These days, it seems like everybody who ever had an idea at any point in their life is forming a startup to attempt to sell it to you. Companies that put out products of quality, on the other hand, seem to be few and far between; this holds especially true in the field of consumer electronics accessories. Cheap headphones, cheap phone cases, and now cheap watch bands are a dime a dozen. Every once in a while, though, you might stumble upon a diamond in the rough. For quality, classy Apple Watch bands, JUUK may just be that diamond.
The name JUUK is derived from the jukebox, “where songs are changed frequently, based on mood or preference.” The company was founded by Eugene Ho who has been working in the watch industry for nearly 20 years as a product developer. Ho has developed watches for brands like Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger, and now he is bringing his talents to the Apple Watch. Ho’s goal with JUUK is to create beautiful Apple Watch bands with a focus on design, quality, fit, and finish. While the company is fairly new, they have been receiving some pretty solid reviews from the likes of MacRumors and Cult of Mac, both of which are very popular among dedicated Apple fans.
JUUK is currently offering two different watch bands. The first is the Revo. Designed to be simple, functional, and solid, the Revo is an attractive link bracelet that blends in well with the Apple Watch’s case. The band is available in your choice of three finishes: polished, brushed, and matte gunmetal. This band uses a unique link design; you wouldn’t know by looking at it, but each link actually has two pivot points, giving the band a much higher level of flexibility than a standard link bracelet, while at the same time minimizing gaps between the links and maintaining a sleek look.
The polished Revo provides a uniform look that matches the polished case of the Apple Watch well. It is made from solid 316L stainless steel, which is a high-quality steel that is also used by Apple and many Swiss watchmakers, and features a push-button butterfly closure. Each band also includes a screwdriver for removing links and a microfiber cloth for cleaning your watch. The brushed band has more of a matte or satin look, but the sides are still polished to match the Apple Watch case; this helps provide a cohesive look. The matte gunmetal Revo is a dark band that will go perfectly with a Space Gray or Space Black watch. Pricing for the Revo varies by finish and size: the 38mm polished and brushed bands sell for $185, while the matte gunmetal will cost you $215. You’ll have to add $10 to the price if you need a 42mm band; that puts the polished and brushed finishes at $195 and the gunmetal at $225. Not cheap, certainly, but in this case you get what you pay for: a fantastic-looking, high-quality watch band that will elevate your Apple Watch while still being over $200 cheaper than Apple’s own Link Bracelet. One thing to note, however, is that there is a fairly prominent embossed JUUK logo on the bottom of the band. This is one of those things that will be a huge deal for some people, and completely inconsequential to others, but be aware that it is there.
The Locarno, in contrast to it’s brother, is a band that aims to add “texture and personality” to your Apple Watch. This is a band that is designed to stand out, and it does a great job. The Locarno is also a stainless steel link bracelet, but instead of Revo’s simple single-link design, Locarno uses a 5-row design. Each link is shaped so that it is slightly raised in the center, giving the band a 3-dimensional, almost studded appearance that really pops, especially with one of the two-tone options available. As far as said options go, you have a total of 5 color choices with the Locarno: 3 two-tone and 2 single-color. The two-tone options are a combination of brushed and polished steel, polished rose gold and steel, and brushed black and steel. For single-tone you have a choice of all brushed or all polished steel. As with the Revo, the brushed bands still have polished sides, to better match the Apple Watch case. The two-tone steel band has brushed links on the outside and the center, with the two rows of polished links in between. The two-tone black and two-tone rose gold bands follow the same idea, with the colored links sandwiched between the plain steel. The result is that the bands appear striped, and they have a nice bit of flash without being overpowering. The brushed/polished steel and black/steel combos look particularly striking, while the rose gold/steel band has a more traditional feel.
Like the Revo, the Locarno is made from 316L stainless steel and features a high-quality butterfly closure. Also like the Revo, the bands come packaged with a screwdriver for removing links and a microfiber cleaning cloth. Locarno bands are currently only available for preorder, with shipping expected in April. They are also only available for 42mm Apple Watches at this time. When it is available, the Locarno will cost $245 for the polished, brushed, and two-tone steel versions; the two-tone black and two-tone rose gold will cost $275. There is a preorder sale price in effect, however, that drops the price by 15% in March and 10% in April. This brings them down to $208.25 and $233.75 at the time of writing; not a bad deal considering the quality and craftsmanship you’re getting.
In case you’re questioning spending that amount of money with a brand you’ve never heard of before, JUUK offers a 2-week return period on their bands. As long as they haven’t been worn, they’ll refund you 100% of your purchase price. They also offer a 1-year limited warranty on manufacturing defects. This doesn’t cover normal wear-and-tear, but if bang up your band or misplace your links and need to add some back, they will sell you individual links for the Revo for $10 a pop; not too shabby.
At the end of the day, these bands provide an excellent alternative to Apple’s own Link Bracelet, which is rather pricey for a lot of folks. To put it in perspective, you could get both a Revo and a Locarno band from Juuk for the price of one Apple Link Bracelet. At the same time, though, these bands aren’t just cheaper knockoffs of Apple’s work; they are excellent bands in their own right, blending sleek looks with quality workmanship and materials to give you a watch band that should last years and look right at home alongside your Apple Watch. Check them out!