Essentially there are 4 categories of watch straps:
Metal Straps / Metal Bracelets
Most metal strap or bracelets are made using stainless steel but watches with precious metal cases may use a corresponding metal to match accordingly. There are several classic metal bracelet types. These include the oyster, jubilee, shark mesh/chain mail, Milanese and H-link. Each of these bracelets would definitely change the look and feel of the watch. For example, most dive watches would tend to come with jubilee or oyster bracelets. The Milanese is a slim chain mesh type bracelet and it is perfect to match with ladies’ evening dress. The shark mesh or chain mail bracelet is a bolder chain link type bracelet that is great for sporty and underwater activities.
There are various types of leather straps. As we mentioned in our previous article, dress watches would have thin and neat leather straps typically made of crocodile or alligator or embossed calf leather. The type of leather and stitching determents the function of these straps. For example, a distressed leather with bold stitching may be used for military or pilot style watches. The sporty appeal of the perforated Rally strap is used on watches which are associated with cars and motor sports. Sometimes leather straps are given rubber lining in order to make them more sweat resistant and enhanced longevity and this is definitely useful in tropical weather.
Rubber / Silicone Straps
Although rubber has been used as straps for dive and sports watches for a long time, they are nowadays often replaced by the more comfortable and pliable silicone straps. Nevertheless, these straps are definitely water (and sweat resistant) and perfect for active situations where the wrist of the wearer may grow in diameter due to increased blood flow.
HIRSCH Robby with rubber core with a calfskin upper layer photo by HIRSCH
This category of straps would cover those materials not talked about in the previous types. There are often straps that come in cloth material such as nylon, canvas, linen, satin or denim. In order to strengthen these straps, they are sometimes paired with leather or synthetic linings. Of course, as these materials may not be as robust as their counterparts, they are normally used in situations where the theme or story behind the watch comes into play. Often, alternative materials are also utilized to bring out a certain look and feel for the watch. However, nylon straps such as those used in NATO straps are employed when the need for watches to have environment resistant straps. On a separate note, these straps may be attached to different sorts of buckles but let us leave that for a conversation on another day!