It's surprisingly hard to design a watch band that's perfect for everyone. Leather watchbands might feel good against the skin, but since they close like a belt, they can be hard to cinch just right. More sophisticated watches, like a Milanese loop, might use a magnetic clasping mechanism to get a just-right fit, but these clasps can pull at hairs, or even pinch skin.
Oddly, the humble Velcro watchband might be the best compromise between fit and comfort, but Velcro is the anti-fashion. A fashionable alternative might now be here, thanks to Layer's Benjamin Hubert, who has designed for Swiss watch startup Noomoon a new kind of self-gripping watch strap that works like a material design cross between Velcro and Lego—while looking cool and modern.
Called Labb, the strap is made from Swiss-made fluoroelastomer, a soft-to-the-touch plastic that is odorless, waterproof, resilient, and designed not to irritate the skin. The strap itself is patterned with an alternating grid of raised diamonds and diamond-shaped holes. When pressed together, the two parts of the watchband firmly and easily snap together, with a microscopic latching texture given to the segments to make sure they stay gripped, until you need to pull it off. The result is a colorful, stylish band without any moving parts that is as easy to put on and keep on as it is to take off.
Flop or not, the Apple Watch is probably the most highly visible watch on the planet right now, which is why—coupled with the ease-of-use of the Apple Watch band system—the Labb band is being released for that device first, with the proceeds being reinvested into making Labb for other watches. But that's not the only use for Layer's unique Lego-meets-Velcro fastening system: Hubert also says that it would be perfect for traditional wristwatches, jewelry, belts, purses, wallets, and even smartphone covers that could mount with your car dash.
Available in black, navy, olive, red, and white, you can preorder a Labb band on Kickstarter for $77 here.