I've looked at a variety of Apple Watch stands since the very first ones debuted in early May, but none have really worked for me. After a few months and aborted tries, I ended up just charging my Apple Watch atop my jewelry tray—not a bad place for it, but not a very nice way of showcasing the watch, either.
Enter Twelve South's Forté (opens in new tab): The chrome and leather stand lives up to its name, loudly proclaiming itself as the place to rest your Apple Watch in just about any room. For those who don't quite like the angular brushed metal look of the HiRise, the Forté provides an elegant and curved chrome option for Twelve South aficianados.
While it has a similar style to Mophie's watch dock, the shape is much more pleasing to the eye—it's less of a rectangular monolith and more of a square, the leather-clad chrome base providing support for the whole shape of the watch.
It's also one of the first omnidirectional stands I've seen: You can attach your Apple Watch in either traditional viewing or Nightstand mode, and pivot it into either glance with a single movement. It's my favorite stand yet for testing, taking screenshots, and troubleshooting apps—after you unlock your screen, the 40-degree angle makes the screen easy to tap and work with, and the controls are readily accessible.
Bands, too, are given extra prominence: When you attach your Apple Watch, you can either drape the clasp over or through the curved chrome stand (which conveniently also hides the watch's charging cable), giving the watch a spherical or open look on its stand.
Both styles look great, though you may tend to prefer one or the other depending on how much effort you want to put into charging your watch. For those who just want to toss it off at the end of the day, you can casually fling the watch and open band on to the charging stand; if you want it for display purposes as much as charging, reclasp your watch band and slide it into the band holder.
As I mentioned, the charging cable snakes down through the C-curved chrome stand. It's easy to pop in and pull out, and it slithers out the rear of the base for easy connection to a charger. I do wish the cord cutout continued through the base itself, rather than stopping at the end of the stand: The cord starts to pop out where the base and stand cutout meet, making the charging cable ever-so-slightly raise off the table or counter you've displayed the stand upon. It's not a huge issue, but it does prevent the cable from being hidden as well as it could have been.
The charging disc itself is securely held inside a rubber enclosure lining the chrome stand, with a polycarbonate chrome-colored cover atop it. That cover is the weakest part of an otherwise weighty and well-crafted stand, and I worry that I'll lose the plastic piece—which is only semi-secure—if I attempt to travel with the Forté. That said, if Twelve South had to skimp on anything to keep the price reasonable, the ring is the only thing I'd choose—and the company also claims that using a polycarbonate cover keeps the watch body from directly interacting with the chrome and picking up accidental scratches.
The remainder of the Forté's body is made with surprising heft, to prevent the stand from coming with you if you attempt to detach the watch one-handed; it both looks and feels like the kind of display you'd see at an upscale jewelry store.
That leather base also provides a nice resting place for the iPhone, if you plan to charge one or rest it near your Apple Watch at night; due to its base's girth, even the 6s Plus looks comfortable lying there.
After only a few days with it, the Forté is already one of my favorite Apple Watch stands: It's sleek and looks great with any model of the watch, supports both portrait and nightstand mode, showcases whatever band you like to wear, and hides the charging cable effectively.
That chrome-and-leather body also looks fabulous resting on just about any surface: I've put it on my birch desk, white-and-metal shelving, oak nightstand, kitchen countertop, and couch side table, and it looks natural on them all. If you're looking for a great display for your Apple Watch and a place to charge it, too, you can't go wrong with the Forté.
Twelve South Forte - $60 - Buy now (opens in new tab)