As a watch lover and collector I think the aesthetics of a timepiece is very important. I mean, after all the purchase was ultimately made because of this – though in some cases this isn’t always true. However, that is another conversation. The colour of the dial, the case material and all the other little details we look for make up our minds when purchasing a watch but one of the most important, which is sometimes overlooked, is the bracelet or strap.
A bracelet or strap have the ability to completely transform the look and feel of a timepiece and in some cases, even make the watch look smaller or bigger on the wearers wrist. A strap further extends the overall versatility of a timepiece that in many cases is all that is required for it to fit in with your attire.
Most if not all sports watches are sold on a bracelet and in all honesty you can’t really go wrong with these, though some will argue there is a time and a place for each type of strap to be worn. The bracelet strap a timepiece is sold with, is in my opinion, the all-rounder – it works pretty much with any type of attire and in some cases actually make the watch look a lot larger than it is. This is especially true when it comes to integrated bracelets but they also complete the look of the watch itself.
Leather straps have been around for decades, they come in all sorts of wonderful shades, sizes and hides. Probably one of the most common are alligator or crocodile and in my opinion these pretty much work well with any type of dress watch for those suit and tie occasions. But in saying this, there are leather straps that work well with a more casual attire. Calf leather has been used for many, many years for things like belts, handbags and upholstery. Calf leather is particularly soft and supple and is perfect for leather straps but not only this, they can be distressed to give a more vintage look and they pair nicely on sports watches and more appropriately, vintage sports watches.
Now, probably one of the most commonly used and versatile straps among sports watch owners is the NATO strap. But just how did these come about? Well, first of all I think it is important to know the NATO strap hasn’t actually been around as long as some may think. The NATO only came after, NATO itself (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) formed some 66 years ago. The NATO strap was originally made for the British MoD but it is also referred to as a G10 strap because of the form that was needed to requisition one. But NATO comes into it because its NATO stock number identifies the strap.
NATO straps notably only came in a width of 20mm and were always Admiralty Grey. Nowadays this little, archaic, nylon strap is as hip as ever and is available in countless colours and sizes to suit your outfit. Personally for me, I see the NATO strap as more of a strap to use during the summery months, as firstly it makes your sports watch feel super light and secondly with the array of colours available it’s a way to dress up your watch for the summer. A similar type of strap that is a bit like a NATO, are the woven Perlon straps that are very good for giving your watch a unique look for the summer.
There are also rubber straps, which do come in very handy and are quite nice to wear when engaging in sports or water sports activities. They are just as supple as leather straps but offer more in the way of water resistance. With all that said, some watches just don’t like change and will only look good on the strap they came with, but variety is the spice of life.