Straps and Bracelets – Leather and Textiles
Straps and bracelets play an increasing role in the way people choose and wear watches. Swap out a thick, rugged leather strap for a thin, elegant alligator-patterned strap and the personality of the watch changes instantly. Replace a stainless steel bracelet with a nylon strap and the watch goes from earnest to easy-going. Here we discuss two of these popular materials: leather and textiles.
Leather Watch Straps
Leather straps come in a variety of styles, and the range of quality and finishing is substantial. The cost of a leather strap depends on the quality and exclusivity of the leather, as well as the brand and the strap maker.
The most common leather in production is cowhide, but hides such as calf, crocodile, alligator, ostrich and shark are also popular. Each has a different grain and consistency. Often, a cowhide strap is finished with an alligator or crocodile pattern, which is both cost-effective and environmentally sensitive but not the same as an original hide. Shell cordovan is an exceptional leather made from horsehide; cordovan was originally prepared in Spain but is now a hallmark of Chicago’s Horween Leather Company.
Certain watches are better suited to a particular type of leather strap. Take the Gevril Avenue of Americas luxury dress watch collection as an example. These watches are mounted on dressy, padded crocodile or patterned-leather straps with matching stitching. The careful finishing and refined nature of the leather is a perfect match for an equally refined timepiece.
Pilot and racing watches are also known for having particular strap styles. Pilot watch straps are often characterized by double rivets at the lug end. Racing watches have large holes drilled through the body.
Advantages and disadvantages: Leather is form-fitting, comfortable and stylish. Most leathers evolve over time and develop unique patinas. There are plenty of colors to choose from and different hides have different textures. Leather is easier to form (than metal and rubber) to fit different lug widths. Several stitching styles and colors are available, too, including various minimal patterns along with more familiar parallel patterns. Most leathers are not water resistant and leather will stain over time with wear.
Maintenance: Leather generally does not require anything more than surface cleaning. Wipe the leather down with a dry cloth to remove any surface grime. Leather in particular tends to look better as the material ages so leave the leather alone to mature naturally.
Textile Watch Straps
Several types of textile straps exist, including leather-based straps with exterior fabric finishes of satin, silk or even Kevlar. Others are made completely of fabric. Nato style straps made of light, inexpensive and durable nylon are especially popular. Nato straps afford the wearer an additional layer of protection against loss: the design incorporates a one-piece loop that prevents a watch from detaching from the wrist even if a spring bar breaks or pops open. The “nato” alias arose after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) gave these straps a stock number as an official military supply item.
Advantages and disadvantages: Certain fabrics such as silk and denim are uncommon. Nylon is a strong and lightweight material. Like leather, fabric straps are not water resistant and will stain and wear out over time.
Maintenance: Textile generally does not require anything more than surface cleaning. Wipe the watch strap down with a dry cloth to remove any surface grime.
If you are concerned with scratching your watch, use masking tape to cover the exposed areas of the lugs and case when you are changing a strap or bracelet, or take your watch to a certified watchmaker or authorized repair site instead.
Changing straps is not like changing batteries or attempting to make repairs. Opening a watch can damage the parts, void the warranty and negatively affect the watch’s water resistance. For repairs, always have your watch inspected by an authorized watch repair center.
About Gevril Group
Gevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.