How to match a strap to a watch

How to match a strap to a watch

‘Swatch. The others just watch.’

This could be our first thoughts of matching straps with watches. Our introduction to the Swatch brand was back in the 80s. The above tagline flashed on the big screen advertisements before the beginning of the movie itself. 

A catchy tagline that set the mood. It filled our teenage minds with the impression of wearing a Swatch would make you a trend setter because the others could only watch you, with envy.

The most captivating content of the advertisement was the ability to swap wrist watch straps and colors. What an uninhibited explosion of color choices! The experience would not be too different from choosing our favorite candy.

How do we pair watches with wrist watch straps? Does the change only happen when the strap is broken? We can safely say that if your watch is not born out of necessity, so is your strap. Most of us have been bitten by the wrist watch strap bug.

In fact, never in our lives would we have imagined we’d be creating straps for watch wearers around the world.

Main materials commonly known:

1. Metal bracelets

2. Leather watch straps

3. Woven nylon fabric watch straps

4. Rubber watch straps

Matching straps to watches – by genre

For every type of watch, there are tons of wrist watch straps that fit them. This is an overview of what many consider good matches for each type:

Dive Watch – metal bracelet, NATO, rubber

Dress watch – metal bracelet, leather

Chronograph – metal bracelet, leather, rubber

Field watch – leather, NATO, canvas

Pilot watch – leather, NATO, canvas

Vintage divers – NATO

Vintage dress watch – NATO

Smart watch – rubber, NATO, leather, metal mesh

Matching straps to watches – by colors

Besides material, let’s not forget colors. Matching colors is an everyday skill we learned since we started dressing ourselves up. In many instances, a color or accent on a wristwatch or wrist watch strap could tie an outfit together nicely — Just like how the blue accents on a shirt could pair nicely with a navy jacket.

Note our Green with orange and beige stripes paired with both Rolex’s Explorer 2 polar and Omega’s Seamaster 2254. The orange accents on their dials and second hand suit the strap. On its own, the olive green doesn’t seem to relate much to the watch, but the accents managed to tie the black or white dials together. 

Each material offers a huge variation in style. We present different tests on a diver, a dress watch and a chronograph each to observe how the various wrist watch straps look and feel with each watch face.

Matching straps to watches – Diver

Rubber watch strap : The most natural combination for the function of the watch. Perfect use for outdoor activities.

Leather watch strap: Many may not agree with wearing leather in water. In this instance, however, the Epsom grain and pale navy blue worked wonderfully aesthetically. Who would have thought the clean rubber strap did not get much attention.

Woven textile watch strap: Almost as popular as the Epsom leather is our woven single pass X Hatch.

VTG Mil 2 Piece: In this particular test the alligator and Shell Cordovan strap did not receive as much attention as the other watch straps. We figured the style of the diver with a rotating bezel needs a sportier strap instead of textures more suitable for a dress watch. It really depends on the style and color of the watch. It could be that our followers generally like non-leather products yet.

Matching straps to watches – Dress Watch

In this test, we worked with black leather textures to focus on which textures works better with the GS. Colors sometimes distract us from the textures.

Our leather range is a work in progress. For this watch, the order of preference according to our followers are as such:

1. Alligator grain watch strap

2. Lizard grain watch strap

3. Shell Cordovan watch strap

For dressier pieces with cleaner dials, more elaborate leather textures, especially those with a little sheen seem to work better in terms of strap pairing. The lizard grain is almost as close as the alligator strap. The usually popular Shell Cordovan watch strap proved be a little too sporty in this instance. This is the most interesting realization; smooth surface without texture seems to be more suitable for sportier models.

Matching straps to watches – Sports Chronograph

The Omega Speedmaster is called a strap monster for a reason — it can just about handle any occasion or high quality watch strap. More interesting for us is observing our followers’ responses to the different textures. Although a very close contest, the ranking in preference are as follows:

1. Shell Cordovan watch strap

2. Alligator grain watch strap

3. Lizard grain watch strap

We noticed that the slightly sportier genre such as the Speedmaster tips the scales towards the smoother Shell Cordovan texture. We will have these options available soon.

Our excitement peaked when a Speedmaster Broad Arrow was loaned to us by a friend. We quickly fitted the VTG Mil Green on it and its more popular sibling and placed them side by side. The woven strap was a catalyst for aging. They suddenly felt like vintage pieces, although to be fair, their designs have been around for a long time.  If you find these VTG Mil strap with distressed hardware a good combination, here is the link:

On another spectrum, the metal bracelets for the chronograph reveal an interesting comparison. Our friend @watchddicted posted three different bracelets for the Omega Speedmaster. The range included a president-style bracelet, a flat link bracelet and a Mexican Holzer bracelet instead of the stock bracelets. 

And the winner of this trio? The flat link bracelet. 

While we do not offer these options in our range, we find these tests enlightening. 

We hope they have also given you some insight on pairing your watches with high quality watch straps. Our next post will be on the subsequent genres. Let us know your thoughts and leave them as comments below.