In my quest to find the perfect red band that matches my iPhone XS Max red case, I stumbled upon the Carterjett Apple Watch NATO band on amazon for about $21 with solid reviews.
The first thing that pops is the red color. It’s close to the product red silicone case that I have, which is what I wanted. While it’s not as light as the product red case, which has a hint of orange / salmon / tangerine in the color, it’s still a pretty good match. I would call this a slightly lighter red. A lot of the bands are too red for my taste, so this color was perfect.
Looking at the craftsmanship of the band, the holes are not perfected punched, so you’ll notice some imperfect edges around the holes for 1/3 of them. It is a very minor detail, so it doesn’t detract from the watch strap. You can see that in this picture here:
The rectangular stitching is decent, but also not perfect. There are loose threads where the stitching finishes, but it still looks pretty decent overall. The strap is comfortable against the wrist, but this is coming from a lifelong NATO wearer. It feels as comfortable as all the straps I’ve bought from crown and buckle.
The brushed metal adapters look nice and match the watch perfectly, and the buckle loops are a darker color that matches the watch well; however, this is where all the good stuff ends.
The buckle loop on the nato band is a bit large, so they add a lot of extra bulk. In addition, one of the buckles is not sandwiched between the strap, so it’s constantly rubbing against your skin, which I found slightly irritating. The metal adapters match the color perfectly, but there is a noticeable amount of play when you move the adapter connection point around. The size is perfect, but the adapter connection point moves around.
A big annoyance is that unlike traditional nato straps, there is a stitching area that overlaps and touches your skin. You can see it in the picture above on the bottom where the right side of the strap by the adapter is going to rub against your skin. It’s not finished perfectly, and there is a small gap since it’s not glued to the end, so it keeps catching my skin and hair, which causes a lot of discomfort.
The last thing that’s driving me crazy on this NATO strap is that as a combination of the above 2, my watch constantly keeps catching hair and pulling on it. I’m not a hairy person by any means, so this is driving me nuts since I’ve never had this issue with any strap in the past.
I really wanted to like the Carterjett Apple Watch NATO band, but it’s going back. On the bright side, the customer support is outstanding. They responded within an hour, and they sent me a replacement watch strap to see if that would resolve the issue. The quest continues to find the perfect red NATO strap for my Apple Watch!