04/18/2024
 4 minutes

The Best Watch Straps And Bracelets

By Jorg Weppelink
Bracelets-Straps-2-1-Top-3

The Best Watch Straps And Bracelets

Finding a watch that you love and that fits your wrist perfectly is exciting. This search includes choosing a brand, size, movement, colors, and how you want to wear your watch. The good news is that when it comes to straps and bracelets, you’re spoiled for choice. We’ve compiled a list of the five most popular options, so let’s jump right in.

Metal Bracelet

Many watches come on a bracelet that matches the metal used for the case. This is often stainless steel, but can also be titanium, any precious metal, or even ceramic. Bracelets are often used for sports and tool watches because they’re sturdy and can withstand almost anything you throw at them. On the other hand, they tend to scratch easily and are more difficult to size than silicone straps, for example. Bracelets generally come with either a fold-over or a butterfly clasp to secure the watch on your wrist.

Wristwatches often come with a matching metal bracelet.
Wristwatches often come on a metal bracelet.

The right metal bracelet can be super comfortable, which is why it’s such a popular choice. Despite the common association of metal bracelets with tool watches, dress watches for instance also come on very refined, classy bracelets. Common styles include the Oyster, H-link, mesh, beads-of-rice, brick, Jubilee, and President bracelets. Their versatility is typically why people love bracelets for their watches.

Leather Strap

A second option for your watch is the leather strap. There are all kinds of leather strap styles, the most common of which is the dress leather strap. Most brands offer watches on a leather strap to give them a more classy, refined style compared to a stainless steel bracelet. While the most common leather materials used include alligator, calfskin, and crocodile, you’ll also find more exotic leathers such as ostrich, stingray, and snake. Suede and nubuck give you even more options.

Leather straps are perfect to create a classic and elegant look for a watch.
Leather straps are perfect for a classic, elegant look.

Most leather straps are manufactured out of two or more layers of leather held together by stitching, which often matches the color of the leather. For more casual leather straps, contrasting stitching is something we often see as well. Leather straps often come fitted with a pin buckle, have small holes to adjust the buckle, and one or two “keepers” to hold the band in place. Another option is a fold-over clasp that makes securing the watch on your wrist easier, while giving the watch an even classier presence.

NATO/Zulu strap

Fans tend to love the NATO strap. NATO and Zulu straps have their roots in the military watches worn by soldiers in the 20th century. Both are one-piece straps, often made of nylon, that are threaded into and along the case back of a watch and held in place by the spring bars. They are fitted with a pin buckle and multiple clasps. The difference between a NATO strap and a Zulu strap is that a Zulu strap is often made of a thicker, sturdier material and has rounder keepers to hold the strap in place.

For summer, watch lovers favor NATO or Zulu straps – cool, water-friendly, and perfect for adding a seasonal touch to their watches.
Watch lovers enjoy NATO or Zulu straps for the summer – cool, water-resistant, and perfect for adding a seasonal touch to timepieces.

While NATO straps were first used on military watches, they are now used on almost any type of watch. They are a popular fit for dive watches and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Thanks to their affordable price, NATO and Zulu straps are great options if you want to change the look of your watch on a regular basis. Many watch enthusiasts wear their watch on a NATO or Zulu strap during the summer months: they make it easy to change things up, are a great choice for the water, and give your watch a nice summer presence.

Rubber Straps

Another style we see a lot of these days is the rubber strap. These were first introduced in the 1950s and became popular for diving watches in the 1960s. Watch companies started using rubber straps because they were water-resistant. They were also more durable than leather straps and held their shape better. No matter which one you choose, a rubber strap will always be extremely comfortable on the wrist, making your watch a joy to wear.

Once the domain of sports watches, rubber straps have made a captivating entrance into the luxury watch arena.
Once the domain of sports watches, rubber straps have made their mark in the luxury watch arena as well.

While rubber straps are often associated with sports watches, we’ve seen them make their way into the high-end world of luxury watches. Combining a gold case with a rubber strap can create a beautiful look. Brands such as Audemars Piguet, Rolex, and Patek Philippe use beautiful rubber straps for their various watches; this option is truly a great choice for just about any timepiece.

Canvas, Sailcloth, and Cordura Straps

A last great band option are straps made from tough, woven nylon materials like canvas, sailcloth, Cordura, and Kevlar. The great thing about these straps is that they’re the perfect option if you want the practicality of a rubber strap combined with the stylish looks of leather. They’re easy to wear in formal business situations, while still being perfectly at home in the water for a swim or a dive.

Canvas straps are the perfect mix of sporty chic, combining the practicality of rubber with leather's good looks.
Canvas straps are the perfect blend of sporty and chic, combining the practicality of rubber with the great look of leather.

These straps typically combine multiple layers with a soft inner material for padding and added comfort. There are also hybrid options that use a leather lining for even more comfort. Keep in mind that a strap with leather components is less suitable for the water. Whatever you select, these straps often come fitted with a pin buckle, although you’ll also find some with deployant clasps for a classy second option.

There you have it: the five most popular watch straps and bracelets. How to find your preferred option? Start trying them on, and find out what looks and feels best on your wrist. It’s all about what makes you fall in love with a watch, so you can truly enjoy wearing it for years to come. And if you ever want to change things up, you know there are plenty of options out there to choose from.


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About the Author

Jorg Weppelink

Hi, I'm Jorg, and I've been writing articles for Chrono24 since 2016. However, my relationship with Chrono24 goes back a bit longer, as my love for watches began …

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