Watch bands – Guide to Men’s watch bands

Watch bands – an addition to your collection

If you are a novice watch enthusiast, you are still in the process of expanding your knowledge, your collection, and your taste in timepieces. You understand the basics of watches and collecting, and are now looking to go deeper into that rabbit hole. Watch bands for men are one way to personalize your watch, some people out there have a watch for every season, some for each day of the week. Some even have one for each outfit they have. And that is great for them, but for most people who cannot afford to have hundreds of different watches, different types of watch bands might just be the thing for them.

There are numerous watch brands that are offering different watch bands, and we just don’t just only mean the usual leather or metal, there is a huge and growing array of different colors, materials, and styles to choose from today. Omega, for instance, a whole catalog, Hublot designed their entire quick-change system around buying new watch straps overwatches and not to mention Tudor tends to offer at least 3 different watch bands as standard.

Watch bands – find a greater way to enjoy interchangeable watch bands

There are a great many ways you can find the enjoyment of choosing watch bands, rather than buying a new watch. Simply swapping out a watch strap can transform the look of your watch, breathing a new life into a piece you’ve had for years or dialing up or down the formality of a new purchase.

Fortunately, today much of the expense of having a sports watch, an everyday watch, and a dress watch can be avoided by just simply switching out the watchband. Even the big watch brands are jumping on the trendy train of the new strap, new look. With brands such as Tudor, Jaeger LeCoultre and scores of others have developed quick-release mechanisms for easy changing without the need for tools. You can wear the same watch every day with a different watch strap and it feels new and fresh each time you put it on.

Watch bands – the different types of watch bands

Once you have chosen a watch, now it is time to pick the watch bands, and there are 6 different kinds of watch bands to choose from. There are 2 key positives to having options for your strap. The first of course, is the customization, instead of accepting a default strap, you can pick one that complements your style and taste perfectly. The second key is that you may not want to use a sports watch every single day, and due to expense, buying another watch may not be an option. This is where watch bands come in handy, your alternative is purchasing multiples watch bands, which will give your current watch a new and fresh look. Below we will discuss the six essential watch bands you should know about.

Watch bands #1 – Leather watch straps

Leather watch bands are without any special features. This doesn’t mean that the strap needs to be boring. A log of variations with different leathers, types of stitching, padding, and finishing make this strap just as diverse as the other straps.

For instance, you can find a calf strap, with alligator embossing. This keeps the strap affordable but gives it an exotic look. Leather watch bands fit nearly every watch, with the exception of dive watches, because leather is not waterproof. If you do decide to take your watch into the water we highly suggest you use a NATO or metal watch bands. Here is the list of different types of leather watch bands to choose from.

  • Kangaroo Leather
watch bands Kangaroo Leather

Kangaroo is suitable for a wide range of watches due to its lightweight and superior strength. In fact, it is around 10x the strength of cowhide. Watch bands made from Kangaroo tend to have a small cracked type of grain and can be vegetable dyed to any color of your choice. Because Kangaroo retains its strength when thinly cut, it is often braided.

  • Cow and Calf Leather
watch bands Cow and Calf Leather

The cow and calf leather is probably the cheapest and most common leather used for the watch strap. Top grain often referred to as “full-grain” leather is derived from suing the top side of the hide. With its natural appearance and texture, top-grain can be expensive depending on the quality, defect-free and unique appearance. When a watch strap is marked as “Genuine leather” it is usually made up of cowhide inner and the outer being calf leather as it has a softer feel on the wrist than cowhide. Calf leather apart from being soft has a tighter grain that tends to hold together better than cow skin and therefore is more durable.

  • Alligator Leather
watch bands Alligator Leather

Known as an exotic leather that can be used for a wide variety of luxury products including high-end watch bands. The majority of leather is sourced from 2 countries, China and the United States. Trade-in America is regulated and consists of farming and wild-caught specimens. The belly of the Alligator forms the inner part of the watch strap. The other being Hornback and Umbilical scars in the form of a webbed pattern with rectangular tiles which differs from Crocodile as croc leather is less uniform.

  • Crocodile Leather
watch bands Crocodile Leather

Similar in appearance to alligator but with some noticeable differences. Crocodile leather has small pits in the skin and a pattern that is less uniform than an alligator. Crocodile Leather is not as soft as Alligator leather, it also feels dryer and stiffer on the wrist. Leather watch bands can come in many different patterns and are mostly offcuts left over from larger products like handbags and boots.

Being a more aggressive animal than an alligator, the leather tends to be suspect to grazes but these can be masked by tanning.

Price can vary depending on species but generally speaking, Crocodile is less expensive than Alligator leather.

  • Ostrich Leather
watch bands Ostrich Leather

Sourced from Africa, Ostrich leather has a unique pattern of darker colored bumps known as “vacant quill follicles”. Becoming popular among high-end watch enthusiasts for its exotic look and feel. Ostrich Leather is known as luxury leather and can be pricey compared to traditional leathers.

  • Lizard Leather
watch bands Lizard Leather

Lizard leather makes an attractive and durable choice for a watch strap. The majority of Lizard leather comes from Iguana and Java Lizard also known as “ringtail” because of its ring pattern found in rows across the body. When its smooth texture, leather from the underside of the belly of the lizard is used because of its consistent pattern. Genuine Lizard tends to be slightly cheaper than Alligator and Crocodile leather when used as a watch strap.

