One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that a strap or bracelet on a watch can make or break the look. It's not unlike wearing the right tie with the right shirt or sport jacket. But not only are looks important, function plays a big part when choosing the right accessory for your watch. Not that I’m terribly style conscious, but some things just seem to pair better than others.
When it comes to watches, it's all about personal taste. Both fit and form can turn a simple watch into a truly exceptional piece or a veritable train wreck on the wrist. When buying a watch, try to envision what it would look like with a different strap. Or better yet, ask your salesperson to see what other straps might look good on the watch in question.
Metal vs leather vs everything else -
Metal bracelets - Gold, steel, titanium or a combination of either have benefits and some drawbacks. Gold, either 14K or the softer 18K, will look great but if not cared for with regular cleaning will wear faster than other metals. Generally, it is the particulate that gets caught between the links that acts as an abrasive, causing excessive wear and tear. Then the links appear to stretch and the watch becomes sloppy on the wrist. In extreme cases, the watch might even fall off. Steel is a great material for a watch bracelet. It wears well, can easily be refinished to look like new and is anti corrosive. Titanium is another wonderful material for watch bracelets - very lightweight, extremely tough and lasts for years with little maintenance.
Leather straps come in a huge variety of sizes, colors and finishes. There are two basic varieties, genuine and embossed. Genuine straps are those like alligator, crocodile, shark, ostrich. These straps show the actual grain of the particular species. Then they can be dyed to a variety of colors to compliment the particular look of the watch. Embossed straps, generally a lot less expensive, are made from cowhide and are embossed or printed with a pattern that resembles a genuine strap - lizard, crocodile, etc… and the color range is almost limitless. In most cases, genuine straps will cost more but will last longer. Some genuine and embossed straps are treated to be water resistant. These will generally last longer than untreated ones if exposed to a lot of moisture. Contrasting stitching or same color stitching, padded or flat, high gloss or matt finish can all change the appearance and look of your watch.
The last category contains nylon, silicone, rubber, plastic, goretex etc… straps tend to be more conducive to sport type watches and those subjected to water on a regular basis because they don’t absorb moisture and stay flexible for years of use. NATO style straps have become increasingly popular. One of the great advantages to this style of strap is the security of the watch. One-piece design straps secure the watch to the wearer with two spring bars. If one of the spring bars were to fail, then the other holds the watch to the strap. This is not the case with two piece straps.
One last note - clasps. Today there is a huge assortment of clasps available for two-piece straps. Deployant type clasps offer a simple metal closure that makes putting on and taking off the watch very easy. There are single fold-over, double, butterfly and others. There’s no reason to stick with the traditional “buckle and tang” style with the variety that is available today.
At the Last Wind-Up, we offer a wide variety of watch straps, bracelets and clasps. Hadley Roma, Hirsch, Montana Strap (locally made). Whether you are simply replacing an old worn out strap to your sport watch or trying to dress up a new or vintage watch, we’ll ensure that the strap has the right fit to address your personal lifestyle.