Watch strap materials: What are the most common strap types

Watch strap materials: What are the most common strap types

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Buying a watch involves making several decisions. Not only do you have to choose a style, function, and look, but you also have to decide between many different materials. When it comes to straps, everyone can find something they like.

But if you've never bought a watch strap before, you might not know what's out there. So, you've come to the right place. This guide will go over the most common watch straps and the materials they are usually made of.

Watch Strap Materials

Before we talk about the different kinds of watch straps, it's important to know their materials.

Leather Watch Straps

Leather is another popular choice for watch straps. Leather bracelets come in many styles and types, just like metal bracelets. There are simple, casual straps made from cowhide and more expensive ones made from kangaroos or crocodiles.

Metal Straps

Metal is one of the most common materials for watch straps, which in this case are called bracelets. There are many styles, finishes, and even colors to choose from. You can also find them in common metals like different grades of stainless steel or valuable metals like white gold and platinum.

Rubber Watch Straps

The rubber strap is probably the most common type of watch band, and most people use it by default. Digital and smartwatches, as well as some divers, have rubber straps. They can stand up to sweat and water, making them great for active guys.

Silicone Watch Straps

Not every man-made strap is made of rubber. There are also silicone options that are soft and bendy. These straps are very comfortable and won't get wet if they get wet. Some of them are even antibacterial or have a nice scent.

Nylon Watch Straps

Watch straps are also often made of nylon. These straps are very casual, long-lasting, and easy to wear. Most nylon straps can be traced back to the military, which gives you an idea of how rough and tough they are.

Canvas

Canvas watch straps can look and feel a little bit like nylon straps. But the canvas is usually made from natural materials, while nylon is made from man-made materials. Still, there are synthetic canvas fabrics, like the ones that are sometimes used to make sails.

Watch Strap Types & their Uses

1- NATO

The NATO strap was first made for British Army soldiers in the 1970s. It was called "G10" at first, which was taken from the form for requisition. Even though styles like this go back to World War II, this was the first time the strap was called by its modern name.

It became very popular in the military very quickly, and over time, more and more people started to like the strap for all the things it could do. When the Cold War ended, G10 straps were sold all over the country in military surplus stores.

The most noticeable thing about a NATO strap is that it is made of just one piece. Most other straps are made of two separate pieces and can only be put on the watch by taking off both spring bars. Changing straps usually takes a lot of time, but NATO straps are just woven under the spring bars, so they can be taken off or put on in a few seconds.

NATO straps are a great choice for almost any situation, and their low price is great for people on a tight budget.

2- President

The President strap got its name because Dwight D. Eisenhower liked to wear it with his Rolex Day-Date watch in 1956. As a sign of respect, Rolex gave Mr. Eisenhower the company's 150,000th certified chronometer, which he gladly took.

Due to its tighter links, the President strap is much more formal than the Oyster strap. This also makes the strap more versatile, making it easier to dress up or down. Because of this, it is a great choice when versatility is the most important thing. Most of the time, it works best with small to medium-sized watches, but this is up to the person.

3- Zulu

Zulu straps are made by Maratac, but even though they have an interesting name, there isn't much history behind them. Even though they are clearly based on NATO straps, there are a few small differences between the two. First, they are made of thicker materials, like leather or nylon. This makes them a little stronger and more durable, but it might also make them too big to fit between the spring bars of some watches. Second, because Zulu straps are wider, their hardware is bigger and more rounded.

On the other hand, NATO straps have small, squared-off buckles and rings that fit better with the smaller strap size. Lastly, the watch keeper strap is optional on Zulu watch straps, so they can be made with either three or five rings. Either way, there isn't much difference in how it looks, so just choose the one that is most comfortable for you.

4- Oyster

The Oyster strap is a true classic in every way. It was first made by Rolex in the 1930s. The Oyster has long, thick links that are made up of three pieces. It is by far the most popular strap model. It has come out on almost every Rolex model, which is why it has a huge fan base.

Even though it has a long and interesting history, many people swear by it because of how well it works. Because of the wide center bar, each link is strong and less likely to stretch. This makes the bracelet very durable.

5- Milanese

Milanese watch straps were first made in Milan, Italy, as their name suggests. The Milanese mesh design goes all the way back to the 13th century when it was used as a special kind of chainmail. The process of making them was done by hand and they stayed an Italian specialty for over 500 years.

In the early 1920s, well-known German watch strap makers Staib and Vollmer started making these rare straps again, which made them very popular. This trend lasted well into the 1960s, so vintage dress watches often have Milanese straps.

The straps stand out because they are very dense, tightly woven mesh. This makes them some of the smoothest metal straps on the market. This makes the straps less durable, but they are often worn in more formal settings, so resistance to the weather isn't as important.

6- Bund

Bund straps were also made for German pilots during World War II, but for a different reason than Aviator straps. If a plane crashes, the fire that starts is the most dangerous thing, and anything made mostly of metal would heat up very quickly. Since watches always touch the skin, a normal strap would let the watch burn the wrist.

 

Bund straps, on the other hand, have an extra layer of padding under the back of the case so that it doesn't burn the person wearing it. This was also helpful in high altitudes where the temperature dropped quickly because the extra layer of leather kept the metal from freezing to the skin.

