In the absence of official third-party bands, several users have shared pictures of their unofficial bands in the popular The Great "Third Party Band/Strap" Thread within the MacRumors discussion forums. Most third-party bands are sold through Amazon, eBay or Etsy and generally cost considerably less than those sold by Apple, and all you need to get started are Apple Watch adapters.
Apple Watch Band Adapters
To use a third-party band with your Apple Watch, you will need to fasten both ends of the band to an Apple Watch adapter, a tiny metal part with a slide-and-lock mechanism. These adapters can be purchased from Amazon or eBay, generally for less than $20 a pair, and allow for essentially any regular wristwatch band to be used with the Apple Watch.
If you already have a Classic Buckle or Modern Buckle, however, you can use the adapters from those bands to connect standard wristwatch bands to your Apple Watch. In the video below, Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy walks through the process of using the parts in the Classic Buckle band to connect a 22mm third-party watch band to the Apple Watch.
Given that unscrewing an Apple Watch adapter from the Classic Buckle or Modern Buckle requires using an uncommon pentalobe screwdriver, ordering adapters from Amazon or eBay is probably the easier option of the two. Regardless of which method you choose, the next step is the fun part: ordering a third-party band.
Apple Watch Third-Party Bands
MacRumors members have been experimenting with and sharing photos of third-party bands in the discussion forums, and we've rounded up some of the popular choices among our readers below. Keep in mind that many band sellers include adapters/lugs for free with your purchase, but ensure that you choose the right size depending if you have a 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch.
Name: Handmade Vintage Leather Strap
Description: 20-24mm brown vintage leather strap with a stainless buckle. Includes lugs adapter for 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch.
Product Link/Price: Etsy ($89.90 + $6 shipping)
Submitted By: iBighouse
Name: Diver Strap
Description: 24mm black PVC rubber strap with red stitching and removable stainless buckle. Available in multiple stitching colors.
Product Link/Price: eBay ($16 + $6 shipping)
Submitted By: CarlJ
Name: Poetic Modern Band
Description: A flexible and shock-resistant TPU band available in a variety of bright colors for the 38mm and 42mm Apple Watch.
Product Link/Price: Amazon ($14.95 + $4.95 shipping)
Submitted By: Jmona
Name: HOCO Stainless Steel Classic Buckles
Description: Aftermarket stainless steel link bracelets in silver, space gray, rose gold and yellow gold for the 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch.
Product Link/Price: eBay ($47.12 + free shipping)
Submitted By: StarJr.
Name: NATO G10 Military Nylon Watch Strap
Description: 18-24mm two-piece nylon strap for Apple Watch in black, grey, olive green or "James Bond" black/grey.
Product Link/Price: eBay ($17 + $3 shipping)
Submitted By: taff2003