Straps and Bracelets – Metal and Rubber
As two of the most durable materials in the spectrum of watch bracelet and watch strap manufacturing, metal and rubber are also among the most popular. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing whether or not to buy a watch on a metal bracelet or rubber strap.
Metal Watch Bracelets
Metal watch bracelets come in any number of styles. Bracelet links are held together with pins or screws, or a combination of both. Weight varies with the amount and type of metal; titanium, for example, is significantly lighter than steel. Bracelets are almost always more expensive than straps because of their metal composition and their durability – they can last the lifetime of a watch if properly maintained.
Stainless steel is the most common metal used to make watch bracelets, although some high-end watches come with bracelets made from precious metal such as gold. Coated stainless steel is also popular today, usually with a form of PVD (physical vapor deposition) such as IP (ion plating).
One popular style of steel watch bracelet worth singling out is mesh (also known as Milanese), which is comprised of interlaced rings that have the appearance of chainmail armor and differ from most other link constructions.
Advantages and disadvantages of metal watch bracelets: Stainless steel watch bracelets are highly durable and wear well in all kinds of weather. However, they are generally heavier than leathers or textiles and are sometimes more difficult to remove and remount on a watch case because their construction offers less space to maneuver a spring-bar tool.
Maintenance: To clean a stainless steel watch bracelet, rinse the bracelet with water and dry it with a soft cloth. Always rinse your bracelet after swimming in salt water. (Of course, never swim while wearing a watch that does not have adequate water resistance.)
There are several products available to polish stainless steel but do your research before you attempt it at home – it is easy to damage a watch’s finishing during polishing. Instead, enjoy your watch and let those scratches add up naturally. When the time is right, send your timepiece to an authorized watch repair center and have the watch polished professionally.
Rubber Watch Straps
Rubber watch straps are ideal for all sorts of watches and lifestyles. While it is not a new concept, the popularity of rubber watch straps in contemporary watchmaking really took off in the 1980s – mounting a rubber strap on a “nice” watch was once considered tacky, but today watch brands are matching all types of watches with rubber straps from diving to dress watches. Black is still the most popular color but bright and trendy options are increasingly available.
The two primary types of rubber used for watch straps are natural rubber (caoutchouc) and silicone. Other polymers also exist. Like steel, rubber is more difficult to customize than leather and is therefore not as widely available from independent craftsmen.
Advantages and disadvantages of rubber watch straps: Rubber repels water making it practical for water activities and in hot and humid climates. Rubber is durable and will not stain. Quality rubber will last a long time if properly maintained. Unfortunately, rubber does not breathe well and cheaply made polymers can be brittle.
Maintenance: To clean a rubber watch strap, rinse the strap with water and dry it with a soft cloth.
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 watch 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.
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