The Apple Watch has a lot of enviable characteristics, but it was never designed to be the be-all, end-all when it came to avoiding damage from accidents or the weather. For most people, any kind of electronic product that is going to be taken around on a daily basis will need some kind of protection — so that’s what all those specialized cases are for, be they designed for a smartphone or a laptop or a tablet. But covering up a smart watch can be a different story altogether: part of the panache of the watch is its design, and most cases muck that up in an attempt to impose their own aesthetic on it. Then there’s the need to protect the watch from the dings and dangs of daily life — resulting in what seems like a bulky cube that’s been grafted on top of the watch. Not good. The final problem with a case is that if it’s going to be able to seal off the watch from the elements, then it might end up dong the same from those sensors the watch is supposed to be employing on the skin it’s resting against. But fear not m’lords and m’ladies, for here comes riding to save the day the Catalyst Case for Apple Watch 42mm.
The name certainly says exactly what it’s for (the Apple Watch) and the size it works with, so all that’s left is to get a handle on what it does and whether it does it well and if it’s worth doing.
The case matches the Apple Watch either with an all black design (Stealth Black), a white look with lime knob highlights (Green Pop) or black with orange knob highlights (Rescue Ranger). It’s sized to ft snugly around the Apple Watch — so much so that it can protect the smart timepiece from drops, thanks to a construction that meets MIL-SPEC 810G standards. This slim design also aids in sealing off the watch from that which the environment and human skin might provide:moisture. The Catalyst is rated at IP-68, which means that it is waterproof, not water resistant, although pressurized water or high velocity water isn’t in the cards (a.k.a., water skiing, hot tubbing). In addition the waterproofing extends to protecting the watch from the corrosive nature of salt water — something that might not be thoughtApple about until it was too late.
Yet even with all this, accessing the touch-screen of the Apple Watch remains the same as if the case wasn’t there at all. And yes the sensor for reading heart beats will still function through the watch, as does the microphone, charging dock and internal speaker.
But for all the “hugging” of the watch, the Catalyst still does a shout out to its own design element by adding a touch of color through a rotating crown dial.
The Catalyst Case for Apple Watch 42mm provides its own silicone wrist strap and retails for $59.99. That’s a fair price for keeping your Apple Watch safe but at the same time usable.