable. They're so good in every other way. I'll just, I'll take that risk. Yeah. And I've pretty much reached that same conclusion is that I've preferred the feel of the leather and the fact that that little bit of stretch and give in the leather makes it more comfortable all day around, which is far better. And the thing about the, well, I guess my, where I'm going with this is my favorite band at this point. Having said all of this has ended up being the modern buckle. And I know it's everything we said about it before, but the truth is that it's a nice leather and it has a much nicer feel to it. It's more comfortable. And the clasp, once you get used to the clasp, it's 'cause it's got magnets in it and it's the-- - Oh, it's great. - Yeah, but once you get used to that, it actually is really, really quite nice. It doesn't rattle or vibrate when you get a tap on your wrist, which is great. And it doesn't slip when you're exercising, if you are exercising with it. And I think it looks really nice and dressy, you know? So it's good for a dressy occasion. So the only concern I have about it, the longevity is where the leather joins to the lugs. And I know that I've read some people have this thing. It's like, if it's leather, it needs to be stitched and there's no stitching on it. So I don't know. - That's interesting. - 'Cause some people were saying, oh yeah. I was looking at a few forums about people's different opinions about this thing. And they said, oh, it's a leather watch but there's no stitching on it. You can't have a leather band without stitching. and I thought to myself, I looked back at all of my other non Apple watch bands that are leather and they were all right. They all had stitching. I don't think that's a big-- - I mean, no, it's generally speaking, stitching on a leather band. I mean, some of it is functional, like usually like around the ends where it has to like kind of loop back on itself or form a little hold up for the bar to go through. But most stitching on leather bands is just purely aesthetic. - Yeah. - There's no function that most of it is serving. So that's yeah, I think I think your friends are wrong No, my friends. That's a forum. I think your forum people are wrong And you could yeah you can wear this ever and one thing I mean I love how soft this leather is on the on the modern buckle It's like the the the leather on the classic buckle is really nice as well But the modern buckle is even softer and even even more comfortable That's why I guess I wish that they made it in a size that fit me because they just it just barely doesn't well - Well, if, yeah, see, if you don't mind buying a knockoff, (laughs) you know, I mean, sorry, third party. - Yeah, and this, I'm actually curious, like Apple has the, like they did a few months after the watch launched, they did announce that they were going to license the lugs for then have an official, you know, MFI kind of program for officially licensed watch bands from third parties. Have you ever seen a single one? Because they're like all the ones, You can buy tons of third-party Apple Watch compatible bands on Amazon stuff for almost no money. Like they're an incredible value, but I'm pretty sure none of them are actually certified or using Apple's official lugs. I think they're just using like, you know, replicated knockoff lugs. - Yeah, and I haven't seen any either. So I'm not sure, maybe it's like how FaceTime was gonna be open source or something. - Yeah, or maybe it's just that like, if you're buying a third-party Apple Watch band, if one's 10 bucks and is not certified and the certified one is 50 bucks, like is that, is anybody gonna buy the $50 one? You know, I feel like if you're gonna buy a third-party band at all, you probably don't care really about whether it's certified or not, as long as it works. And if you want something that's like official, you're probably gonna buy a band from Apple. - Yeah, exactly. And this is the, where I got to with all of this is that I was going to try the, because I've got a 42mm sports Apple Watch, silver one. And I had to look around, I'm like, I really want to try the modern buckle, but I've got the, my watch doesn't fit. It doesn't fit, the official one doesn't. So how do I do it without like taking it back or selling it and going down to a 38mm, which I didn't want to do, because I figured the 42mm is small enough as it is to then to go smaller. And so I found this one on AliExpress and it was like 25 bucks Australian, nice and not too expensive. But the quality of it isn't too bad, really. And it feels just like the one in the Apple store. I have no idea if it's going to... That's interesting. I didn't realize anybody was making third party modern