Like a Tuxedo Shirt, Formal yet ready to Party.

When making purchases, I love to research to find the best deals, the best features, and the best price/cost. Additionally, I love the feeling of obtaining something new. However, I am cursed with a terrible sense of buyer’s remorse. I, like many others, grew up craving opulence but was faced with the reality of too much month and not enough money. Thus, budget/bargain deals became my reality. As I moved into adulthood, grew a family, and settled into my career, I allowed for some degree of grandeur. I quickly realized the truth behind the phrase “you get what you pay for,” and found more enjoyment in knowing my purchases would endure. When I purchased my first Apple Watch and subsequent generations, I was truly excited about the tech. However, with each watch came another sport band. Although the bands were not necessarily low quality, I felt like something was missing. I felt that the watch needed a more formal, everyday appearance. Luckily, the NOMAD Stainless Steel Band provided just the solution to my need.

The Nomad Stainless Steel Band Arrived in a 4 5/16 inches wide by 7 3/16 inches tall by 1-inch thick hanging-style retail package. You will find the bold NOMAD name along the top of the grey/white cover panel and the “Stainless Steel Band” 44mm/42mm Graphite Apple Watch name within the lower white rectangular section. Despite the visually appealing steel-grey and white color scheme, the main showcase of the cover was the 5 3/16 inches tall by 3 5/8 inches wide raised, glossy image of the Apple Watch with Nomad Stainless Steel Band. The dark grey bezel plus the screen of the Apple Watch paired perfectly with the coloration of the Nomad Steel band. The packagings spine and magnetic flaps listed the NOMAD name within the upper gray area and the graphite steel color within the lower white section.  The rear panel provided two lifelike images of the clasp mechanism, a Grade 316 stainless Steel Logo, and four device descriptors: 1. Stainless Steel with Durable DLC Coating. 2. Secure Custom Designed Magnetic Clasp. 3. Link Resizing Tool Included. 4. Works with Apple Watch Series 1-6 & SE.  At the bottom of the panel, you will find the bold NOMAD name and an educational QR code link.  To access the band, I lifted the magnetic right side flap and unrolled the packaging.  The inner surface provided a topographical map-like design along the bottom edge and a paragraph about the benefits of 316L Stainless Steel.  The packaging promised a durable, premium design, individually carbon-coated links, and a rugged/strong finish.  Yet, they state that the metallic surface was designed to resist scratching other objects (remove watch when using metallic laptops).  

Despite the attractive features of the outer grey slipcover, the highlight of the experience was the visual appeal of the graphite steel bands resting within the inner black foam cutouts.  I loved the tan brown inner box border and the contrast with the matte black inner foam, the side by side watch bands, and the band resizing tool along the bottom.  I gripped the cardboard “Metal Band resizing instructions tab, lifted it upward, and removed the instructions from beneath the foam.  On one side of the four-panel instruction booklet, you will find a six-step link removal instruction manual.  This process proved to be easier than initially presented. First, align the included link-removal tool with the link you wish to remove and then turn the wheel clockwise to push the pin through the slot.  The instruction manual discouraged removing the three specialized links attached to the lug, as they had integral/unique shapes for the design.  Remove the pin, turn the wheel counterclockwise, adjust the removal tool to remove as many links as needed. Then, simply follow the three-step link-attachment instruction manual or scan the bonus QR code for additional information to reattach links.  To reattach the links, insert the small tube into the center link, align the two halves, and then insert the small pin into the tube.  To complete the build, you will need to use the link-tool needle/accessories (hidden under the foam).  Although this may seem daunting, the step-by-step process could not have been easier.  

I removed the 1.1-ounce black/chrome link tool from foam and then the two metallic bands.  The left-sided larger band measured 4 9/16 inches long, 1 3/8 inches wide at the watch attachment lug, 13/16 inches wide at the middle of the links, and weighed two ounces.  Hidden beneath the band, you will find a small 11/16 inches wide by 1 1/16 inches tall by 5/16 inches thick “Spare parts” box, with a spare tube/pin.  Within the right-sided cutout, you will find the shorter watch strap with the male magnetic attachment point.  The strap measured 4 inches long, 1 3/8 inches wide at the lug, 13/16 inches wide at the middle of the links, and weighed 1.7 ounces.  Hidden beneath the right strap, you will find another small box with similar dimensions to the box above.  However, instead of an extra pin/tube, the “Tool Accessories box” contained the pin needle for the link tool.  I appreciated the small brown boxes, the white wrapping paper, and the included accessories.  

To install the watch straps onto my Apple Watch, I aligned the lug of the longer strap with a female attachment point with the lower track on my apple watch, and then I slid the lug into the slot until I felt the click.  I repeated the process with the upper strap (with a male attachment buckle) as well.  Combined, the watch/strap weighed five ounces.  I loved that the magnetic closure found and affixed itself and that the added mechanical closure added enhanced retention.  Initially, I found the straps approximately two links too long on each side out of the box.  I removed the straps, removed the small screw on the link tool, inserted the needle, and followed the above instructions to remove the links. Next, I removed two links from each of the straps, reinserted the lugs, slid the straps back into the locked position, and tried the watch on again.  I found that my 6 1/2 inch diameter wrists were too small for 9 links per side, and I repeated the above steps to remove one more link from each side. The magic number of links for an appropriate, but not too tight, fit was eight links per side.  I found that fingerprints did adhere to the band while removing links but they were easily wiped away with my t-shirt or microfiber cloth. Lint/debris/dirt did not seem to attract much to the watch band.

The graphite watch straps added a formality to the Apple Watch that was missing with the standard/base casual sport bands. With a typical NOMAD flourish, my Apple Watch was elevated beyond simple accessory to talking point.  The durable metal design provided a refreshingly cool feel against my skin, reminding me of the Timex watch given to me in grade school.  I liked that I was able to wear it while jogging, I could wear it in the shower, or if desired into the pool. The stainless surface should not rust and has not had any blemish or change in the past few weeks. If using weights/gym equipment, I typically remove my watch to avoid any pinching or injury. However, with cardiovascular activity and leisure sports, I typically wear my watch. I have worn the band daily for the past two weeks and have grown to love the weight on my wrist.  Combined with the breathing function of the Apple Watch, the noticeable weight, and the forced self-reflective pause, added a moment of zen to my hectic day.  Amidst a pandemic, amidst a firestorm of politics, and amidst an uncertain day-to-day dynamic, I want luxury, I want comfort, and I want my NOMAD gear.  I loved the ease of installation, the step-by-step link removal instructions, and the overall design of the packaging and product.  Forget the price tag and experience the splendor of the NOMAD Stainless Steel band.

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