How to Choose a Genuine Leather Apple Watch Band You’ll Love

Genuine Leather Apple Watch Band

An Apple Watch is an incomparable life partner that not only tells you the time but keeps you updated on all that matters. Considering you won't want it an inch away once you have it on, you need the best leather Apple Watch band that matches your personality and that you’ll love having on your wrist all day, every day.

A Horween leather watch band takes your Apple Watch to the next level by adding a touch of elegance to the functional timepiece. Furthermore, it carries an unmatched richness and a luxurious look and feel thanks to its buttery-smooth texture and all the swirls and blemishes retained from the animal hide.

At Popov Leather, I provide you with a collection of four traditional watch straps in different colors meant to complement your favorite timepiece and showcase a different facet of your personality. Additionally, they come in 4 color tones:

  • Black
  • Natural 
  • Heritage brown
  • English tan

You can never miss the mark with a genuine Horween leather band. But, how do you make sure you love the watch band you select?

Below, I take you through four steps to follow when you're shopping for your next Apple Watch band to ensure you get it right the first time.

Step 1 - Get the Fit Right

You can't fully optimize the personal features of your Apple Watch, which include wrist detection, fitness tracking, and location tracking if your leather band is too loose or too tight. 

Therefore, the perfect straps for your Apple Watch need to be snug, breathable, and comfortable to ensure all functions work as intended. 

Getting the right fit starts with determining the size of your wrist. This is easy to do:

  1. Wrap a thread or tape around your wrist. 
  2. Place it on a ruler to determine your wrist circumference in centimeters.
  3. Round off whatever number you get to the nearest half a centimeter. For example, if your wrist measures 15.5 cm round it off to 15.75 cm.
man wearing an Apple Watch with leather straps
iPad Sleeve - English Tan​​

However, you can use the standard wrist size estimates, which range between 14 cm and 18 cm for women and 15 cm to 19 cm for men. 

I make beautiful Horween leather watch bands for everyone within these standard wrist sizes. My Popov Leather watch bands range from 15.24 cm (6”) to 21.59 cm (8.5”), ensuring you get a perfectly fitting watch band despite having arms that are bigger or smaller than average.

Your Apple Watch band comes to you as two straps—the longer one is 12.5 cm and the shorter one is 8 cm. Additionally, the straps are connected to either side of your Apple Watch to form the complete watch band. The band is easily adjustable thanks to the nine holes punched 0.5 cm apart on the longer strap.

You'll know your watch band is the perfect fit if:

  • It’s not too loose or tight.
  • It doesn’t move out of position when you move your hand.
  • It leaves enough space for your skin to breathe.
  • All features, including wrist detection, and electrical and optical health sensors work optimally.

Expert Tip: You can prevent skin irritation and ensure your watch sensors work well by tightening the straps a bit when working out and loosening them when you’re done.

Step 2 - Compatibility With Apple Watch Series

Band compatibility is dependent on the casing size, which is the length of the device from top to bottom. 

The larger Apple Watches need longer bands while smaller watches go well with shorter bands.

As such, you can use one band for the Apple Watch (1st Generation) and also for an Apple Watch Series 1,2, and 3. That’s because watches in these four series have the same case size (38 or 42 mm). 

However, you won’t be able to use the same band with watches in the newer series, which have a bigger case size. 

multiple leather Apple Watch bands
Popov Leather Watch Bands

The table below highlights the band lengths compatible with different Apple Watch Series.

Apple Watch Series Band Length
  • Apple Watch 1st Generation 
  • Apple Watch Series 1, 2 and 3
38 mm and 42 mm
  • Apple Watch Series 4, 5 and 6 
  • Apple Watch SE
40 mm and 44 mm
Apple Watch Series 7 40 mm and 45 mm

Step 3 - Opt For Soft Full Grain Horween Leather

My aim is to bring you nothing less than the very best leather products. For this reason, I make high-quality leather watch bands from buttery-smooth full grain Horween leather.

Horween leather is manufactured by Horween Leather Co., a company that relies on demanding hand-tanning to produce leather that never cuts corners. The material is manufactured from unblemished hides and air-dried to create top-tier Chromexcle or shell cordovan leather.

Here are some features you're going to love about a leather Apple Watch band made using full grain Horween leather.

  • Develops character and patina over time: Full grain leather's most appreciated characteristic is its ability to develop patina—a true mark of quality—with every use.

    Your watch band will patina with every crease, fold, scratch, and exposure to the elements but will continue to hold up and serve you well year after year.

  • Enchanting leather aroma: Many leather enthusiasts can tell real leather from other fake or over-processed variants by its aroma.

    Indeed real leather has a rich, natural, soothing, and luxurious aroma that makes you stand out.

  • Breathable and comfortable on your skin: Full grain leather is pleasant to the touch—its texture is rich and rugged, yet soft and supple against the skin.

    It also maintains a lot of warmth and is gentle enough not to cause chafing or irritation.

  • Personality: No two watch straps look the same because full grain Horween leather comes with the unique blemishes, scaring, marbling, and color variations on the animal's hide

"This is a great strap that is really soft and comfortable. Would definitely buy it again."

Nathan M.

Step 4 - Go For Heirloom Quality Finishes

we hand-sew this strap

All Popov Leather products, including the leather watch straps, come with a lifetime guarantee because they're heirloom quality.

How do I achieve this level of quality? 

My team and I hand-sew the straps using the traditional "saddle-stitch" method

This method uses two blunt needles attached to a single thread. The two needles pass through a single hole to create a secure binding that won't unravel or fray even if it's cut or snagged.

Another mark of quality on my watch straps is the thick Ritza 25 Tiger Thread I use to stitch. This is made using a flattened and lightly waxed polyester braided thread, which creates a strong and sturdy seam that won't fall apart.

My heritage-quality watch straps will last at least a few lifetimes and can be loved and enjoyed by you and your children.

"Fantastic smell, terrific threading, seems like a high quality product that will last a long time."

Lindsay B.

The watch bands come complete with a floating removable Horween leather keeper made using the same method and materials; and either sleek matte black or stylish polished nickel hardware to complement your style.

My quality guarantee also means I offer a full refund should you be unsatisfied. Simply send back the straps, and I won't ask any questions pertaining to the return.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my leather watch band waterproof?

No, your full grain leather watch band is not waterproof. However, it might just improve in look and feel when exposed to a little sweat.

Unfortunately, too much water dries out the leather straps, making them brittle and prone to cracking.

Can I wear my Apple Watch with leather straps when working out?

Yes, you can wear your Apple Watch with leather straps when working out. As long as the straps are made from full grain leather, they'll soak in the sweat and oils, developing a rich patina.

Additionally, real leather straps are gentle on your skin and won't cause irritation or discomfort while you sweat it out.

How do I clean my leather watch band?

Cleaning your leather watch band when it's dirty or sweaty is pretty straightforward. All you need is a microfiber cloth with some water, and preferably a Popov Leather Balm.

Gently wipe it clean in a circular motion, then air dry it before reattaching it to your Apple Watch. Finish off by applying the leather balm to protect it from the elements.

Written by Ryan Popoff

Ryan Popoff is the creative mind behind Popov Leather wallets, iPhone cases, belts, watch bands and journals since 2013. With a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, my leatherworking journey began at home. I wanted to create a simple leather wallet that could fit into my front pocket and — to my delight — it was a hit with family and friends. Hopefully you love our honest, quality leather goods too! Reach out with questions.

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