One last thing the Bund strap could do was soak up sweat. Old watches were not water resistant, so sweet could easily get in through the back of the case and damage the watch's inner workings.

7- Jubilee

The Jubilee strap was made for Rolex's 40th anniversary in 1945. It was first used on the Datejust, one of Rolex's most famous dress watches. At first, it was only sold in gold, but soon after, steel and two-tone versions came out.

The Jubilee strap comprises three thin, highly polished links in the middle that are separated by two thick, matte-finished links on each side. The total number of links is the same as that of the President bracelet, but the triple-wide design makes the middle part look narrower.

8- Shark Mesh

The Shark Mesh bracelet's name might make you immediately think of the fierce ocean predator, but the strap has almost nothing in common with the dangerous animal. The famous title came from an ad campaign that Omega ran to promote the Ploprof 600, a new dive watch that broke new ground. This watch was made for professional use and was made to last for long periods of time at very deep depths.

This watch was one of the toughest divers' watches ever made, and the strap lives up to the hype. Even though it's not really "shark-proof" like the ads say, it's more durable than a regular strap because the links don't have pins in them. Since the whole strap is held together by woven loops, there are fewer places where it could break. The loose and chunky design of the chainmail makes it flexible and easy to fit into anyone's wrist, and the links are easy to take off so that the wearer can get rid of any extra material.

The most noticeable thing about the Shark Mesh strap is that its links are pretty big. Most mesh straps have small links and are tightly woven, but the Shark Mesh is the exact opposite. As a result, many people think it's the most comfortable option.

9- Tropic

Tropic straps were first made in the 1960s as a cheaper alternative to the metal bracelets that Rolex and Tudor watch with sporty designs. The Tropic strap was the first rubber strap ever made, and it took over the dive watch market very quickly. It was easy to tell what it was because the outside of the strap had a pattern that looked like a basket weave, and many holes were running from the tip to the lug. This gave the strap a unique texture and made it very breathable, which was surprising for a strap that was made to be waterproof. Early Tropic straps were a bit stiff and brittle, but by the 1970s, they had been improved even more to stay flexible after years of use.

One of the most impressive things about the Tropic strap was how long it lasted. Even though it was advertised as easy to copy, many models are still in use today, over 40 years later, and they feel and work exactly the same as when they were first made. Also, they could be strong while still being very thin, which is unusual even for modern versions.

10- Waffle

The Waffle strap, first used on the 6105 Diver in the early 1970s, is one of Seiko's most well-known creations. Many people think that this watch is the most important diver in the company's history. It was a popular choice for servicemen in Vietnam. The original army watches stopped working in the humid jungles, but the Seiko 6105s kept going long after the war was over. When veterans came back to the U.S., they brought their watches with them. These watches quickly became popular among civilians.

The characteristic Waffle strap, obviously named for its distinct texture, adorned most of these watches and was loved by many. Numerous small vents ran down the sides of the strap, which greatly increased its breathability. Since it was composed of rubber, it was entirely waterproof, easily cleanable, and quite flexible to boot.

How to Choose the Right Watch Strap

In an ideal world, a good strap is an important part of a watch that deserves it, but it can be hard to choose the right one. This is why many watch collectors with a lot of experience choose to get a lot of different straps so they can have many more ways to wear their watches at any given time. For a casual observer, the strap is often more noticeable than the face of the watch. Choosing smart watch bands will catch the eye and make your watch look magnificent. One of the best things about watch straps is that they are often much cheaper than a new watch. They are also a better and more cost-effective way to change your whole look and accessorize dozens of outfits with just one watch.

So, we've gone over all the good things about the right watch bands, but there's still one big question: how do you choose the right one, especially if it's your first time? Milano Straps has put together a useful guide that we hope will help you make a better choice. Keep reading to find out what tips and tricks one of our experts has for you.

-       How to find out the size of your watch strap

Watch straps are beautiful pieces of jewelry that are made to fit perfectly. A good fit isn't just about comfort, either. Depending on the materials it's made of, a watch that's too tight can cut off circulation and irritate your skin, while a watch that's too loose can be annoying and distracting because you must keep adjusting it.

If you follow the right rules, it's easy for anyone to figure out their size. Don't worry; it's not that hard, and you won't need any crazy tools. At the end of this, you should have the two measurements you need to order your strap: the width between your watch's lugs (where the strap goes) and the size of your wrist.

-       The watch straps that are popular at the moment

There are many styles and materials, but as a general rule, we recommend a NATO strap if you are active, spend a lot of time outside, and want a watch strap that can stand up to the weather. This is not a hard and fast rule, though, because NATO is a very versatile style that is worn by everyone from business leaders to teens and young adults in school. Most importantly, choose straps that you will enjoy wearing. NATO straps are very popular because they have a long history and are used worldwide.

Bottom Line

Milano Straps can produce some of the world's finest watch straps by combining its illustrious history with fresh design concepts and cutting-edge technology.  We take pride in serving customers with high-quality items. Whether you are searching for premium leather watch bands or a one-of-a-kind watch band, we have what you need.