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The First Aluminum Apple Watch Band 

What is your projects?
 
We created the first aluminum Apple Watch bands in the world. We’re using hard anodized, aircraft grade 6061 series aluminum that’s strong yet incredibly lightweight. The vibrant colours are fantastic and only achievable with aluminum. Another benefit to using aluminum is that we can much better match the colours with Apple’s aluminum watches, which are by far their best sellers. No one else can match the colours as well as we can with this Ligero (name of our new bands) project.
What is the meaning of JUUK?
 
When I created this brand 2 years ago, I had envisioned our brand to make such compelling products that it would make people want to keep changing their JUUK Apple Watch bands according to what they’re wearing, what activities they’re doing and events they’re going to, how they’re feeling, etc. I wanted to keep the brand name to one syllable, and thus JUUK (pronounced “juke”) comes from the jukebox, an older generation music player that used to physically change records, and then later CD’s, so that you can hear any song you wanted. You just hit a few buttons and the new record or CD is swapped into the player, and you have a new song, a new band, and maybe a whole new atmosphere. This is exactly how we wanted people to treat our bands.
Why did you create the JUUK apple watch band?
 
I moved to Hong Kong in 1997 (I’m from Vancouver) and have been doing product development in the watch industry since then. I’ve worked for major watch groups (Timex and Movado) and on many fashion labels (Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, Ecko, Reebok) and several other smaller brands. Watches are all I know so it just seemed like a perfectly logical extension of my skills, experience and manufacturing contacts to work on making the best metal Apple Watch bands in the world. I’m a big Apple fan, so it was also very much a passion project of mine to be able to put my know-how into making something truly special for this new Apple product category, using everything I know and of course help from industry experts who also manufacture for major Swiss watch brands.
Why you choose crowd-funding method to manufacture your product?
 
We had already developed two stainless steel models, which received fantastic blog reviews and incredibly flattering customer testimonials, but we wanted to get more exposure than we could normally get on our own for this new Ligero project, since it was going to be a world’s first in aluminium for the Apple Watch. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter really help spread awareness in ways that we couldn’t afford to do ourselves.
Any Challenges while creating this watch band?
 
The biggest challenge is also one of our brand’s strengths. Unlike most brands that use the Apple Watch connectors made for leather and rubber straps and then just cheaply attach easily sourced steel watch bands on them, we go to a lot more trouble and effort to make custom connectors for each of our designs. This gives our bands a fully integrated look that not only makes the bands look much nicer, but they also make the Apple Watch look whole when you use one of our bands on it. Our custom connectors just make it look like a part of the Apple Watch, not an after-market attachment to it. 
 
But therein lies the challenge, because it’s such an intricate component to do well. If it’s off by 0.05mm in key areas, it won’t fit or it’ll be too loose. There are a lot of key locations and radii where it needs to be perfect, and it’s definitely not easy to do. That’s probably why most brands don’t bother and just use the leather strap connectors that you can buy off many B2B websites. Add to this challenge the fact that aluminum shrinks when you anodize it (with more shrinkage with increased duration in the anodisation baths), and you then have another variable to deal with in getting a great fit to the Apple Watch. This added a whole new level of challenge that we had to overcome compared to our steel connectors.
 
We go to incredible lengths to make the bands as perfectly as we can. For instance, we experimented with different drop angles on the connector link so that it would fit the majority of users (we settled on a 10° drop but tried 12°, 14° and 16° as well). We designed and developed a proprietary adjustment tool that’s easy to use so that customers could potentially adjust it right out of the box without having to go to a watch shop; most watch brands don’t even do this. And to facilitate the adjustment, we use custom concave capsa pins so that the user could find the pins more easily when adjusting the band, thereby avoiding unnecessary scratching (while searching for the holes). Again, most watch brands wouldn’t spend the extra cost to make these pins concave at the tips.
What are your vision and mission of your company?
 
Our mission is to create THE best metal Apple Watch bands in the world through original and appealing designs, constantly improving the products even after they start shipping, using only the best manufacturing partners possible from the watch industry, and using strict QC control standards as if we were a Swiss watch brand. 
 
Our vision is to really expand on our current product line (currently we have 3 unique models in many colours, finishes and sizes), and we’re already on our way towards that goal with a new, very exciting aluminum design coming out soon, as well as a 3rd in the design stages at the moment. For this new model, all I can say is that it’s very sporty, aggressive, and was inspired in part by vintage race cars. Our use of colour may very well also be a first in the watch industry for aluminium. If you’d like to be the first to see it when it’s ready, please visit our website (www.juukdesign.com) and sign up for our Newsletter when we announce new products and sales.