Turn your regular old Apple Watch into a wannabe Ultra with this rugged Nomad case

Apple Watch Ultra encased in Nomad's Rugged Case
(Image credit: Nomad / Apple)

If, like me, you’ve been looking down at your standard Apple Watch with a slight hint of disdain ever since the superior Apple Watch Ultra was revealed, you’ll love this. Accessory makers Nomad have designed a rugged case for the standard Apple Watch that, at a glance, could see them mistaken for Apple’s premium timepiece.

The Nomad Rugged Case for Apple Watch is the company’s first attempt at making a durable cover for the wristwatch, with the package comprising both a band and protective shell. It’s looking like a contender for the best Apple Watch case crown.

Compatible with 45 and 44mm Apple Watch Series 4, Series 5, Series 6, Series 7 and Series 8 devices, it’s made of a hardened 315L stainless steel, with a 1000 HV DLC coating that should help make it near impervious to bumps and scrapes. A TPU lining, designed for shock absorption, rounds out the protective features.

Apple Watch Ultra encased in Nomad's Rugged Case

(Image credit: Nomad / Apple)

As for the band itself, Nomad says it’s using “FKM fluoroelastomer for a soft yet durable finish”, alongside a stainless steel buckle. It’s a tough cookie, and built right into the case for the best defence — which also means you can’t mix-and-match this with other bands you may like.

A Series Watch in Ultra clothing

The neatest trick might be the detailing around the buttons — you’ve got interchangeable black and ‘Ultra’ orange buttons that can be swapped in at your leisure, which finish off that Ultra-aping look.

Though ruggedised, the case keeps all functionality accessible, so you don’t lose touchscreen or Digital Crown access.

Considering an Apple Watch Ultra starts at $799, and a Series 8 starts at $399, you can get a decent approximation of the Ultra at a fraction of the price — the rugged case would set you back just $120 on top.

Of course, it’s not just the tough construction that sets the Ultra apart — features like the Wayfinder watch face and scuba-diving swimming depth support. But if you want to just make your old watch feel tough again, it’s looking like a solid option.

It’ll be interesting to see if the upcoming Apple Watch Series 9 will be taking any ruggedised cues from the Ultra line-up when it’s expected to release next month — and whether or not the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has pushed the envelope further too when it is revealed, expected to make its own debut alongside the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro.

Gerald Lynch
Editor in Chief

Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 15 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. 

Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.