Best List:
Clessant Black Barenia Apple Watch Band

When it
comes to fashion, it’s hard to beat basic black. However,
sometimes you want a little something extra — a design that
adds subtle interest without going over the top. The Clessant
Black Barenia Apple Watch band does the trick, thanks to fine
off-white stitching that looks almost like racing stripes.

Clessant Barenia Apple Watch band
Barenia leather, traditionally used for Hermès saddles, makes
this Clessant band soft yet strong.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

The delicate accent stitching looks great, but there’s more to
this Apple Watch band than meets the eye. Clessant uses

prized Barenia leather from the Haas Tannery in France.

vegetable-tanned leather, used in high-end bags by Hermès and
other fashion powerhouses, gives the Clessant Barenia band a
luxurious feel.

lightweight and silky-smooth, yet maintains its shape
beautifully even after months of wear. It weighs just 6 ounces
(just 50 percent more than
Apple’s own woven nylon band, the gold standard for durable
summer-weight straps).

During a
recent Italian vacation, I packed a woven nylon band as a backup
for those sweaty, sun- and spritz-drenched afternoons. But I
never felt the need to change out the Barenia band — it works as
a dressy option, but looks fine for casual situations, too.

It’s also
supremely comfortable on the wrist. Nicely spaced holes make it
easy to adjust the strap to a comfortable size, just tight
enough to keep the Apple Watch heart-rate sensor working as

Barenia leather is quality leather

When it
comes to Apple Watch bands — especially third-party straps,
which can be hit-and-miss — the two main things you need to
watch out for are the quality of the leather and the durability
of the hardware.


Quality leather makes all the difference when it comes to the
look and feel of an Apple Watch band. You’ll pay a little extra
for great leather, but it won’t crack or warp like cheaper
materials can.

The Barenia band comes in black (the color I tested), but it’s
also available in “gold”
— which really looks more like a rich
Peruvian brown. Both black and gold Barenia bands come in
42mm and 38mm sizes, with four Apple-y lug colors — silver
stainless steel, silver aluminum, space gray and space

Clessant uses outstanding lugs

About those lugs … The hardware any Apple Watch band-maker uses
proves almost as critical as the leather they employ. Some
vendors cheap out, using off-brand hardware that just can’t
compare to Apple’s own.

Clessant uses rock-solid
lugs that don’t allow any of the annoying wiggling that you
might be woefully familiar with if you’ve ever bought a
bargain-basement band from a no-name retailer on Amazon.

Clessant’s thin, sturdy buckles work well, too. The small logo
on the buckle might turn off some people, but honestly it’s
hard to see. It almost looks like a design feature that adds
texture rather than a tiny company name and logotype.

If you’re looking to add a not-so-basic black strap to your
Apple Watch collection, this one’s a winner.



Cult of Mac Watch Store

Clessant provided Cult of Mac with a review unit
for this article. See Cult
of Mac’s reviews policy and check out more stuff we
recommend in our Best List reviews.

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