Review: Pad & Quill’s new Apple Watch band takes on the Hermès cuff at a fraction of the price

It’s immediately noticeable that the new Lowry Cuff strap from Pad & Quill meets the company’s usual quality standard requirements. You’ll first likely notice the strap is handcrafted by the rugged look of the stitching that clearly wasn’t done by machine. And the leather, which the company notes is full-grain vegetable-tanned leather from Horween Tannery (a favorite source of leather for a lot of high-end goods), is extremely soft to the touch. Some leather bands are stiff and as a result a bit cheap feeling, especially before breaking them in a bit, but the Lowry Cuff doesn’t suffer from any of those issues.

The Lowry Cuff is available in the tan color pictured throughout this review, and also darker Chestnut and Galloper Black options pictured in the image below:

The leather on the inside of the strap is unfinished for a super soft suede lining that feels great on the wrist:

You’ll find the usual Pad & Quill touches and more evidence of the company’s craftsmanship with an embossed company logo and “crafted in USA by” text with a handwritten signature from the craftsman at Pad & Quill that put the strap together. Both of those markings are on the flip side of the watch, out of sight when on the wrist and in use:

Otherwise the band is free of branding with no Pad & Quill logos or any other markings visible when on the wrist.

The buckle looks great (although more of a high-polish stainless steel look than the “durable nickel finish” description would have you believe), but it’s the only thing that feels a bit cheap when compared to the stainless steel lugs and the Apple Watch itself.

It fit my wrist just barely on the last hole (it’s made to fit 125-215mm wrists), but there is room to add a couple more holes if necessary. That’s pretty standard for leather straps, but Pad & Quill doesn’t currently offer an option to add some extra length when ordering on its website.

The cuff design immediately reminds of the new Apple Watch special edition with Hermès (pictured above, right). It’s a similar design to the Hermès cuff, but the cuff itself isn’t as dominant with the main standard strap sitting on top of the wider cuff rather than hiding behind like the Hermès strap. The cuff itself is about as wide as the Hermès version with just a small piece of the leather protruding from either side of the Apple Watch, but it generally doesn’t look as wide on the wrist due to the difference in how the standard strap sits on top, as mentioned above.

Should you buy it?

There isn’t much bad to say about the Pad & Quill Lowry Cuff band, although it isn’t available for the 38mm Apple Watch, only the 42mm. There are a lot of Hermès knockoffs available, but the Lowry Band actually manages to step out of clone territory and offer its own take on the style. It also accomplishes the look at $129, a lot less than Hermès will run you (even when factoring in the cost of the Watch) and without sacrificing much in the way of quality or design. And as a bonus, you get Pad & Quill’s 30-day money back promise and a 25-year leather warranty.

The Pad & Quill Lowry Cuff band is available for $129 from the company’ website. It also sells a standard version of the Lowry band ($109) minus the cuff design.

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  1. bpbatch - 7 years ago

    Another 9to5 positive review of Pad & Quill. Sponsored, of course, by Pad & Quill.

    • You forgot to stamp your little feet.

      • ericesque - 7 years ago

        Nothing like a good belittling to invalidate somebody’s point! Amirite?

    • Jordan Kahn - 7 years ago

      Sponsored posts are clearly marked and this isn’t one. I like the product, and I mentioned what I didn’t like about it. Love, Jordan.

      • bpbatch - 7 years ago

        Then at least admit that the editors at 9to5 are being “paid” by the free gimmies that P&Q are providing you in exchange for a positive review. Love, Brian

    • drtyrell969 - 7 years ago

      Well, this website is a shadow PR site supported by Apple. It was one of many websites that came after got sued out of existence. Apple hired partners to create fanboy sites like this one with ZERO critique and 100% pandering articles. We’ll know who’s real when someone has the balls write a “FIRE TIM COOK” lead story to save Apple’s lack of innovation.

  2. fromNY2LA (@onestopnyc) - 7 years ago

    wow, this loosk like shit compared to the real Hermes one.

  3. Looks cheap compared to the Hermès one, especially in the picture up top.

  4. Torrey Huerta - 7 years ago

    Not a fan of either this one or the Hermes one. They are just too large for my tastes. Good luck to ’em both.

  5. Umm, the cut and sew on that band looks terrible. Not $100 level by a long shot.

    • Indeed, the cut and sew look poorly done (for those that doubt if we can judge it … i’ve done work on leather accessories in the past for a hobby of mine, I would be able (with minor experience) to make this band and it wouldn’t look much worse). Material wise versus cost of production I am amazed at the prices of both the Hermes as this one however if I would spend a lot of money on a band it would be a properly made one.

  6. Andrew Messenger - 7 years ago

    like most of Pad & Quill’s products, ugly AF.

  7. kpom1 - 7 years ago

    The Hermès looks better-made.

  8. Did boy scouts make the Pad & Quill version?

  9. totencough - 7 years ago

    Sorry, Pad & Quill. These look like cheap flea market versions of the real deal. It might feel nice, but I should be able to buy this for $15 max with the way it looks.

  10. Bobajobbob (@Bobajobbob) - 7 years ago

    Jesus that looks aweful.

