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There are a lot of third-party straps out there -- and an awful lot of clones of Apple's own bands -- and most of them are, to put it kindly, pretty awful. I've gone through a couple of dozen for testing and none of them have come close to the quality or performance of the bands offered by Apple.
But that's all changed.
Prior to switching to the Apple Watch, my go-to bands for wristwatches have been the UK-based Zulu Alpha Straps. This company produces some of the best straps on the market, and are chosen and trusted by the military, police, first responders, and those who spend a lot of time in the outdoors.
The Apple Strap is handmade from tubular bonded polyester webbing, which is more abrasion-resistant than nylon. The straps are kitted out with metal connectors to attach onto the Apple Watch sewn into each end.
The strap is 1.2mm thick and 22mm wide, and long enough for the biggest of forearms (or wrapping over a wetsuit). The stitching on the band is second to none -- strong, secure, and absolutely flawless.
Securing the two ends is a tri-glide buckle. It's easy to use, fastens down snugly, and holds the watch in place perfectly.
The tri-glide buckle is also infinitely adjustable, so you can get a perfect fit every time.
Oh, and it's comfortable. Very comfortable!
Zulu Alpha Straps makes the Apple Strap for all Apple Watches (there are straps for the 38/40/41mm Apple Watch and the latger 42/44/45/49mm Apple Watches) in a variety of colors and with black and stainless steel fittings.
Prices range from $73 to $85, depending on the design on the strap.
The company ships worldwide, and the company will even make you straps in custom lengths at your request.
I'm pleased that my search for a rugged, robust, comfortable webbing strap with an adjustable buckle for the Apple Watch Ultra is over. This is a strap that will no doubt outlast the Apple Watch Ultra itself.