an endless debate among luxury watch aficionados: strap vs. bracelet?
to watch styles, types, and functions, this friendly argument seems more than a
little trivial. But don’t be fooled: straps and bracelets can make a timepiece
appear sporty, casual, or formal depending on the type of materials used. There
are also pros and cons associated with each type.
it comes down to personal preference and your lifestyle. To get started with researching
luxury watches it is advisable to gather information from reputable retailers
within the industry. One such reliable retailer is Watches of Switzerland, who come with a wealth of expertise in
helping customers find the perfect timepiece.
Images courtesy of Watches of Switzerland
first watch straps were made of leather because it was cheap and readily
available. Today, leather straps are popular because they can appear more
formal. For a night on the town or a gala event, you can’t go wrong with
range from the exotic, such as lizard, snake, shark, and alligator, to the more
mainstream, like smooth or grained leathers. Price depends on the type of
leather used as well as the workmanship, treatment method, buckle, and padding.
leather straps with high-contrast stitching are usually found on robust sports
watches, such as the Vacheron Constantin Overseas ladies watch. Thinner straps are still
used for high-end dress watches (think the Piaget Possession
watch and Lange & Söhne’s Grand Lange 1Moonphase),
since they complement business attire and leather accessories such as a belt or
shoes very well.
Image courtesy of Watches of Switzerland
When choosing a
leather strap, pay careful attention to both the quality and stitching. Small
imperfections can easily become bigger ones over time, and turn a luxury watch
into a casual one instead. Anyone prone to heavy perspiration should also be
cautious when opting for a strap, as dampness can cause leather to smell sour.
There are other types
of watch straps available. These ones are usually made from fabric, rubber, and
different plastics. However, with the exception of high grade rubber, which can
create an ultra smooth effect, is that they are not typically used in luxury
watchmaking. Rubber straps appear more frequently on high-end watches designed
for avid sports enthusiast (see Patek Philippe’s Aquanaut). They’re waterproof, durable, and
easy to clean. High-quality rubber straps are also used on expensive diving
watches and can even cost hundreds on their own. As rubber is not a suitable
material for formal settings, people with a more active lifestyle tend to
purchase water-resistant watches with two straps – one leather and the other
rubber – and interchange them as needed.
Metal bracelets for luxury watches can be made of
anything from quality steel to precious metals like silver, gold, platinum, and
rhodium. Some bracelets feature different and unique types of closures and
clasps, or feature subtle embellishments such as small diamonds or the brand
Image courtesy of Watches of
Lifestyle can play a role on which variety of metal
bracelet one should select. If you plan to wear the watch frequently, gold
plating and gold filling can wear off over time, which is problematic if the
watch is intended as an heirloom.
Another aspect to take into consideration is that
untreated metals such as stainless steel or titanium will preserve their lustre
for a long time. This is also true of solid gold or platinum bands.
One of the biggest benefits of a metal watch
bracelet is that it has a link system, enabling it to be resized to accommodate
all wrist dimensions. They also tend to be cooler and more comfortable in hot
A potential drawback is that metal bracelets aren’t
suitable for watches intended to be worn with a tuxedo. Many argue that metal
and formal wear are totally incompatible. It’s also worth considering whether
or not you may have an allergy to certain types of metal. Some people can suffer
with skin reactions. So if you suffer from an allergy to gold for example,
you’ll need to select a bracelet made from a different type of metal.
At the end of the day, there is no real consensus
on whether or not luxury watch straps are superior to bracelets, or vice-versa. Occasion, lifestyle, environment, and personal
taste all make one preferable to the other under certain circumstances.
However, if you’re a beginner, you’ll always need a good starting point and
this guide should help you with your initial choices.