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The Apple Watch Has Already Spurred a Market of Third-Party Bands

In case you want your Apple Watch to be different.
One of the bands on Casetify. Photo: Casetify

One of the bands on Casetify. Photo: Casetify

In the same way that the proliferation of smartphones gave rise to a massive market for phone cases ranging from rhinestone-covered to nearly bulletproof, the upcoming release of the Apple Watch has already spurred third-party retailers to start selling their straps, on the assumption that people will want something a little more individualized than Apple's own bands. 

Of course, the success of the custom strap sector is predicated on the watch -- which will be officially released Friday -- actually taking off with consumers. But for now, let's take a look at what's out there, shall we?

For the most personalized Apple Watch band possible, the company Casetify will let you print your own images from Instagram, Facebook or your photo collection onto the strap for $50. You can also go with one of its pre-designed bands. The "Galaxy Stars" version, above, is rather jazzy. (Even more unoriginal are these bands that MyCell is selling on Amazon, which rather blatantly rip off Apple's Milanese loop and leather loop bands.)

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And then there are the Kickstarter campaigns. A company called Monowear Designs is raising money to make leather, nylon and stainless steel bands and says it's only going to need two weeks after the Apple Watch is released to fine tune the fit with the device and start shipping. Click has focused its efforts on the little metal parts that attach the band to the device; basically, you slide a pin through any 22 millimeter watch band, fasten that into the Click adapter and then slide the whole thing into the band groove on the side of the Apple Watch.

Apparently people were into the Click concept, because the team raised $216,436 on Kickstarter, well above their goal of $30,000. Kind of makes you wonder if Apple should just sell the adapters itself and own that corner of the market. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to third party bands, and things will certainly get more sophisticated with time. Although for some people, that time is now: both Beyoncé and Karl Lagerfeld have been sporting Apple Watches on gold link chains that aren't presently for sale. Anyone want to Kickstart us some money to get one of those?