A guide to luxury watch straps
From the chunky metal bracelets of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Chronograph to the bold red stitch of Patek’s Minute Repeater Tourbillon Singapore 2019, your watch’s strap is as much a style statement as the dial it’s attached to.
Of course, watch straps are far cheaper than an entirely new watch so it is often more cost-effective to expand a collection of straps rather than buying a whole new watch.
Indeed some watches don’t allow you to change the wristband making for an even tougher decision for luxury watch buyers.
But with so many on the market, what’s the best watch strap to go for?
There is a myriad of materials available when it comes to metal straps including stainless steel, titanium, platinum and rose gold - or a combination.
The two-tone 18ct yellow gold and stainless steel Jubilee bracelet on this Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust looks smart for a dressed-up occasion. The Jubilee is characterised by three narrow, highly polished links situated between the thick, matte finish side links.
In the 1930s, Rolex created the Oyster bracelet, featuring its long and wide three-piece link design, and even today, it’s still one of the most popular bracelet models available.
If you opt for a linked-bracelet, you’ll need to make sure it’s properly fitted to your wrist. If it hangs down the links will be weakened.
By their very nature some metals are heavy, so those leading an active lifestyle may prefer rubber or leather straps.
One big advantage for the metal-style watches is that they are a joy to clean. A soft old toothbrush will take care of those tiny cracks. Just add a small amount of warm diluted washing-up liquid, brush gently and follow with a cool water rinse.
Arguably the most versatile choice, leather - whether it’s calfskin crocodile or something else - looks incredibly smart, suits a range of occasions and is available in a spectrum of colours.
It’s always a firm favourite amongst watch wearers due to the comfort factor.
Here at Luxe Watches, we think this Patek Philippe Ref. 5070R Chronograph is a perfect accessory with its dark alligator strap and yellow gold deployment clasp.
Another good thing about leather is that is fades well over time so you can still achieve that vintage look as your watch ages, although it won’t last as long as a bracelet.
As an increasingly popular choice, especially smart-casual wearers, rubber is a very durable option. Now it is essential for diving watches but was previously disregarded as it was prone to blistering in hot temperatures and cracking in the cold.
But thanks to a clever compound derived from petroleum from Austrian company ISOfrane, qualities such as the ability to be lightweight and waterproof became reality. The firm even infused the material with vanilla extract in a bid to disguise sweaty smells. This was later used by companies such as Hublot.