  11. brianskoog - 7 years ago

    This looks hideous

  12. Joshua Glowzinski - 7 years ago

    I saw this and the one this is made to look like. I decided to try to make my own. I actually have three I did. Also, there was a problem with the adapter I have with my bands. So, I thought of and drew my own adapter. I will make it out of strong foam and get a patent on it. Then, I will have one that works and can sell (if I can at all figure out how in the heck to do it) the thing for other people. Good times.

  13. Ramon Solorio - 7 years ago

    so many of these bands are terrible. can someone start thinking “different?” instead of applying old styles no this new watch platform, can we start envisioning new styles of attachment, new shapes, widths, clasps, etc? and maybe some cool new materials. idk, just frustrated with what’s available thus far.

  14. yojimbo007 - 7 years ago

    Fraction of the cost and Look

  15. Howie Isaacks - 7 years ago

    I hate these bands. They’re HUGE.

  16. Evan - 7 years ago

    except this looks like an arts & crafts project. why would you put this on something like and apple watch?

  17. Adam Marsh (@AdamMarsh_) - 7 years ago

    All of pad an quills stuff just doesn’t look appealing. Apple makes beautiful sleek products, and Pad and quills cases and accessories are clunky and look poorly made with loose bits and rough edges.

  18. Soluble Apps - 7 years ago

    Sorry, but this just looks awful, like you made it yourself.

  19. Holy shit that’s hideous. Looks like a summer camp project.

  20. Sorry but this is really ugly and cheap-looking. It’s like something you see at a flea market — the sort of thing you politely refuse because the vendor is so pleasant and friendly.

    While I don’t think that the Hermes straps are necessarily worth their price, their fit-and-finish is miles better than this abomination. Pad and quill’s knock-off screams ‘cheap’ and ‘third-rate.’

    It definitely isn’t even worth 30 bucks, much less 129. On principle, I’d rather pay full price for the Hermes than a much lower price for this garbage.

  21. aromedia - 7 years ago

    Looks like shit at a fraction of the price.

  22. Matt Sims - 7 years ago

    I don’t mind the slightly rustic stitching but failing to chamfer the edge on the leather is criminal.

  23. Gary Rhine - 7 years ago

    This looks natural and great! People here suffer from envy – one of the seven deadly sins.

  24. Milorad Ivović - 7 years ago

    Pad & Quill need to make android accessories only. As you can tell by the comments here, Apple users have taste… and … eyes.

  25. Pedro Nuno - 7 years ago

    The first picture looks like its a DIY band and the person who made has terrible craftsmanship abilities.

  26. Having owned the Hermes Apple Watch for a few weeks this article is based on, the pictures of this version looks poor at best. While there’s no way to really justify the $1,500, the cost of a 42mm Apple watch with leather band is already $700. The craftsmanship of the Hermes is first rate and the box and even bag just for the watch are really nice and unique to these watches. One thing that is hard to notice in the pictures is the watch sits lower in the band with the opening in the back making it look sleeker and less like a gadget. The Hermes digital clock face is a nice touch of exclusivity in an otherwise standard Apple Watch. I think Apple has a good strategy here in taking the Apple Watch to other watch makers where they can combine some of their DNA with the watch. This will attract a lot of watch buyers for these brands looking to own a watch that has the best of both capabilities. I hope Apple does more of these with other watch brands. Lastly, when I went in to look at the watch originally, there was a small line to buy them and I know they sold at least 6 just while I was waiting. Clearly there’s demand for this and kudos to Apple for seeing the opportunity for differentiation at the outset.

  27. DamoTheBrave - 7 years ago

    Great, now ugly is affordable.

    • Gary Rhine - 7 years ago

      The more you can’t afford it the uglier it is. Got it.

    • drtyrell969 - 7 years ago

      You’re 100% correct. Queue the denier fanboys who make the world a crappier place.

      • Gary Rhine - 7 years ago

        The envious I can’t afford it so it’s bad boys are running rampant.

  28. frank (@thefrankword) - 7 years ago

    that looks HORRIBLE. I make my own watch bands, quite poorly in fact, yet they still look better than this.

  29. drtyrell969 - 7 years ago

    How does anyone look at this thing and think anything other than UGLY? Seriously…John Denver meets George Jetson.

  30. Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

    Ok… the Hermès one actually looks very nice and very well stitched… the pad and quill looks very cheaply cut and the stitching is horrible…

    Why spend all that money on a watch to then buy a cheap leather strap.

  31. wow/chrome (@wowchrome) - 7 years ago

    Are you fucking kidding me. “Pad & Quill new apple watch band takes on the hermes cuff at a fraction of the price” …. have you seen this piece of shit from P&Q?

  32. monty72 - 7 years ago


  33. Gary Rhine - 7 years ago

    A whole bunch of wannabe owners here but are too poor.

  34. Nick Donnelly - 7 years ago

    Man this looks like a cheap piece of s*** next to the Hermes one (which doesn’t look great – but that’s more about the design than the finish). It’s great they’re getting partially sighted 5 year olds to work on their products – actually it isn’t they should be in school…

  35. James Katt - 7 years ago

    Looks awful and cheap. Unacceptable.

  36. Christopher Rose - 7 years ago

    I bought this and found it cheap-feeling and far too small. I usually love p&q gear too. Such a disappointment.

  37. James Katt - 7 years ago

    Ugly Ugly Ugly. And at $129, that is expensive for an ugly band.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.