buckles. Now I'm interested. I'll send you a link. I'll put a link in the show notes. Here's one on Amazon for $26 that has every combination of sizing. They even have... There's some with black metal on them. Yeah. Like if you have the black watch, there's something that will match that. That's pretty great. Yeah, I know. And I tell you, unless I guess if you look really, really closely, the one thing that I can tell that is different, um, because I played with them a lot in the, in the store is that the, the, the knockoff bands, the third party ones tend to be a little bit wobbly in, in the connection up to the, uh, into the actual body of the watch. But apart from that, I can't really fault it. It's, it's seems to work fine. I mean, this is how many weeks is this now? Four or five weeks I've been wearing it and it's fine. It does the job and it's really comfortable and that's my new favorite. So I don't know. In any case, I just hope that Apple sort of like realizes that that's actually quite a nice band and they should make it in the 42 millimeter and a few different colors wouldn't be a bad idea. And who knows, maybe they're holding back on this market. They're going to do it next year or something and that'll be the upsell. - Yeah. - So we'll see. - Man, it does look just like it. It does. It's as fun as it's... It could like... If I bought this from Apple, I would pay more than what this third party one costs in sales tax. Yep. Oh, that's terrible. But, you know, I don't know. Do they come from the same place? And this is the other thing I just don't understand, but anyway. Oh, I mean, probably not, but does it matter? No. I mean, like the reality is like... And I too, I mean, I'm also a huge fan of having lots of different bands and swapping them out and everything, which is why we're doing this episode together. Yeah, pretty much. The reality is, like, we have a couple of bands for Amazon that are just, like, you know, cheapo, third-party ones. Like, one of my favorite bands is this NATO-style strap that I got for a Damasco watch that... the strap was, I think, $12. And it is one of my nicest and most favorite watch straps. It just came from some, like, no-name thing on Amazon, and it's totally fine. - Yeah, well, and you can get some of the lugs. Like what I did a while ago, the very first non-genuine band that I got for my Apple Watch was actually one that I sort of put together myself. And I thought, oh, this'll work fine. Anyway, so yeah. You already know where this is going. So I got these adapters from, they're called click adapters. I mean, there's a stack of different ones out there, but anyway, so I waited forever for these. - And these are the ones that basically allow you to have a regular standard spring bar with the Apple Watch lug, right? - Yes, that's correct. Exactly. Yes, those. And these particular ones, I had to get my own spring bars for them, of course. And I decided I'd get the aluminum one so it would match the color of the body of the watch. And of course, it's a slightly different finish and it doesn't quite match. And it's like in the end, from a distance, no one notices or cares anyway. So nevermind. Anyway, but I found a aluminum, or aluminum, if you prefer, aluminum link bracelet from a company called Morolato. And I'd never heard of this company before, Italian company, strangely. And the whole part of the band is, it's all made out of aluminum, which is very unusual, but the deployant class was made out of stainless steel. But apart from that, it's incredibly light. It's actually lighter than the rubber band is. So I thought, oh, this would be great. You know, it'd be super lightweight and it'll be the lightest possible, you know, Apple watch you could possibly get, except of course, if it was 38 millimeters, which it wasn't. And you know what I found when I wore it? It's like, you know what? It actually doesn't matter how heavy it is. - That's actually true. Yeah, I mean, like I've found like with wearing watches and bands of different weights, you notice the weight for about the first 30 seconds and then it doesn't matter what it is. - Yeah. I have watches that vary very much in weight. And like I'm wearing my lightest one right now. It's my Nomos Minimatic. It's wonderful. It weighs just about nothing. And then I mentioned before, I also have a Damasco. And Damasco is made from special steel alloy that is much, much harder. And it's also much heavier. It's probably about as heavy as gold. It's very, very heavy, very dense. And that one, like I can alternate between those different days and it's totally fine. You just you stop noticing after a second. Wow. As long as it's not made out of depleted uranium or something crazy. It's not that