Lunatik Epik Aluminum hands-on: Rugged protection for the 42mm Apple Watch

Some people like chunky watches and find the Apple Watch too sleek. Add a Lunatik Epik case and band to bulk things up and protect your Apple Watch from bumps and scratches.

lunatikepik-11.jpg
It will soon be five months since I bought my Apple Watch and it is still in excellent condition because I am very careful with it. If you are looking for rugged protection and wear your Apple Watch where it could be exposed to bumps and scratches then you may want to consider the new Lunatik Epik aluminum case and band.

Apple's official bands are very expensive with the lowest cost rubber band priced at $50 and the high end stainless steel Link band priced at $449. Lunatik offers several phone cases and is focused on protection and style with its products.

Lunatik Epik Apple Watch models

Lunatik set up a Kickstarter campaign that reached a funding level of $242,176 from 1,796 backers. The Lunatik Epik cases and bands will be shipping to backers this month and for the last couple of weeks I have been using the black Epik Aluminum with black leather band.

The following are the options and prices for Lunatik Epik cases and bands. The Epik cases and bands are only designed for the larger 42mm Apple Watch. Given that the case and band adds significant bulk, along with serious protection, it makes sense that Lunatik is targeting the larger watch model customer.

  • Epik Polycarbonate with four color options and silicone band: $59.95 each
  • Epik Aluminum in silver or black with black silicone band: $139.95
  • Epik Aluminum in black with black or brown leather band: $149.95
  • Epik Aluminum in silver with silver link bracelet: $199.95
  • Epik Aluminum in black with black link bracelet: $219.95

Installation of your Apple Watch

The Lunatik Epik Aluminum case and band ships in a durable cardboard box with a simple installation guide and the tools needed to install your Apple Watch. The first step is to remove your Apple Watch from your current band so you just have the Apple Watch body in hand. That's as simple as pushing the small buttons under the Apple Watch and sliding out the band.

One month with the Apple Watch: Pain, joy, and daily experiences

The Apple Watch Sport edition has been strapped on my wrist for a month and for the most part it has exceeded all of my expectations. It's even better now that I realized I was wearing it wrong.

Read More

You then need to take the angled and straight Allen wrenches provided by Lunatik and loosen the screws in the lug area of each side. One side has short screws while the other is a very long screw that goes through most of the connecting lug. Fully remove the screws and separate the two halves of the Epik case.

The Epik aluminum case is split in two down the middle and upon separation you can see where your Apple Watch slides securely into position. Pick one side and slide in your Apple Watch and then slide the other half of the Epik case to put the two halves back together. Note how there are aluminum pieces where your Apple band fit to ensure a secure fit in the Epik case.

Screw the two halves back together, making sure not to overtighten the screws. It's a simple to get your Apple Watch installed as loosening and then tightening two screws.

Walk around the case and band

There is no front glass protection for your Apple Watch so this is the one area that is vulnerable to damage. Given that the touch screen is used quite a bit, I'm not sure what can be done to offer more protection for the display without making the usage experience terrible.

Lunatik does offer bezel protection so that your display is now set in a couple millimeters from the front of the Epik case. There is a large digital crown dial that covers the Apple Watch crown and performs flawlessly. It's actually a bit easier to use for those with big fingers too. Below that is the large activation button.

The Lunatik Epik case is made of 6000 series aircraft grade aluminum with stainless steel crown, button, screws, screw pins, and mesh screens. The band is made of leather with suede lined interior.

On the left side of the Epik case you will find openings for the speaker and microphone with a stainless steel mesh grill offering some additional protection.

The back is cut out so that your heart rate monitor is nearly flush with the back case. The heart rate monitor continued to perform flawlessly while the Apple Watch was installed in the Epik case.

I was sent the leather band model to evaluate and it is a substantial leather band. There are nine slots so the band is adjustable to your wrist size and it secures with a wide aluminum post. Two leather loops are provided to secure the extra band length along the band.

The leather appears to be well stitched together and is quite comfortable, despite its thickness.

Daily usage experiences

The Lunatik Epik Aluminum case and band adds substantial bulk to your Apple Watch and you need to be comfortable with such bulk before making your purchase decision. Having your Apple Watch inside the case does provide peace of mind though and I never even thought about being careful with my Apple Watch while having the Epik mounted to my wrist.

The case and band only adds about 36 grams of weight so while it is bulky, it isn't heavy. I originally wanted a black aluminum Sport model Apple Watch, but that model quickly sold out so I bought a silver one with a light blue band. With the Lunatik Epik Aluminum black case and band, I was able to turn my Apple Watch into a black on black model since the rest of the Apple Watch is fully encased.