Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch Is Pure Class

So you bought, or plan to get, an Apple Watch. It will ship with a band, but it will likely be little more than functional. They are nothing to get excited over. The good news is that Nomad offers some impressive watch bands that take things upon a notch. Among them is the beautiful Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch.

Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch Is Pure Class

Let’s get this out of the way up front. The Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch has an MSRP of $149.95 and is currently on backorder. That means it is pricey as hell, and you won’t even be able to enjoy the instant gratification we have all come to expect. Still, if you can get past the initial sticker shock of the strap and can wait to receive yours and look more deeply into it, you will find that this is much more than just a strap. This is a piece of leather artwork that you will be proud to wear day in and day out.

Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch Is Pure Class

I received the 42mm version of the Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch.

Designed to be unique, the Nomad Shell Cordovan limited edition strap gives your Apple Watch a classic, yet bold, new look. Made with Horween Leather’s legendary Shell Cordovan, the finish is hand-glazed, creating a rich and glossy look. The inside of each band is uniquely patterned. The leather – taken through a specialized six month process from tanning to polishing – is designed to beautifully patina with time, creating a handsome, rich leather strap with a look that is uniquely yours.

Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch Is Pure Class

The strap itself is made from Shell Cordovan Horween leather finished with Fil Au Chinois beeswax linen thread.

Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch Is Pure Class

The custom hardware is made from 316 stainless steel and is PVD treatment for black color. The leather and metal combine to create something that is strikingly elegant. As Nomad explains,

Each strap is made with true craftsmanship as we use the best in class materials and state of the art manufacturing techniques to create a strap that is unique to the market.

We’ve seen Nomad employ Horween leather in other products, but it shines here.

Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch Is Pure Class

The raw finish of Shell Cordovan on the inside of the band creates a nice contrast to the exposed black surface and, according to the company, “produces a variety of dark greens intermixed.” (I’m color diffident so this lovely subtle aspect of the watch band is entirely lost on me.) At the final step in the band’s construction, the leather is stamped to indicate that the leather comes from Horween’s tannery. The band is thick, rich in color and feels substantial on your wrist. Better still, as it wears, the leather gets better over time.

Horween Leather’s Shell Cordovan is hand crafted by skilled artisans throughout a six month tanning process. As the strap comes into contact with the elements around you, the leather will develop a rich patina, or a dark lustrous sheen, making your strap unlike any other.

The refined design of the band extends to the hardware as well. The stainless steel buckle and lugs are custom designed, metal injection molded (MIM). Made from marine grade 316 stainless steel, they have, a “high tolerance fit and sharp details.”

Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch Is Pure Class

The Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch review sample I received works with both 42mm and 44mm Apple Watches.


  • Limited edition, uniquely colored strap interior
  • Shell Cordovan Horween leather from the USA
  • Fil Au Chinois beeswax linen thread
  • Custom stainless steel lugs and buckle
  • Designed for Apple Watch Series 4
  • Works with all previous versions of Apple Watch, including Apple Watch Series 3

The Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch is gorgeous. There’s a reason it is described as a “Limited Edition” and is currently on backorder. The leather is beautifully tanned, and the finish is as refined as we have come to expect from Nomad. I love this band but did find it to be far too stiff when initially installed on my phone. It didn’t sit properly on my left wrist. It was even more problematic on my right wrist since that wrist is thinner than the left ever since it was surgically fused. It was a problem and, for some time after receiving the review sample, I didn’t wear it. Every few days, however, I spent a few minutes bending, twisting and otherwise beating up on the band. Each time I did, the leather became a bit softer. It eventually became soft enough for me to start wearing. And while the band is still not quite as soft as I would like, I do love the way it looks, adding a level of class to my Apple Watch Series 4 that makes it appropriate for wearing at even the most formal of events.

Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch Is Pure Class

If you have an Apple Watch and want to add some custom refinement to it, you should check out the Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch. It is a beautiful leather strap. And while it might take you some time to soften the leather enough for comfortable use, I can vouch for the fact that it is worth the effort. Check it, and Nomad’s other Apple Watch bands, out here.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the Nomad Shell Cordovan Strap for Apple Watch

What I Like: Beautiful Horween leather; Shell leather means the interior of the strap has a beautiful, unique look; Leather will develop a patina over time that adds to its uniqueness; Custom hardware is gorgeous

What Needs Improvement: Pricey; Leather is so thick that it is initially quite rigid

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.