Catalyst: The rugged case for your Apple Watch

The ruggedness of the Catalyst is tested by being placed under running water for half an hour. The Catalyst Apple Watch Case comprises three parts. It has a hardshell case front, a silicone wrap and a hardshell case back with rubber straps.
The Catalyst Apple Watch Case comprises three parts. It has a hardshell case front, a silicone wrap and a hardshell case back with rubber straps.PHOTO: CATALYST
The ruggedness of the Catalyst is tested by being placed under running water for half an hour. The Catalyst Apple Watch Case comprises three parts. It has a hardshell case front, a silicone wrap and a hardshell case back with rubber straps.
The ruggedness of the Catalyst is tested by being placed under running water for half an hour.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

The Catalyst Apple Watch Case protects your Apple Watch from the elements. Available only for the 42mm Apple Watch, it boasts an IP68 rating and is dust-proof, drop-proof from up to 0.9m, and water-proof down to a depth of 50m.

It comes with a disclaimer that says its water rating "is suitable only for rain, splashing, accidental submersion, showering, bathing, surface swimming and shallow snorkelling", but that still sounds good enough for me.

The Catalyst consists of three parts - a hardshell case front, a silicone wrap and a hardshell case back with rubber straps.

The case front and case back is held together by two plastic connectors and a screw. A small screwdriver is included in the package.

Installation is relatively easy. But you need to be careful and not rush it, as a less-than-perfect fit might result in water seepage.

You start by removing the bands of your Apple Watch. Next, insert your Apple Watch into the silicone wrap from the button side first, and pull the wrap around the back of the device. Squeeze out any air trapped between the silicone wrap and the Apple Watch.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $99

    MATERIAL: Plastic casing with rubber strap

    WEIGHT: 35g

    RATING

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Next, place the case front onto the silicone wrap. There is no screen guard for the smartwatch's screen for usability's sake. Instead, the silicone wrap has a raised lip around the opening for the screen. This raised lip must be evenly fitted inside the rim of the case front to ensure no water seepage.

Once done, snap it onto the case front, insert and tighten the screw to secure the parts together.

Having used other cases before, I found the Catalyst quite svelte. It does not add much weight or bulk to the smartwatch. The rubber strap is also very comfortable, but tends to pick up dirt.

The Catalyst has a rotatablecrown that protects the Digital Crown but allows it to work without any hitches. There is also a covering to protect the side button of the Apple Watch. But usability is similarly uncompromised.

The silicone wrap covers and protects the rear of the Apple Watch, but yet the heart-rate sensors still work. And there is no issue with charging the watch using the magnetic cable.

To test the case's ruggedness claims, I dropped my Apple Watch encased in a Catalyst from around 1m. I also placed it under running water for 30min, and went swimming with it for around 20min. My Apple Watch is still functioning well.

The only downer - Catalyst does not come in the 38mm size.

Trevor Tan

•Verdict: If you are an adventurer who wears an Apple Watch, you have to get the Catalyst.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'Catalyst: The rugged case for your Apple Watch'. Print Edition | Subscribe