My Week With The iPod Nano Watch

When the first iPod Nano watch straps appeared on the scene in September, I was non-plussed. I’ve seen plenty of wrist-mounted MP3 players, phones, and other junk to understand that anything you wear on your wrist and still have to connect a pair of headphones to is bad news. In general, you look goofy and feel goofier.

But there was something about the Nano watch. Maybe it was because Apple made it abundantly clear that this wasn’t a watch. They made it hard to read the time – you have to press a button every time you want to see the clock – and they added a clip to suggest you should strap this to your jacket and not your wrist. But by gum I wanted to try the Nano watch.

My first effort used a standard nylon NATO strap popularized by James Bond in Thunderball. Nilay at Engadget tried a similar solution using a fat leather strap.

Not content with the fit of that solution and not foolish enough to buy a custom iPod Nano watch band made of diamonds, I looked to some of the ready-made solutions.

The first one that caught my eye seems to work the best. It comes from iWatchz and you simply slide your iPod Nano into it and lock it into place. This model has the metal actually touching your wrist, which could be a problem for some with allergies and will definitely ruin the surface over time. However, for $25 you basically have a watch that turns into an iPod and that won’t fall out while performing vigorous activity like exercising or breaking rocks in the hot sun.

The TikTok and Lunatik models are similar in design except that these keep the watch safe and secure with bolts and screws. Obviously it’s hard to get these right now since they don’t exist, but they are another option.

Finally, I tried the Quadmountain Ultimate One, an all in one strap that firmly grips the iPod Nano in a rubber band. The guys at Quadmountain sent me a rapid prototype of their model and I’ve got to say it’s probably the most comfortable of the few that I’ve seen. It is made all of rubber except the buckle and the Nano is completely protected on all sides. The unit they sent me is obviously a prototype and made of slightly less resilient materials but I’d totally wear this model over the previous two I tested. Pre-orders will be shipped for $25.

The real question, however, is whether the iPod Nano makes a good watch. It does and it doesn’t. If you’re a watch geek, stay far away. This thing is like the the LED watches of old in that you need to press a button to see the time. If you like Tokyoflash watches however, you may be able to survive. Sadly, even when you press the button the time appears after a second or two and in analog form. To Apple’s credit, they did give the clock a sweep second hand so you can feel like you’re wearing an Omega but the face itself isn’t very readable as the pips are rather small on the chapter ring – watch nerd talk for the “dots are too tiny so you can’t tell where the hands are pointing.” I would totally pay for a “change your clock face” app, although many have made it clear that the Nano isn’t a real iOS device.

Wearing the watch for a week was an unusual feeling. I couldn’t check it at night without fumbling for the button and I couldn’t shower in it like I do my Seamaster (which you’re not supposed to do anyway, but I’m a risk-taker). People loved looking at it but the joy was short-lived. If you’re trying to peacock with this, I wouldn’t. The ladies will probably consider you a big freak instead of a “cool guy with an iPod watch.” Otherwise, it’s good fun.

Generally, if you want to wear a cool, high-tech watch, you could do worse. Please, however, take it off when you want to listen to music. Thanks.