18 Watch Band Types – A Comprehensive Guide
Choosing the right watch band for your needs is an important decision. You want to be able to wear it at work, with a suit, and in casual settings. There are many different types of straps out there that will fit all these criteria. However, narrowing down to which one is best for you may seem difficult.
In this article, we’ll go over some common types, including leather bands and metal bracelets, so that you can make a choice easily!
What’s a watch strap?
A watch strap is the part of a wristwatch or pocket watch that secures the the watch on the wrist or pocket. A metal bracelet may also be called a “watch band”. Generally speaking, we consider a watch band a fashion accessory, acting both as a functional piece and for decorative purposes.
While watch band styles range widely, watch straps with round or square corners are more common. Watch straps with a unique shape tend to be more expensive. Watch band styles such as “halo” watch straps are amazing and always in fashion.
How to choose a watch band
Before you decide on a collection of straps that’s suitable for you, there are some qualities you should take special note of. Below are some quick questions to keep in mind.
Material: What material is the watch band made from? We have outlined the various watch band types below according to their materials. Depending on the use case, each material type has its advantages.
Softness: How rough are the edges of your new strap?
Fit and finish: Is there a risk that it’ll fray or slip off due to its design, composition, material, or tightness around the wrist?
Price: Does price matter in your purchase decision? It would be best if you stayed within your budget when changing your watch straps.
Style: There are various styles of metal, fabrics, and textures to choose from.
Affordability: Can you afford the watch band?
Time requirement: How much time are you willing to invest into keeping your strap clean without it being an inconvenience for yourself or those around you?
Durability: Is the material durable enough to last long? Consider picking durable straps if you need them for job-related purposes.
Types of straps and styles
Leather Watch straps
The first type of watch band we are going to review is made from leather. The leather watch band has always been popular because of its flexibility and tendency to stretch and conform to the body. It tends to fit the wrist and is very comfortable to wear.
However, many people do not like leather straps because they wear away after some time. The other problem with the leather band is that some can be very costly to replace should they get damaged. Thankfully, there are ways to maintain your leather watch bands.
a) Normal Leather Strap
If you are looking for a more durable option, a regular genuine leather strap would be the best for you. This band comes with heavier and more expensive materials that will last much longer than your typical leather watch band.
The other advantage to these straps is that they usually come with metal buckles on them, preventing any damage or scratching. It’s the perfect strap for casual wears.
b) Stitched Leather Strap
Stitched leather straps are a great option if you do not want to waste your money on an expensive strap. These straps are made from cheaper leather and have stitching on both sides of the band. This is the best option if you’re on a small budget.
c) Grained Leather Strap
For formal dressing, the exotic or grained leather strap is the way to go. These straps are made from top-quality leather and come in various colors, such as brown, black, or navy blue.
If you’re willing to spend more on straps, this kind of leather strap will undoubtedly catch your attention. It’s a perfect replacement band for vintage watches. The black alligator strap is an example of a grained leather strap.
d) Rally Strap
If you constantly wear leather straps, you’d notice it’s not breathable. The rally strap aims to solve this problem. The strap has large perforations that allow easier breathing and provides a more lightweight feel.
e) Bund Strap
If you want to go for a bulky leather strap, then the Bund strap is the way to go. Bund straps feature an extra layer that wraps over the buckle for a more secure fit.
The extra strap protects the watch from sweat which can eventually cause the case back to fade.
f) Aviator/Pilot Band
While this was initially a concept for German pilots during the second world war, the pilot band is still trendy today.
It’s designed from leather and metal buckle to make it lightweight and durable for pilots. You’d find this strap type on pilot watches. The double stitching around this leather watch strap makes it a durable alternative.
g) Ostrich Leather Band
Another type is an ostrich leather strap which looks more like a belt for your wrist than a watch band. This band will emphasize your masculinity, but it may not suit every occasion.
If you need something to match a more formal suit, pick this strap. You can also find one with an inlay of gold or titanium, which will be even dressier and go well with any outfit.
Nylon Watch bands
Another type of watch band for watches is the nylon watch strap. This watch band does not buckle under stress, and you can easily replace it if it becomes damaged. Some nylon watch straps can also be costly because of the amount of work needed to make them.
a) NATO Straps
If you want to add your flair and identity to your watch, you can do so with a NATO strap. This nylon watch band has two layers that come together in the middle to secure it.
Nato straps are best for the wearer that prefers an active lifestyle and wants a unique watchband option to show their personality. You can also pick up Nato straps made from leather.
b) Zulu Straps
Though Zulu straps appear similar to Nato straps, they are made from a thicker material than nato straps. This means they’ll last longer given the thick band material.
Zulu straps are perfect for sports and military watches. If you own a small watch, then it’s ideal to go for nato straps. Zulu straps are bulkier and won’t easily fit between the spring bar of a small timepiece.
c) Perlon Strap
This one piece strap is durable and resistant to tear. This is because companies use a weaved thick nylon to make them. The meshed basket design makes it more attractive compared to other nylon straps.
