No watch is complete without a good band. The watch’s band is the piece of material that wraps around your wrist and clasps securely shut. When you are going about your day-to-day tasks, it is essential to have a watch band that can meet the demands of your lifestyle and fit your wrist well.
A Guide To The Different Types Of Watch Bands
In this article, we will cover the most common types of watch bands and the pros and cons of each. After reading, you will be able to make an informed decision regarding which type of watch band is best for you.
Leather Watch Bands
One of the most common and best-loved types of watch bands is a strap made of leather. Leather is tanned animal hide, a material commonly used for furniture, shoes, belts, and accessories like watch straps. Leather has a timeless look and continues to stay in style as the decades go by.
Leather watch bands can be found in numerous colors, but some of the most common are brown and black. Leather is an extremely versatile material to accessorize with, pairing well with both casual and formal looks. Used for watch bands since timepieces first started being worn on the wrist, it gives a watch a classic look that is hard to beat.
While leather watch bands have plenty of inherent appeal due to the unparalleled look and feel of the material, there are some drawbacks to wearing a watch with a leather strap.
Leather is an absorbent material, meaning that if you are working hard and sweating throughout the day, your watch band will end up getting potentially discolored as it soaks up sweat from your wrist. This means that a leather watch band needs frequent cleaning and conditioning to keep from getting discolored and damaged by sweat, oil, and dirt. Maintaining a leather watch band is not difficult, but wearing a band made from leather does require more time and effort than some other materials.
Cleaning a leather watch band is easy – it just takes a microfiber cloth, some gentle soap, and a leather conditioner designed for clothing and jewelry. If you choose leather as the material for your watch band, be prepared to clean and condition it once every few weeks. If you wear your watch daily and do not frequently clean and care for it, the leather will eventually become dry and brittle, leading to cracks and an overall decline in your watch’s appearance.
Metal Watch Bands
Metal is another one of the most common materials used for watch bands. Easier to maintain than leather and equally timeless, metal watch bands look great and are suitable for formal and casual occasions.
A metal watch band is typically made from small, interlinked pieces of metal and features a buckle that straps the watch to the wearer’s wrist. The design of a metal watch band can give a watch a more modern look than some other materials like leather, which does typically give a watch a more vintage feel.
When wearing a metal watch band, one factor to be aware of is the material’s propensity for reacting to the temperature. In cold weather, your metal watch band will feel very cold on your wrist. In contrast, when you are in hot weather, your watch may feel uncomfortably warm. However, metal does not absorb water and sweat in the same way leather does and is more resistant to heavy wear.
A metal watch band is a great option for anyone who wants their watch to have a timeless look but prefers to keep things as low-maintenance as possible. There is always the potential for any watch to require some extra care and attention, but metal tends to be one of the easiest watch band materials to care for.
Canvas Watch Bands
Especially common for field watches and other more rugged styles of timepieces, canvas is another material frequently used for watch bands. Lightweight, easy to replace, and available in a wide variety of patterns and colors, canvas makes a watch look more casual but is notably comfortable to wear and very easy to care for.
If your watch does not need to be worn with very formal outfits, canvas is a great option for a band material. However, it is important to consider the style and fashion requirements of your day-to-day life when choosing a watch and strap. Canvas is not as versatile as leather or metal and may not complement certain outfits as well. If you are working in an environment where anything more than business casual is required, a canvas watch band might not be the best pick for you. Leather or metal would likely be a better option in this case.
Rubber Watch Bands
Rubber is a less common material for luxury watch bands but is often found on watches designed for athletic wear. In addition, smartwatches often include rubber bands by default.
Rubber is an extremely flexible material that requires little to no maintenance and is perfect for wearing when you are engaging in physical exercise or other activity that would potentially put a more formal material at risk.
A rubber watch band does not have the same compatibility with formal wear. Smartwatches, which often have rubber straps, may have some useful bells and whistles, but they can never replace analog watches in terms of style. Analog watches have a timeless look and feel that cannot be competed with by digital watches or smartwatches.
Which Watch Band Is Best For You?
Your choice of watch band depends on your lifestyle, fashion preferences, the colors that you typically like to wear, and the type of watch that you choose. Some watches look better with certain materials used for their bands.
For example, a dive watch looks great with a metal or leather strap (some, like Jack Mason’s Seamount, use a ribbed rubber band). However, canvas does not blend well with the look and versatility of a dive watch. Since a dive watch is compatible with both casual and formal outfits, wearing an inherently formal strap made from canvas might not be the best choice.
It is important to remember that there are exceptions to the rules of watch wearing. Jack Mason’s rubber-banded Seamount dive watch is a perfect example. The Seamount does elegance with excellence, all the while using a material for its band that is not always associated with luxury watches. Dive watches are often some of the best choices for pairing with the most formal attire, and a sleek, black rubber band can make you look even more put together.
In certain circumstances, wearing a watch with a leather band is your best choice, hands down. Black leather is generally considered more formal than brown leather but can pair perfectly with just about any look. Leather’s versatility makes it the perfect choice for a watch band if you are only planning on owning one watch.
Metal watch bands also have their own unique perks. Much easier to maintain than leather bands, they look a bit more modern but still are guaranteed to stay in style. The choice between a leather band and a metal one is often the primary decision that watch lovers must make, but many enthusiasts end up choosing to own at least one watch with both types of straps.
A canvas watch band is suitable for more casual outfits. It is also a great choice for pairing with a field watch. The rugged design of this type of timepiece makes it a great watch to pair with a canvas strap.
Many field watches, including Jack Mason’s field three-hand, have a more colorful display and are complemented well by colored canvas straps. Like metal, canvas is a lower-maintenance material than leather, making it worth considering for outdoorsmen, adventurers, and lovers of the field watch.
Finally, rubber is still a viable option for a watch band in spite of its association with smartwatches and activewear. As demonstrated by Jack Mason’s Seamount dive watch, rubber straps do not have to look informal and can pair perfectly with dressy attire when done right.
However, it is worth noting that if you go for a rubber watch band, opt for an analog watch. Smartwatches and digital watches may seem more convenient, but they will never be able to compete with the timeless look of an analog timepiece.
What Watch You Choose Is Up To You
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which material is best for your style. There is no wrong choice when it comes to watch bands, but some are more versatile and fit better with certain types of watches. This makes owning multiple watches a worthwhile consideration.