  • Snakeskin Leather
watch bands Snakeskin Leather

The hides of a snakeskin can be used as a watch strap. Regarded as exotic leather, it is also used to make handbags, wallets and other fashion items. If you have ever seen a pair of white or light-colored cowboy boots then you have seen snakeskin leather. Snakeskin leather is sourced mainly from Pythons because of the various patterns available. Because snakeskin is very thin, watch straps that are handmade start out as a cowhide base with the snakeskin being glued and sewn onto the base leather to form the end product. Snakeskin straps are compared at price to Alligator.

  • Stingray Leather
watch bands Stingray Leather

Stingray leather is sourced from South East Asia, Australia, and South America. Known for its unique pearl pattern in the form of a black to grey background with pearl type raised bumps. Polishing the leather is possible and the skin can also be dyed in any Pantone color of your choice. Stingray leather has been traditionally used for Samurai swords but can also make a fantastic looking watch strap. The price of stingray leather, when used for watch bands, is similar to good quality Alligator leather watch bands.

Watch bands #2 – Rally band

Watch bands #2 – Rally band

The rally watch bands are often used with racing watches but can be adapted for any type. It features large holes in the strap, which offer a unique aesthetic and make the watch more breathable. The design is an homage to racing gloves, which have cut out holes on the knuckles. Be careful of which type of watch you pair this watch band with. For larger, flashier watches, the rally band will look great. For smaller watches, understated pieces, it will clash and take away from your style.

Watch bands #3 – Rubber watch straps

Watch bands #3 – Rubber watch straps

The rubber strap is often the favorite among younger brands in a bid to target new wearers, it is sporty, modern and has always been associated with more affordable watches like Casio. The rubber strap is hardly aspirational, so it is interesting that many high-end Swiss watch brands now produce their own takes.

One of the most interesting examples of this is with Richard Mille, whose watches regularly exceed the $100,000 barrier yet nearly always come adorned with a bog-standard rubber strap. Why? The answer is the same reason your boss now wears Japanese denim to work, it is to do with the rise of luxury things that are made to look casual.

It subtly says you can own special things without treating them like they are special. Ludicrously expensive watches aside, rubber has its functions, gym enthusiasts will appreciate the fact it’s hard-wearing and does not take on the deathly stench of leather and sweat. Some Swiss brands have already tacked on to the fitness watch trend, with both Breitling and Hublot often providing an additional strap to interchange. If you want something more bespoke, however, ZRC watches straps craft specialized options that ensure perfect, non-slip fit. Elsewhere, you can pick one up for the less expensive options.

One good thing about rubber watch bands, they are usually affordable, durable, best fit for sports watches, however, not a great fit for all watch types.

Watch bands #4 – NATO Strap

Watch bands #4 – NATO Strap

For everyday use NATO straps have really been a great trend, actually, NATO was originally created for military watches for British soldiers in the 1970s, it embodies a ready-for-anything aesthetic, even if your personal battles are only with your email password. It is also the most affordable and easiest way to change watch bands. Because NATO is crafted from a single piece of fabric, normally nylon, you don’t need to take off both your watch’s spring bars to switch one in. And if one of the bars poops open, it is an extra watchkeeper strap to keep your Rolex or other watches on your wrist, with no worries of falling and breaking.

Daniel Wellington watches, although more famed for the watches themselves, also boasts a range of NATO straps that are more Ivy League than in the trenches. Think of colors when you think of NATO watch bands. NATO watch bands come in different colors you can think of, and can easily be paired with any outfit. Also, NATO straps are very durable and great for summer or hot weather as the NATO watch bands are breathable, waterproof, and sweat-proof watch bands. That is why they are most popular during the spring or summer season.

Watch bands #5 – Metal bracelets

Watch bands #5 – Metal bracelets

Although metal is not considered as strap per se, a metal bracelet can still be seamlessly interchangeable with your favorite watch, the only issue is that you will often require the help of your local watch repair shop or jeweler. Bracelets are durable and most importantly versatile. Whether you are suiting up for work or play, a glint on the wrist always looks best beneath a shirt cuff. Gold contrast well with monochrome, while neutral steel suits navy and other colors. Stick to your watch brand’s own bracelets to ensure all the edges sit flush.

Watch bands #6 – Mesh Strap

Watch bands #5 –  Mesh Strap

The Milanese or mesh strap has had a bit of renaissance in recent years, it is popularity has seen it soar from the obscure to the mainstream, which can be attributed to its inherent good looks, but also due to the way the beads of metal rice are constructed, making it infinitely more comfortable that its metal bracelet cousins. Where a metal bracelet might pinch or get caught on hair, the mesh strap fluid design ensures it sits flush on the wrist and moves with it. It is a bit of a chameleon in the style stakes too, it is more than at home at the office or weekend gatherings and will suit a wide range of outfit choices from summer suits to jeans and T-shirt. In short, if you want a strap that is neither too formal nor casual and will remain comfortable throughout the day, the mesh could be the best choice for you.

Watch bands #7 – ZULU

Watch bands #7 – ZULU

ZULU straps are a lot like NATO watch bands but are more rugged and better built. These use thicker nylon and have sturdier metal pieces. While many people with dirty, rugged, hobbies choose the NATO-style, the absolute best for these activities is the ZULU strap. They still come with the signature NATO color customization and vintage style but will be a bit more versatile.

Watch bands – choose a strap according to your style

Whether you are picking a strap for your new watch or buying one to spice up your old watch, knowing all of the types that are available is essential. When choosing watch bands, think about your taste, your style, your wardrobe, your lifestyle, and the function you need. If you are rugged adventurer type, you likely want to select ZULU over a bracelet style. Alternatively, if you want the ultimate luxury look, opt for a bracelet or leather strap. Whatever you are looking for, we hope this guide helps you find it.