This band type blends well with field and sports watches.
Stainless steel bracelets fall into this category. Metal watch straps are trendy among men watches. Watches with metal watch bands can also be relatively expensive.
a) Shark Mesh Bracelets
If you want a durable metal mesh construction, then consider the shark mesh bracelet. Initially introduced by Omega, its chainmail design is durable, breathable, and lighter.
b) Oyster Bracelet
Introduced by Rolex, this bracelet style is popular among men’s watches. This type of watch band is made from stainless steel.
With fewer swivel points, this bracelet style feels a bit stiffer on the wrist. It’s easy to adjust the wrist size on this bracelet type. You can use this stainless steel band on your casual and sports watches. Featuring a flexible deployant clasp, this is a good option for larger wrist.
c) Presidential Bracelets
Initially found on the Rolex day-date watch worn by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the presidential watch band is a solid link bracelet.
Made from stainless steel, this bracelet has well polished links and an elegant look. It is heavier and flexible than the oyster band, but it is more durable.
d) Jubilee Bracelet
If you are looking for a fancier mono or duo color bracelet to go with your suit, consider the Jubilee bracelet. It boasts the appearance of a watch, especially when you use the two-tone model.
The center link on this bracelet is thin enough to be comfortable. One selling point of this bracelet is its secure clasp.
Rubber Watch straps
Rubber watch straps are also popular. They can be made from various materials, including oil-resistant rubber, silicone, or silicone with fiberglass reinforcement and natural gum rubber.
Rubber is often used in sports watches. That’s because it is flexible and durable enough to withstand the rigors of exercise while still providing comfort for the wearer all day long.
a) Tropic Style Straps
You’d quickly notice a tropic strap with its weave pattern on the outside. Made from common material, this strap allows the wearer to adjust it to fit their wrist easily. One advantage of this strap type is that they are easier to clean and maintain than other straps.
b) Silicone Watch Band (Silicon Rubber Watchband, Adult Unisex)
Silicone watch straps are an excellent choice for those who have skin sensitivities to other materials like metal. This is because it is hypoallergenic and durable. For a fashionable look, check out rubber or gummi sport straps. They are waterproof and have a sleek appearance.
c) Rubber Watch Band (Men’s Silicone Watchband, Unisex Sports Fitness)
A rubber band is made from silicone and fiberglass reinforcement, making it more durable than other materials found in this category.
Rubber watch straps come in many different colors and styles, so there’s something for everyone. If you prefer a more fashionable look, check out these Apple sports bands.
One advantage of a rubber band is that it’s easier to clean than other materials.
Rubber straps are also great for individuals who work in high-risk environments such as manufacturing or construction. This is because they will not irritate the skin as metal watch bands do.
d) Waffle Straps
Initially a strap style embraced by dive watches, the waffle strap has embossed pattern on its surface. This pattern is reminiscent to that of a waffle iron. While silicone remains the popular material for this band, its design gives it a catchy look.
Selecting the Right Type of Watch straps
Type of Material
When choosing which types of watch straps to buy, one must consider the type of material that the watch band will be made out of.
Nylon and rubber straps are commonly casual. Leather watch straps (genuine leather, synthetic leather, and top grain leather) are more formal in style. Plastic and metal bracelets are an excellent choice for those who like to be on edge.
For those who are interested in wearing watches on the job, safety is always an essential factor. Some employers encourage their employees to wear watch straps that come equipped with safety clasps. We recommend leather or rubber straps because they can be easily replaced if they become worn out or damaged.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of watch band is best?
The type of band you choose will depend mainly on your personal preference. This is because the kind of band you choose will determine the overall appearance of your watch.
If you are unsure what type or color is best for you, take a look at what watches people in your social circle wear. Pick out one that aligns with your style but also matches their taste. You want to be stylish while still being yourself!
Which watch band is most comfortable?
Generally, rubber watch straps are the most comfortable. Rubber straps are flexible and durable so that they can keep up with all of your active lifestyle choices.
Rubber watch straps are tactile and soft to touch. These properties make them an excellent choice for people who don’t like wearing metal or leather watches on their wrists all day long. Metal and leather straps may cause skin irritation after prolonged use.
How long do silicone watch straps last?
The lifespan of silicone watch straps varies depending on the wear and tear. It usually takes around two years for them to last.
Silicone watch straps are waterproof, so you can wear them in the shower and while swimming. However, your silicone band will deteriorate faster if you don’t take care of it. Washing it regularly with soap and water or using a cleaning solution specifically designed for rubber products will make them last.
Are mesh watch bracelets comfortable?
While they are attractive to the eyes, mesh bracelets are very comfortable. The band is flexible, and the material that it’s made from often wicks away moisture. Also, they feel silky and smooth on the wrist.