When choosing a strap, it's essential to consider the watch's style elements, the occasion you plan to wear it for, and your personal preferences. By selecting the right strap, you can transform the overall look and feel of your timepiece, enhancing its functionality and visual appeal.
A broad and diverse strap collection can create multiple combinations. In fact, a strap is often more visible than the face of the watch. Therefore, a large assortment of straps will make a small collection of watches look truly formidable. Here's a curated list of some of the most common watch strap options that can elevate a timepiece’s appeal:
Leather: Ulysse Nardin Aventurine
Leather watch straps are classic and versatile. They come in various types, such as genuine, top-grain, full-grain, and calf leather, offering different levels of durability and luxury. Leather straps complement formal and dress watches, adding a touch of sophistication. For instance, Ulysse Nardin’s new 300-piece limited-edition Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine (Ref. 1193-310LE-3A-AVE/1A) is finished on a blue alligator leather strap with a stainless steel folding buckle. It comes in a 42 mm stainless steel case with a blue aventurine dial. The watch gets a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock, small seconds, and a moon phase disc at 6 o’clock. The moon is transferred onto the counter and is accompanied by rhodium-plated hands. Powering the watch is the automatic winding in-house Calibre UN-119 movement, offering 60 hours of power reserve.
NATO: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Anniversary
Originally designed for military purposes, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) straps are made of nylon. They are known for their durability and come in various colours and patterns. NATO straps are popular for casual and everyday wear due to their comfortable fit and versatility. For example, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 (Ref. 5901-5630-NANA) boasts a two-tone NATO strap, featuring the colour code of the original timepiece. What’s more, the strap is made from fishing nets recovered from the oceans.
The bronze-gold watch, modelled on vintage MIL-SPEC timepieces, is limited to only 555 pieces. The latest Act 3 model comes in a 41.3 mm, satin-brushed, 9 ct, bronze-gold case. Powering the watch is the self-winding Calibre 1154.P2 movement, with the twin barrels equipping the timepiece with a substantial 100-hour power reserve. A silicon balance spring facilitates the movement's resistance to magnetism.
Nylon: Panerai x Prada
These watch straps were originally called G10 straps when they were first issued to the soldiers of the British Ministry of Defence in 1973. The length of the fabric ensures that the strap fits any wrist size with minimal adjustment. Panerai’s newly launched Luminor Due Prada Re-Nylon (Ref. PAM01425) comes with a Prada Re-Nylon Alabaster pink strap with a polished steel pin buckle.
The watch has a 38 mm polished steel case and a bezel. The dial gets a white matte finish with luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers. There is a date window at 3 o’clock; one can spot the small seconds at 9 o'clock. Powering the watch is the automatic P900 movement with 72 hours of power reserve.
Mesh: Bausele Sydney Diver
Mesh straps typically refer to straps made from the mesh material, which is a type of fabric that is lightweight and durable. The mesh material allows air to circulate freely, reducing buildup of heat and moisture, and making the straps more comfortable to wear for extended periods. Bausele Sydney Diver Endless Sunrise (Ref No. 34101) has a Milanese mesh bracelet. The new watch comes in a 39.5 mm stainless steel case. Its blue dial gets bar-shaped and dotted hour markers, and a triangular 12 o’clock. Powering the watch is the Sellita SW200 Swiss-made mechanical self-winding movement with a 38-hour power reserve.
Silicon rubber straps are not just fashionable and practical, but they are also highly durable and resistant to wear and tear. What’s more, they are hypoallergenic, extremely flexible, and, best of all, waterproof. These straps assist in reducing the weight of a watch substantially and look comfortable on the wrist of the wearer. H. Moser & Cie.’s Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic Boutique Edition (Ref No. 6907-0400) boasts an integrated black silicon rubber strap. It comes in a 42.3 mm red gold case with red gold chronograph push buttons at 10 o’clock and 2 o'clock, and a screw-in crown at 4 o'clock, adorned with an engraved “M”.
The dial gets a matrix green fumé with sunburst pattern, sporting gilded hour and minute hands with Globolight®. Powering the watch is the self-winding Calibre HMC 907, developed with AGENHOR, offering a 72-hour power reserve. The timepiece also has bridges; the main plate with anthracite grey rhodium-plating and Moser stripes is angled at 45 degrees.
Sustainable Straps: VBL Innovations
Over the past few years, sustainability has become the buzzword in watchmaking. This is visible not only in the development of case materials but also in the creation of straps (think of vegan, recyclable straps). Vegan leather, also known as faux leather or synthetic leather, is a popular alternative to traditional leather made from animal hides.
It is often used in various products, including watch straps, as a cruelty-free and eco-friendly option. Different materials are used to create vegan leather, such as polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Bangalore-based VBL Innovations has started to use these materials to mimic the look and feel of genuine leather. This also covers a wide range of plant-based materials, including materials that are 90% biobased-biocomposite.