Full Functionality with Superior Drop-proof Technology. With Catalyst, you will not need to sacrifice function for protection.
This past weekend, my eldest son and I headed out for a weekend of camping and education with our local Scouting groups. Even though we try to eliminate as much tech as possible, I typically carry my Apple Watch and iPhone. With the risk of bumping/scratching my watch, and with the newness of the Apple Watch Series 6, I wanted a case that would add some much needed protection. I did not need a waterproof/event proof case for my outdoor activities. Instead, I wanted a lightweight, breathable, and comfortable case. Should you desire the heightened level of protection, you can rest assured that Catalyst can help you tech up your adventure.
I do not know that I have experienced a more exciting, energetic, action-packed product packaging design than that presented by Catalyst. As expected, the Catalyst Impact Protection Apple Watch 44mm Case arrived in a typical Catalyst flair. The white company name along the top brilliantly contrasted against the grey-gradient background. Beneath this, in white and yellow-orange, they displayed the product name. Interestingly, just beneath the product name, Catalyst included two small rectangles labeled as “Series 4” and “Series 5.” As a proud owner of a Series 6 Apple Watch, I found it odd that their website listed the product as “IMPACT PROTECTION CASE FOR APPLE WATCH SERIES SE, 6, 5 & 4 – 44MM.” Along the right of the case, you will find a large, bold-white font “9.9ft,” followed by a yellow-orange box with “DROP PROOF” written inside. Further down the panel, you will find “3 Meters Military Standard 810G” in a subdued black font. I loved the white/yellow-orange font against the grey background but was not a fan of the hard-to-read black font. You will find icons for the 9.9-foot drop rating, the impact truss system, and the featherlight 23gram weight along the bottom of the panel. The cover’s main focal point was the image of a 44mm Apple Watch secured within a slightly raised, glossy, photo-quality rendition of the Impact Protection case. I loved the white halo around the image as it seemed to envelop the product and successfully drew my gaze to the center. I believe that the added flying dust actively captured the fall’s moment and impact upon the surface. Combined, the vibrant color pallet, highly-visible icons, and realistic/active imagery showed another Catalyst Packaging masterclass. Simply reviewing the cover panel, there should be little disbelief about how Catalyst received the World Renowned IF Design Award in 2018 for Product Packaging.
Rotating the packaging 90 degrees clockwise, the right-side panel had the MILSTD 810 icon along the top and the #CatalystCase plus Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram icons along the bottom. Similar to the cover, the side panel used the contrasting white-font upon a dark-grey theme. The opposite side panel showed a life-sized dark black image of the Impact Protection Case upon a dark background. I did not feel as much excitement for that panel but appreciated the ability to see the watch/case’s side angle. The top panel provided the black product hanging tab, while the bottom provided two SKU barcodes. The back panel provided the Catalyst name and the same product name/series information presented on the cover. I did like the splash of blue color added by the Catalyst logo, however. Beneath the title section, the company provided a list of four product features: Drop Proof MIL-STD 810G 9.9Ft (3m), Direct access to device features, Display protected by raised bezel, Ultra-slim, ultralight design. While the cover showed an oblique front left view of the watch, the back panel showed the 180-degree flip view of the watch’s left/side. If English is not your language of choice, check out the lower third of the rear panel. You will find similar information in Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and Simple Chinese. Returning to the cover, I lifted the front flap. The inner flap panel provided a labeled diagram of the Apple Watch’s left side/back and the installation method. Based on the design, I gleaned that one would need to remove any straps from the Apple Watch before installation within the Catalyst case. Utilizing the same multi-lingual format as the back panel, the labeled diagram pointed out the breathable, hypoallergenic sport band, watch band integrated into the case, Impact truss cushioning system, and the dual-layer protection. Looking to the right, you will see the Apple Watch case resting behind a watch case shaped clear plastic window. Along the top of the panel, they once again listed that the product was designed “For Apple Watch 44mm Series 4 and Series 5.” Pairing the clear window with the flying dust motif enhanced what could have been a boring, flat, unilateral frame.
I lifted the top flap, slid out the inner black Catalyst plastic tray, removed the 0.77-ounce blue watch band/strap, and then removed the cardboard faux-watch face. The watch case measured 1 5/8 inches wide by 1 7/8 inches tall by 7/16 inches thick and had attached breathable straps. Attached to the top of the watch case, you will find a 3 7/8 inches long by 15/16 inches wide watch strap with triangular cutouts arranged in nesting hexagons. You will find a rubberized free loop (strap) with “Catalyst” etched into the surface along the middle of the strap. At the end of the strap, you will find a matte black tang buckle. The other end of the strap measured 4 9/16 inches long by 7/16 inches wide and terminated in a 3/8 inches wide by 1/8 inches tall tongue slot. Before installing the case, you will need to remove the watch straps from your Apple Watch. To perform that step, turn your watch face down, press the buckle release buttons, and slide them out of the band slots. Once free of the straps, align the watch crown with the crown cutout and press your watch into the case. Fully installed, the watch/case weighed 2.11-ounces. The case allowed full access to the Digital Crown Dial, the side button, and the screen. The raised bezel provided an added degree of screen protection and did not seem to interfere with contact with the screen. I loved that I did not lose any touchscreen real estate by adding the watch strap. The crown dial was easily rotated despite being slightly inset into the protective case. Additionally, the side button proved to be quite responsive. Lastly, the design of the case left the posterior sensors unblocked. With the watch resting directly against the surface of my wrist, I enjoyed both the EKG feature and the oxygen sensing capabilities of the Apple Watch Series 6.
As a right-handed individual, I have followed customary norms and have worn a watch on my non-dominant left wrist for as long as I can remember. I placed the watch onto my dorsal wrist, wrapped the straps around my wrist, and then inserted the buckle tongue into the triangular tongue slots. Even though the case was made of two rows of side by side hexagons, the tongue was only designed to use the middle row of triangles. I found the perfect position, inserted the tongue into the triangular groove, and then slide the free end into the free strap buckle. Unlike previous iterations of the Impact protection case, it appeared that the buckle and the free strap buckle did not rest as prominently upon my wrist. To clarify, I previously experienced a small amount of discomfort when placing pressure upon my wrists. I was pleased that this device did not contact the same loci on my wrists, and I have yet to have any pain in my ventral distal forearm. Thanks to the lightweight nature of the case, I really did not notice the added weight. Additionally, the breathable cutouts prevented my wrist from becoming sweaty/sticky. If you are interested in a quality addition to your Apple Watch Series 4, 5, or 6, look no further than Catalyst. I loved that the Catalyst name was etched into the free loop buckle and the watch case’s lower edge. The digital crown dial and side button functions were not minimized, and you did not sacrifice the screen for protection. Lastly, if you opt for the blue watch, or perhaps you are just a fan of blue, the case is available in midnight blue, flame red, and black.
Like a good pair of shoes and a good mattress, do not skimp and buy a cheap watch case/strap. The price of the Catalyst case is well worth the purchase; less than the price of the AppleCare deductible, Catalyst can help to keep you in the moment.