- 330 foot depth protection
- 360 degree protection
- No screen protector to contend with
- Sensitive crown dial/Button
- Comfortable strap
- Heart rate sensor/Wireless charging capable
- EKG Feature unavailable
- May be a little bulky
With fathers day fast approaching, here is the perfect gift for that perfect Apple Watch loving father.
Before I purchased an Apple Watch, Casio G-Shock watches were the only watches that I utilized. I became spoiled with the robust, indestructible build of the watch, with the atomic connection and with the solar recharging. Despite these benefits, I decided to move into the Apple Watch Arena. When I made the change, I was surprised by how many people wore their Apple Watch without a case. I invariably hit my wrist on everything and it seemed that everything was out to tarnish my devices. I work hard to avoid dings, scuffs or scratches on my tech and I want to enjoy my gear without life getting in the way. Catalyst has had my back now for the past few years and I was excited when I found out about their waterproof case for the Apple Watch Series 4.
The Catalyst Waterproof Apple Watch 44mm Case arrived in classic Catalyst style. Winner of the IF-design award 2018, the company cares as much about the experience as the product. I do not know how they capture the gut-wrenching moment so vividly, but the cover of the 3 1/8 inches wide by 7 inches tall by 7/8 thick retail box displayed a 3 1/4 inches tall case-covered watch falling into crystal clear water. Rather than a flat, lifeless, simple image, the cover captured the moment that the water splashed, and the bubbling effect of the water. The cover promised 330 foot/100 meter IP68 Ingress Protection, 360-degree total protection, and a 6.6 ft drop rating. Rotating the packaging clockwise, the side panel mentioned the IP68 330-foot range, MIL STD810G shock/drop status, the included screwdriver/dummy watch/accessory screw, #CatalystCase, and a Catalyst waterproof confidence logo. The opposite side panel provided a slightly raised, glossy, side view of the watch/strap/crown dial. The rear panel provided six bullet points: Waterproof IP-68 every unit tested 330 ft deep, Military grade impact protection, direct touchscreen access, true sound acoustic calls, wireless charge capability, and heart rate monitoring. Beneath the bullets, you can see the eerie green glow of the Apple Watch sensor, the stoic catalyst logo etched onto the strap, the crown dial/button, surrounded by water droplets. As an added bonus, they provided these details in Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.
Returning to the cover, I lifted the magnetic flap and was pleased to find the same attention to detail as the cover. The inner flap provided an exploded/labeled diagram of the Apple Watch case. The outer impact resistant rugged polycarbonate shell, premium soft silicone band, silicone waterproof seal, rotating crown dial, tactical side button. If you divert your gaze to the right, you can directly see the case behind a clear plastic window. Similar to the cover, the image captured the moment that the watch fell into the water. Gripping the upper plastic product hook, I lifted the top panel and removed the inner plastic tray. To the left of the case, Catalyst included a 2-inches long Phillips Head screwdriver. The matte black 2-inches tall by 2-inches wide case (side to the edge of the crown dial) provided a sturdy shell for the Apple Watch. Jutting out from the top and bottom of the case, you will find a 3 5/8 inches grey strap and 4 5/8 inches long grey strap respectively. The shorter strap contained the watch tang-type buckle and band strap, while the longer strap contained the adjustment holes. Catalyst was etched into the reverse face of the 12 o’clock strap, the front face of the band strap and along the 3 o’clock edge of the watch strap.
To remove the dummy watch, turn the watch strap onto the face and use the screwdriver to remove the small silver screw along the 3 o’clock side. Press upward on the crown dial and the device will separate into four parts. The outer polycarbonate shell can be set aside but hold onto the dummy watch/silicone shell. Remove the dummy watch from the silicone waterproof shell and reinsert your Apple Watch Series Four. The rotating crown dial attached to the silicone waterproof seal fit securely into the polycarbonate outer shell and then into the polycarbonate backing. When combined, the two halves of the shell provided a reassuring click. Before inserting the screw, make sure that the waterproof silicone seal is visible all the way around the Apple Watch screen. When ready, insert the screw into the back of the watch case and tighten it down with the screwdriver. At 2.57 ounces, the Catalyst Case/Apple Watch Series Four combo did not add much beyond the base 1.3-ounce watch.
The Apple Watch Series 2, 3, and 4 are rated for water resistance down to 50 meters/150 feet, which will allow you to use it in pools/lakes/oceans. Apple warns against diving and other high impact water sports while wearing the watch. The Catalyst case accentuated the safety features and further reduced the risks of damage by encasing the watch in silicone and compressing it within a polycarbonate shell. I was pleased to find that the case allowed access to the heart rate sensor/monitor but was somewhat disappointed with the inability to use the EKG functionality because it covered the crown. I have enjoyed swimming, mountain bike riding, playing with my children, and working with the Apple Watch securely upon my left wrist. Each morning I awake, take my shower, add my Apple Watch Series 4, wear it throughout the day and then remove the watch before sleep. The silicone cover did not inhibit any of the wireless charging capabilities. Navigating to Amazon, I decided to peruse some of the reviews. Interestingly 58% of the reviews were 4-5/5 stars, 10% were 3/5 stars 9% were 4/5 stars and 23% were 1/5 stars.
I have not experienced any sweating or water ingress while showering or while swimming at a local pool. The buckle remained secure, the adjustment straps were well placed, and the bands were simply comfortable. Many competitor bands have tugged at my arm hairs or caused perspiration but not the Catalyst Waterproof Cases for Apple Watch. The bands are comfortable, breathable, easy to install and easy to remove. I loved that the screen remained fully accessible and that the speaker was crisp and easy to hear. I cannot attest to the ability to protect my watch to a 330-foot depth, as I have never been below ~20 feet. I can say that Catalyst has gained my trust and I am a brand loyalist due to their quality. I have had a case break and I reached out to the company. I received a prompt email response and they sent me a replacement section to make me whole. Enjoy the added benefits of the watch case and the freedom to enjoy your watch on your terms. Lastly, enjoy free shipping in the USA.