Watch bands and straps are much more than an accessory to fasten your watch to your wrist - these are essential for a style statement too. In fact, changing the watch band can provide a brand new look to your years-old watch - that too without costing you a small fortune.
Watch bands are a very cost-effective way of transforming a single watch to perfectly suit different occasions. However, not all watch bands are suitable for every type of watch. It varies depending on the style of the watch dial, your budget, and how you intend to use it.
If you are thinking of purchasing a new watch strap but aren't sure of the options out there, this article would be of help. Here we have discussed some different kinds of watch bands available in the market, as well as, the watch types they are most compatible with. Check them out below.
1. Leather Straps
When it comes to versatility, leather is one of the most popular choices for watch straps. These look good on both dress watches and sports watches - making them perfect for most formal and casual occasions.
Leather straps come in a variety of colors, textures, and prices - all depending on the type of leather used. Alligator or crocodile leather is among the most popular choices, though these can be quite expensive. For those seeking more affordable options, calfskin leather might be a suitable choice. Other than that, Nappa, ostrich, camel, and sharkskin leather are also commonly used in the making of watch straps.
The main con of leather straps is that they are comparatively less durable, although that depends on the type and quality of leather used in manufacturing the item. Leather decays when exposed to water, sweat, and extreme temperatures - so you will need to put in a bit of care to ensure it lasts longer.
2. NATO Straps
One of the simplest yet most reliable straps ever made, NATO straps were first manufactured in the 1970s for the British military. However, its many advantages made it a popular option for the general public too. Made of woven nylon, these extremely lightweight and durable straps are most compatible with sports and military watches.
NATO watch straps are very affordable and come in a wide variety of colors to suit your style or mood. These are waterproof and can be cleaned easily, which makes them perfect for people who enjoy sports and adventurous activities.
While NATO straps offer a perfect blend of simplicity and style, these aren't the most suitable for formal occasions like weddings where you are likely to wear a suit. However, if you are looking for a versatile strap for casual and sports use - this is the best you can get!
3. Zulu Straps
Zulu straps are nylon or leather straps that are inspired by NATO straps. However, these weren't developed for military use unlike the latter. While Zulu straps are often mistakenly regarded as NATO straps, they do have some clear differences when viewed closely.
Zulu bands are designed to be thicker than NATO straps, which also makes them last longer. They also have larger and more rounded hardware that makes them stronger. These pair well with watches with larger dials due to their design. Zulu straps are best suited for casual occasions and function exceptionally well for sports or diving watches. Since Zulu straps are rather thick, they may not suit watches with smaller faces.
4. Metal Bracelets
Metal watch bracelets have been around for decades. And their premium aesthetics and high durability have ensured their popularity among people looking for a classic yet stylish option to pair with their watches. While these are more expensive than nylon or rubber straps, they are more suited to luxury watches due to their fashionable designs.
These are very versatile and can be worn both for casual and formal events. The most common material used in metal bracelets is stainless steel, which adds both strength and durability to the accessory. You can get metal watch bands in a variety of colors like gold, silver, etc. to suit the tone of your watch dial.
However, not all watches are designed to be worn with metal bracelets, so make sure to check yours before purchasing one.
5. Rubber Watch Bands
Rubber watch bands were introduced in the latter half of the 20th century, and their waterproof quality and durability soon made them popular among sports enthusiasts. These have a sporty look and feel, which makes them the preferred choice among the younger generations.
While one would usually associate rubber straps with affordable watches, many premium watch brands such as Rolex also manufacture watches with rubber watch bands. These watchbands have become increasingly popular not only among people who are into sports but also among those who are regular visitors to the gym. Being water and sweatproof, these have an added advantage over leather straps when it comes to durability.
While rubber straps are available in a variety of stylish designs, these aren't the best choice for formal occasions. Moreover, not all watch faces look good with rubber straps, so make sure to check for compatibility before purchasing one for your watch.
6. Mesh Straps
Standard metal bracelets tend to be slightly rigid and hence cause some discomfort when worn. Mesh or Milanese straps, however, help address this issue. While these are also made of stainless steel, the thoughtful mesh-like design ensures that the strap fits perfectly with the shape of your wrist, thereby alleviating the discomfort usually caused by metal bracelets.
Similar to metal bracelets, mesh straps can also be worn with both formal and casual outfits. This is a good option for people looking for a stylish watch band without compromising on comfort or durability.
So, these were some of the most popular types of watch bands available in the market at present. We hope that this guide will be of some help the next time you intend to buy watch bands suitable for a particular type of watch or occasion.