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The Watch Strap Guide: Which is Right for You?

Whether you’re marking a special occasion with a beautiful new timepiece, or replacing a well-loved strap on your favourite watch, our guide on the differences between the most popular watch strap styles will help you work out which one is right for you. To get you started on your watch-buying journey, find everything you need to know about the different watch straps ahead.

28 NOVEMBER 2023 | ERNEST JONES WRITER

With a seemingly endless variety of watch straps to choose from, it’s not always easy to decide on the one that best suits your needs. The good news is, whether you’re looking for an elegant leather strap, a robust nylon design, sporty rubber style or a classic metal bracelet, there’s a watch strap in our selection for you. Read on to discover all you need to know about the different types, as well as how to care for them to ensure they last for many years to come.

Leather watch straps

Classic. Sophisticated. Undeniably refined. It’s easy to see why leather watch straps are such a timeless choice. Arguably one of the most versatile watch strap materials, leather works for both casual and smart occasions. With a wide range of colours and finishes available, you’re bound to find a leather-strap watch to match your personal style.

Why should you buy leather watch straps?

  • Leather feels soft and comfortable on your wrist and will mould to your wrist over time.

  • Additional holes can be punched into leather watch straps to ensure it fits perfectly.

  • Although leather watch straps can cost a little more than nylon, silicone or rubber styles, they’re also durable and made to last. To keep them looking beautiful for longer, we recommend using specialist cleaning products and conditioning treatments to maintain the lustrous appearance. A leather strap will still show signs of ageing over time, which only add to its charm and appeal.

  • It’s a breathable material, which reducing the chances of discomfort from sweating.

  • Leather watch straps aren’t water resistant and can show sweat marks, so it’s best to take them off before swimming or exercising.  

Leather watch and bracelet giftset

Stainless Steel Watch Straps

Strong, sleek and built to withstand plenty of wear and tear, stainless-steel watch straps are a reliable choice – especially if you’re looking to invest in a dive-ready style. Whether you go for a silver or gold finish, the look of a linked bracelet will add a polished touch to any outfit. Our advice: make sure that a stainless-steel watch fits properly to your wrist – if it’s too loose, it will weaken the links.

Why should you buy stainless steel watch straps?

  • Stainless steel watches are highly durable and will last a lifetime with the proper care. They’re made from a high-quality alloy and are resistant to corrosion, making them perfect for wearing daily. Although highly durable, it’s worth keeping in mind that they can be prone to scratches and scuffs when in contact with other hard surfaces.

  • The option to have links added or removed ensures a comfortable fit for all wrist sizes.

  • Stainless steel is hypoallergenic, making it suitable for those with sensitive skin or metal allergies.

  • Most steel bracelet straps have a substantial folding clasp, which makes them a more secure option.

  • Most are water resistant. Whether you like deep sea diving or getting in your exercise at the local pool, you can wear your stainless-steel watch without concern of rusting or deterioration.

Silicone Watch Straps

Why not bring new life to an old favourite with a silicone watch strap? Durable, water resistant and comfortable, silicone designs are becoming more and more popular. Whether you're going to the gym, heading to the beach, or simply want a low-maintenance option, flexible silicone strap watches are for you.

Why should you buy silicone watch straps?

  • Silicone watch straps are resistant to sweat and odour, so you won’t need to worry about taking it off in warm weather. Extreme heat and UV rays won’t affect the appearance of a silicone watch strap either, making it ideal if you love the great outdoors or holiday in very hot climates.

  • Silicone watch straps are often more affordable than some other materials, without compromising on style.

  • The soft and lightweight nature of silicone straps ensure a comfortable fit on the wrist – perfect for all-day wear.

  • Available in a range of colours, you’re guaranteed to find one you love.

  • Allergic to rubber? Silicone watch straps are a great alternative. They have all the benefits of rubber, without irritating your skin.

18 Carat Gold Watch Straps

Whether it’s a graduation gift, personal milestone or a big birthday, you’ll never go wrong buying a luxury timepiece with an 18-carat gold watch strap. From Rado and Tissot, to Longines and Tudor, a gold watch is a heirloom that can be passed down through the generations. The epitome of luxury and elegance, a watch strap expertly crafted in this precious metal will beautifully complement any watch dial with a warm accent. It offers exceptional durability and longevity, too.

Why should you buy 18-carat gold watch straps?

  • 18 carat gold is made up of 75% pure gold, which means your watch will hold its value.

  • It’s highly resistant to scratches, and it doesn’t tarnish or corrode, so your watch will stay as beautiful as the day you bought it.

  • Gold is a hypoallergenic metal, making it a suitable if you have sensitive skin or an allergy to other metals.

  • An 18-carat gold watch signifies luxury and exclusivity – ideal of you’re looking for a high-end timepiece to mark a special occasion (or a well-earned treat for yourself).

  • 18 carat gold watch straps are available in various colours, including yellow, white, and rose gold to suit your style.

  • Luxury watches made from 18 carat gold can be expensive. But an investment piece like this is always worth it.

Gold bracelet strap watch

Fabric Watch Straps

When it’s humid and the sun is shining, fabric watch straps are the ideal companion. Light, breathable and washable, a fabric strap strikes the perfect balance between simple charm and practical application. Best of all, whether you prefer bold patterns or subtle textures, fabric strap watches offer a wide range of designs to suit any taste.

Why should you buy fabric watch straps?

  • Some people find that fabric watch straps (such as those made from nylon) are much more comfortable than metal or leather.

  • The rugged, sporty aesthetic works well with casual looks.

  • Fabric straps are more breathable and allow air to circulate around the wrist. This is especially beneficial in hot climates or during physical activities, as it helps to prevent excessive sweating and keeps the wrist cool.

  • Soft and comfortable, fabric watch straps are still durable. They can withstand regular wear and tear, including exposure to water, sweat, and dirt – with losing their quality or appearance.

  • Fabric straps are typically lightweight, so they’re ideal if you tend to wear your watch throughout the day.

  • Available in a wide range of designs, patterns, and colours, you can easily change the look of your watch and personalise it to match your style or the occasion.

  • Fabric watch straps are often more affordable compared to high-end materials like metal or premium leather.

  • Most fabric watch straps aren’t water-resistant, making them susceptible to damage if submerged in water or exposed to excessive moisture. Just remember to take off your watch before you swim or dive if you’ve chosen a timepiece with a fabric strap.

Now you’ve got the knowledge, find one that’s right for you in our wide selection of luxury and designer watches. If you’re still undecided, try choosing a timepiece that lets you switch between rubber, leather and steel straps.

You can also visit us in store and try on a few options to see which you like the most. Our watch experts are always happy to help, so why not book an appointment today?

Stainless steel bracelet watch