Some accessory makers have taken a cue from Apple and have also partnered up with well-known fashion labels to create unique Apple Watch accessories. One of the latest companies to do so is Incase, through a partnership with luxury brand Parabellum. Together, the duo have created the Apple Watch Travel Folio, which is handcrafted in Los Angeles, California from full grain North American Bison leather.
Design wise, the Travel Folio has an impressive attention to detail and impeccable construction, and I would expect nothing less for its premium $250 price tag. The exterior is a high-quality textured leather while the interior is a soft suede to keep the Apple Watch safe from scratches. I am not an expert on leather, but the Bison texture looks nice and it should weather well with daily use.
I used the Incase x Parabellum Travel Folio in Pumpkin, which is a rich orange-tinged brown color that would match well with a Gold Apple Watch and is used for several other Parabellum products. The Travel Folio also comes in a classic black, but both are made from the same bison leather.
Parabellum is known for its style and quality, and while I'm also not a fashion expert, the Travel Folio matches the Parabellum aesthetic and is as stylish as the company's range of popular bags, belts, and wallets. For someone who owns other Parabellum products, the Travel Folio would fit right in with a collection. Incase and Parabellum only made 150 of the Apple Watch Travel Folio accessories, so each one is a limited edition product.
A dust bag is included with the Travel Folio, and there's a subtle Incase logo on the snap button (which is made of ceramic) that keeps it closed. An additional cord wrap is included, with a matching button with a Parabellum logo. Inside, the Folio is stamped with the Parabellum and Incase brand names.
The Travel Folio is multi-purpose, serving as both a charging station and a way to transport both the Apple Watch and the Apple Watch charger. When traveling, the Apple Watch can be placed under the leather of the right side of the Folio, while the charger is wrapped up in the separate cord wrap. With the Apple Watch in the Folio, the band is covered while the face of the Apple Watch remains visible for quick time checks. As the name suggests, this is a Folio - it has a cover that folds over the Apple Watch and snaps closed. I noticed when using the Folio that it has a bit of a bulge where the Apple Watch is located when it's shut with the Apple Watch inside.
There's a suede-covered foam cutout that accommodates the Apple Watch charger for using the Travel Folio at home or for charging. The Apple Watch charger fits into the cutout and the cord is drawn through the bottom, allowing it to be plugged into a power adapter. From there, the Apple Watch can be placed atop the charger inside the Folio, either underneath the leather flap or atop it.
Because the cutout for the Apple Watch charger is suede and foam, it's not particularly stable within the Folio, but that doesn't much matter because the entire thing lays flat on a desk or other surface. When traveling, the Folio can be used to store the Apple Watch while in transit, and then set up in a hotel room as a place to charge the Apple Watch at night.
Serving two functions gives it a lot more versatility than a simple Apple Watch carrying case, but ultimately this can be purchased for either purpose. It works as a simple case for holding the Apple Watch during travel or as a charging solution. Because of its design, the Travel Folio only works with open-loop bands and it does not support iOS 9's Nightstand mode. Someone with a closed-loop band like the Milanese Loop may not want to buy the Travel Folio because of the hassle of needing to undo the band each time it's used.
The long length of the Travel Folio makes it somewhat awkward to transport. It won't fit well in a purse or pocket, but it will fit in a suitcase, briefcase, or larger bag. At home, it looks nice on a desk or a nightstand and it keeps the Apple Watch safe from the environment while it's charging, but it's not a better solution than one of the many other docks on the market for home charging.
At $250, the Incase x Parabellum Apple Watch Travel Folio is aimed at a niche audience. It's ludicrously expensive compared to other Apple Watch stands and charging solutions on the market, and it's not something that I would buy myself or that I would recommend to the average person who owns an Apple Watch simply because of its high price tag.
For someone who's familiar with the Parabellum brand, likes a bit of luxury, or needs a way to keep an ultra-expensive Apple Watch Edition safe, the Travel Folio is worth looking into. Disregarding its price tag, it's versatile because it can be used for travel or at home on a desk, but its size makes it unwieldy.
It's not the most practical Apple Watch charging solution or travel case that I've seen, but if you're spending $250 on an Apple Watch accessory, I'm guessing practicality falls below quality, branding, and design. The Travel Folio is exquisitely made and is inarguably one of the most high-quality Apple Watch products on the market. If you're after those particular attributes and price is not a factor, it's worth a look.