Pros and Cons of Different Types of Watch Bands
Sometimes, luxury watch owners get bored with the look of their timepiece or with wearing the same model every day. They often think the best solution is to sell their watch and purchase a new one. However, there’s a much simpler and less expensive fix to this problem: change the watch strap. Changing the band on a watch can totally update the look and make it feel like a completely new timepiece. Both stylistic and functional, the right watch band for you is a personal choice. Here are some pros and cons of different watch strap types to help you choose.
Weighing Different Types of Watch Band
Although similar designs date back to WWII, the NATO strap first officially appeared in the 1970s. Watchmakers developed this style of band for the British army. Soon, it became popular among military forces for its array of features and capabilities. By the end of the Cold War, NATO straps began appearing in army surplus stores. It wasn’t long before they started to grow in popularity among the general public. Manufacturers quickly noticed the demand for the style and started producing their own.
Pros and Cons
NATO bands are typically made of nylon. They’re not only easy to use but also durable, water resistant, and affordable. NATO straps come in a wide array of colors and designs to suit any unique taste. They’re simple enough for even the most novice watch owner to change out. Thus, the NATO strap is a great way to switch up the look and feel of your watch. The downsides to the NATO really come down to aesthetics. Because of their military origins and rugged construction, they have an inherently sporty appeal. While they’re perfect for a sport or military watch, they’re not ideal for a dress watch or more sophisticated model.
Leather Watch Bands
When watch trends shifted from pocket watches to wristwatches, the leather strap was one of the first luxury watch straps. Most watchmakers made early leather straps from cowhide. Today, leather bands are often made of more exotic materials, like alligator or ostrich.
Pros and Cons
Leather bands are available in a wide array of colors and textures to create any desired style. While variations like alligator straps are more durable they’re also more expensive. On the other hand, calfskin is cheaper, more malleable to the wrist, and softer in look and feel. However, it’s consequently less durable, and you may need to refurbish or replace it over time. Overall, leather bands are versatile, easily suiting a dress watch or more casual model. Still, if you’re frequently in hot or wet environments, a leather strap is probably not the best option for you.
Rubber Watch Bands
The first rubber strap was the Tropic strap. Watchmakers developed the style in the 1960s following the surge in popularity of dive watches. The Tropic strap featured a distinctive basket weave pattern stamped on the outside of the band. Today, rubber straps come in a number of different textures and patterns. Early rubber straps, like the Tropic, could be stiff and brittle. Now, watchmakers have perfected the technology to make them more malleable and supple.
Pros and Cons
As far as dive and other sport watches go, there are a number of advantages to the rubber strap. They certainly give you a bang for your buck. They’re not only affordable but also have immense longevity. Rubber straps have a thin, lightweight profile, flexibility, breathability. Whether you’re heading to the gym or going on a deep-sea dive, a rubber strap is a smart option. However, like the NATO strap, its rugged build makes it more casual and sporty. For dressier models and occasions, a rubber strap isn’t the right fit.
The Metal Bracelet Watch Band
The metal bracelet is one of the most popular styles of luxury watch straps. They come in an array of designs and materials to suit any unique taste. Rolex pioneered three of the most iconic styles: the Oyster, President, and Jubilee. The Oyster is a classic design and one of the most common styles of bracelets. It features a three-link construction that gives it a stiff yet durable build. The President is a variation of the Oyster. It also features a three-link construction. The difference is that the links are shorter, so it has more links overall. The result is a more fluid design. On the other hand, the Jubilee features a five-link construction.
Pros and Cons
All in all, metal bracelets are a versatile and durable option. They can easily be dressed up or down and withstand tough conditions. With that in mind, they can also be more rigid and less comfortable than other styles. Additionally, they can be more vulnerable to scratches and stretching out over time. The more links a bracelet has, the more it’s susceptible to stretching. The last thing to consider with a bracelet is that metal is a heavier material than other band options. It gives the watch a more hefty feel on the wrist.
The Difference a New Watch Band Can Make
Changing the strap on a luxury watch is a great fix if you’re getting tired of the way your watch looks. Whether your watch originally has a stainless steel band, two-tone band, or a leather band, changing it out for another strap will give your watch a whole new makeover. If you’re thinking of spending a lot of money on a new watch, replacing the bracelet could change your mind. It will help you feel like you have a completely new watch, without the price tag of a new watch.