Types of Watch Straps

While the dial and bezel of a watch are permanent, watch wearers do have the option of changing out straps. Some love a simple leather band, others are partial towards a clean Oyster bracelet, while some like to play to the beat of their own drum and sport a Bund strap.

Here are some popular watch straps, we’ll add to the list as time goes on, so if we’re missing your favorite style let us know!

Rally 

Inspired by old school racing gloves, Rally straps are easily recognizable by the three or more large perforations below the lugs. Similar to driving gloves, the design mimics early race cars, which were constructed of parts with holes drilled through them to drop their weight and achieve greater speed.

The perforations make for perfect ventilation and breathability, making Rally straps a great choice for summer wear. They are also the perfect match for a vintage chronograph since they were used to time races.

NATO Strap

Originally dubbed the ‘G10,’ these straps were developed for British Commandos in the ‘70s. The most notable feature of the NATO strap is its single-piece construction, which are woven underneath the spring bars, for application or removal in a matter of seconds! Plus, with the addition of a watch keeper strap will keep the watch case firmly on your wrist even if one of the spring bars snap.  The long strap allows the operator to 

Famously worn by James Bond (both Sean Connery and Daniel Craig!), the NATO strap boasts a low price so you can get the 007 look, no matter the budget!

Oyster

Introduced in the 1930’s by Rolex, the Oyster is characterized by a long, thick, three-piece link. As the most popular bracelet model available, it isss the only bracelet style available as an option on every single line of Rolex watches.

The sheer functionality of the Oyster draws people in. With strong links that are less prone to stretching, it’s nearly as durable as they come. The only main drawback is stiffness, as fewer links mean less flexibility.

Bund

Bund straps were invented for German pilots in WWII with an extra layer of padding to prevent burns if a fire were to break out. The feature also boded well at high altitudes, preventing the metal from freezing to the skin and in the regular active lifestyle of servicemen, absorbing perspiration to improve the lifespan of government-issued watches.

The Bund strap can be difficult to wear in the summer since they are quite warm, and can be too large for small-wrists, but they can be an excellent choice for those with metal allergies, since it prevents all contacts between the watch and skin. For those with a large enough wrist to support this strap,  try it with a pillow watch or a chronograph!

Milanese

Developed in Milan, Italy, this mesh design was used as a special kind of chainmail all the way back in the 13th century. Renowned German watch strap specialists Staib and Vollmer renewed production of these rare straps in the early 1920’s. For the next 40 or so years the Milanese was a common appearance on vintage dress watches.

Milanese straps are distinguished by their extremely dense and tightly woven mesh construction, which makes them flexible and comfortable compared to some other metal styles. This does come at a slight cost to durability, but these straps are frequently worn in more formal environments, so resistance to the elements is less of a concern. Due to the low profile of these straps, they typically wear best with dials 40mm and under.