Quick Review: Third-party black Milanese Loop band for Apple Watch

Context: my daily is a stainless steel 42mm Apple Watch with Apple’s Milanese Loop, and I’m very happy with it. It’s just the kind of innovative band I’ve been trying to find since I started wearing a watch again a couple years ago, and I feel the price is well worth it for the quality. The only thing I would change is adding more color options, especially black.

This led me to find Kartice’s knockoff milanese loop band, which the company offers in seven colors. Wouldn’t you know it, they have black, so I gave it a shot. If you click my affiliate link above and buy one of these bands or anything else at Amazon, you will effortless send a little love for my work here at Finer Things in Tech.

After wearing it for nearly a week, here are my thoughts:

  • The overall design mimics Apple’s quite well. I’m not sure if they’re using Apple’s official pins, but they at least look the part (more on that in a minute).
  • Overall, the color is thorough and well done. I think it’s coated stainless steel, but there are no gaps or blemishes where I can tell.
  • It’s pretty comfortable to wear, and I wear my watch all day and evening (basically, I only take it off to sleep). I even forgot to switch in my sport band when I went skating over the weekend and had no trouble.
  • The band can kink slightly if you lay it down folded on itself, as if the small links have just a little friction between them, but it comes out effortlessly once you pick it up again. It hasn’t affected the aesthetic or wearability, but it’s definitely a noticeable quality drop from Apple’s band, and I’m curious about extended wear down the road.
  • One of the pins or its locking connectors is just a little too large, causing it to stick pretty damn hard in the Watch slot. It was a little tight inserting, but it needed so much effort to remove that I locked myself out of my Watch for a couple minutes because I was accidentally hitting the buttons or typing in the wrong passcode. It could be a manufacturing defect, so I’m tempted to try a replacement.
  • A key difference from Apple’s loop is that you cannot just undo the magnet and let the band fully open on your wrist. With Apple’s loop, the pin is designed to catch the magnet so that the loop never completely opens up; a convenient way to make sure the watch cannot easily fall off your wrist. But with Kartice’s, the magnet will slip through the pin pretty easily if you don’t pay attention.
  • The magnetic clasp is nice and strong, and I haven’t noticed any areas where it loosened abnormally from Apple’s milanese loop. I certainly don’t go boxing with it like Brianna Wu, but it’s been solid.

Overall, this might be a strange recommendation from me: the band is good for the roughly $46 sale price Amazon currently has on it. But if you’re a stickler for the quality of Apple’s band, I definitely don’t recommend this one at the $83 list price. At most I think I’d pay $60-70, assuming my pin issue was indeed just a manufacturing defect and it is usually easy to remove like Apple’s bands.

Will I keep this band? I would if I had a space gray Watch, but I’m not quite at the point of owning more than one Watch (yet). However, if you’re after a loop in a color Apple doesn’t offer, and if you’re not too bothered by the minor quality issues I mentioned, this is a pretty good band for under $50.