Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Timepiece?

One of the easiest ways to expand the versatility and boost the look of your watch collection is to invest in aftermarket straps. A new strap can often completely change the look of your watch, and a rotation of routine strap changes is a great way to continue to have fun with the watches in your collection. Many are available for a fraction of the cost of your watch, and can be changed with a simple tool from the comfort of your home.
Most watches come in one of a few standard lug sizes. While there are a core few that are more popular than most, the increasing desire to create new and innovative designs is resulting in many different lug shapes and sizes, meaning now, more than ever, you must make sure you are ordering the correct size. Most straps are secured to the watch case by spring bars, which are short pieces of metal with two spring-loaded ends that sit within a channel at the end of the strap, and their sizes are specific to the lug width of the watch as well. When it comes time to remove the strap, a spring bar tool with a forked end secures the ends of the spring bars, depressing them into themselves and allowing the strap to be removed from the watch, with practice it can be accomplished in less than a minute.
While the only thing you really need to know to change your strap is the lug width of your watch (measured in mm), there are certain types of straps that look better on certain watches, as dress and sport watches are often worn for specific occasions or activities.



-Some options for sport watches-


straps are made from a durable, waterproof woven nylon. They are longer than normal watch straps because they are designed to adjust to fit over a wetsuit when diving, which essentially makes them a convenient, one-size-fits-all strap. Attached to the watch by weaving the tail through the spring bars, there are no special tools required to change them, and a new one can be fitted in a matter of seconds. With an almost endless selection of colors and patterns available, NATO straps are an attractive option when considering a new look for your favorite diver.


 straps are both water and sweat proof, they are comfortable and perfect for hot summer days as they typically allow more air underneath as it moves, cooling your wrist. Available in many different colors and textures, you can have one for every outfit or occasion. Shedding water is a breeze as well, making a rubber strap a perfect companion for a swim or even a trusted piece of equipment on a scuba dive. Rubber tends to be resilient, meaning your strap will retain its shape and color longer, prolonging the usual wear and tear often found after regular use.


You can never go wrong with a good, trusty Oyster flip-lock or Milanese shark-mesh bracelet. Stainless Steel is resistant to saltwater and chemicals found in pools and other bodies of water, and is tough enough to take most any beating you can throw at it. A Stainless Steel bracelet goes with anything and can easily be dressed up or down. An all gold watch would benefit from a matching gold bracelet, but two-toned watches can often be left to the decision of wearer.



 A relative newcomer to the growing world of custom-made and aftermarket straps is canvas. Often assembled by taking a thick, colored canvas and sewing it to a leather backing, these sturdy and stylish straps make for a modern, rugged look to compliment many styles of sport watches. Like leather, they will start to break in and form to your wrist over time. The edges can even be scuffed up to give it a worn look and air of vintage to accompany the patina on a watch boasting of old age.


-Some options for dress watches-


 An obvious frontrunner for the perfect compliment to a dress watch would be leather. Found on many dress watches, the sheen on an alligator strap gives an immediate air of class and elegance. A muted, matte leather strap is more subtle, softening the look of your timepiece. There are many different colors and types of leathers and finishes, ranging from the normal cow and alligator to exotics like sting ray and python, and even expand to include faux options for animal-friendly watch lovers. There is a leather strap perfect for any occasion, and never a shortage of styles to choose from.


While included in the broadness of the point above, the side-stitch leather strap is deserving of a bullet point of its own. A simple strip of leather, it is typically devoid of any stitching save for two small loops of thick thread on either side of the strap, looping the end closest to the watch head over itself to create a channel for the spring bars. It is available in many different leathers and varying colors and styles. The side-stitch strap tends to give a more casual look to a dress watch, and is especially at home on a vintage watch.


 Not unlike sport watches, your favorite dress watch would feel just as at home on an elegant steel, silver or gold bracelet. With dress watches, pay attention to the finishing on the case, if it is primarily a brushed surface or possibly a high polish, you will want to match the bracelet you pair with it. A metal bracelet will create a seamless look as it encompasses your wrist and elegantly plays with the light as you move. With the ability to transition from a dressy atmosphere to a casual one and faithfully withstand abuse from either, don't count the bracelet out when looking to change up your rotation.


These options are definitely not a comprehensive list, there are always new styles, materials, and innovations that keep a steady stream of watch straps readily available at our fingertips. With so many options, it may sometimes seem difficult to pass up a great deal, but remember that just like luxury items, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. While many quality watch straps can be had for less than $150, remember that this is the only piece of hardware that is securing your luxury watch to your wrist, so you will benefit in the long run from spending a few extra dollars on a trusted, quality strap from a reputable vendor and passing up the cheaper option on eBay.

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