Watch Straps | The Basics
Watch straps come in all kinds of styles, all kinds of materials and all kinds of purposes. A watch strap at its basic function is to hold the watch to your wrist. Yet over the course of wrist wearing history watch straps have played just as a vital role in aesthetics and function as much as the watch they accompany.
Classics in their own right, they throw us back to the very distinct dress watches. Simple dials, refined hour markers, sharp hands and a brown or black leather strap to tie it all together. The materials used for making these straps are usually calfskin or crocodile/alligator. Nowadays you can find a wide variety of colours too, so they’re great for matching and customising. Although there are other exotic skin type options out there, they do tend to be priced higher.
Another leather type worth mentioning is Suede. Suede is textured leather, popular for its vintage styling, durability and comfort. Stunning combinations can be made between your watch and strap, when you’ve worn classic leather and opt for suede, you’ll be amazed at how much your watch changes!
The era of classic dress watches is written in history and brought back every time we wear a watch with that distinct underlying aesthetic. We feel as though the leather look will always reign as an essential, classic addition to an elegant timepiece.
When looking at survival over time and wear, a metal bracelet, usually stainless steel, is the great option. You can find a wide variety from these too. Polished and brushed looks, different link shapes and styles. The common ‘H’ type links are an industry standard. Favoured for their comfortable fit and the various finishes achieved with different metalwork techniques. Robust and reliable, metal bracelets are found across the board from dress style watches to serious divers too.
Milanese | Mesh Straps
Milanese straps are something a little different to your ubiquitous metal bracelet. Where metal bracelets can look casual in their presentation a Milanese is a stunning style strap. With a look not too dissimilar to chain mail they’re strong and elegant. Ready to be worn with your suit and comfortable in any environment. And, originating from Milan (hence the name) they are steeped in history. Most of us learn about Milanese straps much later in our quest for new timepieces, but they are definitely worth considering even for new watch enthusiasts.
Included in this is also precious metal types. Most favourably, gold. Gold bracelets are found only on gold cased watches and are quite heavy. They’re a luxury commodity and will come with a luxury price tag. Sometimes paired with steel watches, the two-tone or bi-metal creates a timeless look.
Fabric & Rubber Straps
Nylon is a popular strap type, often called a NATO strap. These straps are longer than normal and are stylised with that in mind. A very tool-type watch strap. Worn for its rugged look and preparedness from the mundane to the extreme wearer, they have a distinct look because of the length and are favoured on most model types. They’re also a more affordable alternative to metal bracelets!
Another every day, ready to go strap type. Comfortable in the winter, comfortable in the summer. The basic all-rounder to many watch enthusiasts. A very affordable option, though it lacks elegance it makes up for it in durability.
One last thing to mention is clasp types
Briefly and without over complicating things, they’re worth being aware of. A pin buckle or belt buckle type is very typical on leather. Simply threading the strap through the buckle, much like a belt. This type is very common and easy to use. Also common on NATO and rubber straps.
Folding clasps are an improvement on the pin buckle. Set strap length and then fold over and clip into place. Great for leather as they will maintain the longevity of the strap without sacrificing the look. Butterfly clasps are locked into place and released with pushers either side of the strap/bracelet. Very common on metal bracelets. They’re very secure and are user-friendly.
And just like a watch, the more complicated and engineered. The more expensive. Sometimes simple elegance is the way to go. An understated look while maintaining ease in use.
Thanks for reading,