It is difficult to imagine a watch without the essential element – a bracelet, thanks to which the watch rests on the wrist. His choice must be approached no less carefully than to study the material of the case or the functions of the mechanism. Now, bracelet or strap watch? Choose according to this guide.
The choice basically comes down to the alternative: a leather strap or a metal bracelet (steel, gold or titanium, depending on the case material). Proponents of this or that decision adhere to approximately the same arguments as in the argument on which side it is better to break an egg. That is, the choice depends primarily on personal preferences.
Bracelet or strap watch?
The arguments of connoisseurs of leather straps boil down to the fact that the bracelets are heavy, look massive, they are more difficult to fit into the volume of the wrist and, in combination with classic costumes, the metal looks deliberately bright. All right. For ultrathin watches, the traditional crocodile strap is certainly more suitable. And for classic everyday models for a business suit – crocodile or calf.
But – they object in the opposite camp – the bracelet is much more reliable and practical for everyday wear, it does not rub in the place where the buckle fits, it doesn’t form ugly “creases”, and it will last almost forever. And again, this is true. Even the most reliable crocodile or calf leather loses its elegant look over time, and there remains the only option – replacing the strap, while the bracelet can often be cleaned and polished. In addition, leather procedures, and especially sea salt, are categorically contraindicated.
So the conclusion is obvious. For classic ultrathin watches of strict business style or for an evening out, the best option is a prestigious alligator leather strap. Everyday models, especially for an active lifestyle and sports, feel more comfortable on the bracelet.
Of course, there are variations. For example, for those who absolutely dislike metal, there are alternatives. Diving watch lightweight, hypoallergenic rubber is becoming more and more popular, and a NATO textile strap can be selected in a free-sporting watch. He appeared in the middle of the last century in special models for the British Air Force and has since almost replaced the skin of the pilot’s watch.
Its convenience also lies in the fact that such a strap is easy to replace on your own. Unlike the classic two-piece watchband attached to the ears, the NATO strap is just a long textile strip that passes through the ears from the side of the back cover. By the way, it was precisely this ease of use that provided such thongs with their modern popularity: many collectors independently “dressed” their prestigious models in bright coloured textiles.
On the issue of independence
There is another dubious argument that leather strap lovers make: they say, if anything, you can pierce an additional hole in them yourself, and you will certainly have to adjust the length of the bracelet in the workshop. In general, if you yourself have pierced something in your crocodile, you can immediately throw it away. The same applies to attempts to independently change the strap, picking up the pegs, with a knife or a screwdriver. The most obvious result of such experiments is a punctured finger or a broken peg.
Better go to any service, there the wizard has special tools. Apparently, knowing this craving for people to do their own repairs, recently more and more Swiss brands began to produce watches with a quick-change strap system and even removable bracelet links.
About the clasp
When choosing a bracelet or strap, the most important point is to check the quality and reliability of the clasp, because this is the “thinnest place” of the watch, it accounts for the lion’s share of all the manipulations of the wearer (mostly only the crown). The lock of the bracelet should be adjustable in length, easy to open, but at the same time have an additional lock that protects the clasp from accidental opening.
For example, from impact or snagging on clothes. It is better if the clasp on the bracelet does not fold twice on one side, but three times on both sides (in the watch descriptions this clasp is called “triple”) – this is more reliable and allows you to quickly remove the watch from your hand, regardless of the width of the palm.
All these requirements are also true for leather or rubber straps with a bracelet clasp (in some descriptions it is also called a “butterfly clasp” or “folding clasp”), only the classic leather loops at the end of the belt play the role of an additional lock.
Watch straps in Black Tie format, NATO straps, long straps for diving, pilot and other professional watches, which are worn over a special suit, are equipped only with traditional buckles.
If you are a fan of classic wristwatches on leather, then the plus lies in the fact that here opens a huge variety of choices. In addition to the common crocodile, calf and lizard, straps are now sewn from anything (more precisely, from anyone), from ostrich to rat and salmon. In addition, the skin can be painted in the most fantastic colour. You can also choose a style. In addition to the traditional, there are species.
Rally. “Rally” straps appeared in the 1960s. They were distinguished by large or small perforations on the skin, borrowed from automobile gloves.
Bund. The German version of the pilot’s belt of the 1950s with an additional leather “die” threaded into a strap under the case. Zulu. It looks like a classic NATO strap but made of calfskin.
Metal bracelets differ not so much externally as structurally. It is a huge work of thought to make the links fit your hand comfortably, do not catch hair, do not collect dirt and do not tear shirt cuffs.
Most of the popular bracelet shapes were invented by Rolex, for example, the three-row Oyster, the five-row Jubile or the three-row President with convex faceted links. There is also a rather popular “rice grain” design when the wide plates of the bracelet are interconnected by small polished rings. And, finally, a kind of hybrid strap and bracelet is the “Milanese weaving” or mesh – when the whole bracelet is a flexible light chain mail from tightly woven rings.
Choosing a bracelet or strap watch can dramatically change the face of a familiar watch. But it is important to remember that this is the choice that can be changed at any time.