bad. That's not that heavy. Good. But yeah, because I was genuinely shocked. I honestly thought that having a really, really heavy watch was going to be like a really, really light watch versus a really, really heavy watch was going to make a big difference. And I'd notice it and you're right 30 seconds after you put it on, you don't even know. You don't even realize that it's there. So, I was, yeah, so that band had the Taptic rattle. And so, after about a week of wearing it, my meticulously selected and assembled band stayed in the drawer and it only came out now so that I could look at it while I was talking about it with you. And it's going to go back in the drawer again when I'm done. So much for that experiment. But anyway. So yeah, I'm not sure I have too much else I just wanted to cover. But I guess to just to sort of like wrap it up, I guess if I were to give suggestions to people or just actually, you know what, on the Milanese loop, I really would like it if they used either a stronger magnet maybe, or maybe like a second magnet, just slightly set back from the first, like with a flexible bit between to make sure that it held on a bit more firmly or maybe if they used a different magnet like a stronger rare earth magnet or a denser metal that's got higher permeability or something, you wouldn't want to make the Milanese Loop any thicker. Just so it would hold on more securely and it wouldn't need to be readjusted, it wouldn't slip as much. But beyond that, I just think the Milanese Loop is great for all weather usage, but I I just can't go past the comfort that you get out of the leather, the leather band and the modern buckle, I think looks great. And yeah, it's great to put it on. So that's, that, that's my favorite. And, um, yes, anyway, In conclusion, get leather. Yeah, that's it. That's it. And it, and it's okay. If it, it, if you need to replace it after a few, a little while, especially if it only costs 25 bucks from Amazon. Yeah. It's get leather and don't spend too much on it because it is temporary. Yeah, that's it. It's a consumable item. All right, cool Well, um, is there anything else about bands? You think we should we should mention or have we exhausted this one? Do you think? Who's gonna listen to us talking about watch bands for an hour I Don't know. Let's fall find out. I guess we'll find out. I'll let you know If you made it this far, thank you. Yeah, thanks for surprising. Thanks for sticking with us Oh dear. Well, if you do want to talk more about this, because we haven't talked about it enough, if you want to talk more about this, you can. You can reach me on Twitter @johnchidjy or you can follow @PragmaticShow specifically to see show announcements and other related stuff. Pragmatic is part of the Engineered Network. It also has an account @engineered_net and that has announcements about the network and all the shows, and you can check that out @engineered.network. People are also loving Causality and Analytical. They're both solo podcasts that I do and look at different things like cause and effect and other major events in history. So if you're a fan of this show, you might like those as well. If you'd like to get in touch with Marco, what's the best way for them to get in touch with you? >> Twitter's good, @MarcoArment. My website, Marco.org, is hardly ever updated anymore, but it points to other things, so there you go. >> Fantastic. Cool. And if you're enjoying Pragmatic and you want to support the show, you can. Like one of our backers, Chris Stone, he and many others are patrons of the show by Patreon. You can find that at patreon.com/johncicci, that's all one word. And if you'd like to contribute something, anything at all, it's all very much appreciated. So, a special thank you to our patrons, a big thank you to everyone for listening this far, and as always, thank you, Marco. Thanks a lot. [MUSIC PLAYING] [Music] [Music] (upbeat music) (upbeat music) [Music] (upbeat music) [Music] [Music] So, there you go. I'm going to be very curious to see what people think. I mean, what is the Venn diagram of people that are tech geeks that like listening to tech explanations about stuff, I guess, I don't know, fans of Pragmatic liking watch bands. But then I guess I thought the same thing about coffee, but I mean, everyone wears watches, lots of people drink coffee. I don't know. Yeah. I don't know. (laughs) Somebody will listen. Exactly. I don't know how many somebodies there will be, but somebody will want this.
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Marco Arment

Marco Arment

Marco writes at his site and has a podcast with friends called the Accidental Tech Podcast each week.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.