Apple doesn’t do a lot of explaining on the website about its watch bands. You get a gallery of styles with mentions of material and a price, all under the headline, “Thoughtfully Designed Bands.” Apparently, great thought goes into water exposure.
Avid Apple product deconstructor Greg Koenig recently put Apple’s quilted Venezia leather Loop band to a soak test for his blog, atomic delights. After four soaks, Koenig was impressed to find no visible damage.
Apple, like any other company, will make reasonable claims about materials being water-resistant or weatherproof. But Apple is not going to recommend long showers or afternoons in the lake with the Apple Watch.
Koenig wouldn’t recommend such extreme usage either with the leather band, which retails for $149, but after his test, he concluded, “this Loop band is one of the most impressive pieces of soft goods engineering I’ve seen.”
Koenig, a product designer who runs Portland, Oregon-based Luma Labs, was in the midst of developing a comprehensive Apple Watch care guide for his fans when he decided to see how the band reacted to water saturation.
He submerged pieces of the band in water four times and each time let the band air dry. He did 10-minute soaks on the first three and finished up with an eight-hour test. Drying, he said, took about three hours.
Koenig declared the band “essentially waterproof,” but still warned against getting the band wet.
“My theory is Apple does not caution against getting wet due to water, but because of contaminants in most of the water we would soak it in,” Koenig wrote. “Your shower? Full of soap that can intrude into the fibers…. Pools? Chlorine, which will eat away at the fibers…. Saltwater? Entrapped salt particles … act like saw blades on fibers over time.”
The Sport band would hold up much better to water contaminants, he said. His test has some good takeaways — mainly that all is not lost if you get your strap wet.
Koenig recommends rinsing your band in fresh water if you fall into a pool or the ocean. For leather wearers in warm environs, use a damp cloth every few days to remove salty sweat from the strap. The salt and acid coming out of our pores is far worse for your leather than water, he said.
Koenig also believes the strap is more Vectran than leather. Vectran is a fiber made from a liquid crystal polymer that is water-resistant and holds up in hostile environments.