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Types of Watch Straps: A Comprehensive Guide

Types of Watch Straps: A Comprehensive Guide

Jan 03, 2024

Are you bored with the look of your current watch? One less pricey way to elevate the appearance of your watch is to change your bands. Not just metal and stainless steel strap or leather bands, there are tons of different types of watch bands out there. Switching your bands can exude a different aura altogether – Jubilee bracelet watch bands to gear up for a professional impression to the familiar leather watch bands to take for your casual family dinner.

While you’re on the lookout for a way to change the style of your timekeeper or find the best watch bands, consider reading through as I provide you an overall outlook into watch bands – materials, styles, and finding one that fits your treasured watch.

Types of Watch Bands based on the Materials

With the overwhelming amount of different types of watch bands out there, it’s best first to differentiate them by material. Choosing the right material means you are wearing a watch that is not only stylish but also comfortable.

Metal Bracelets

First on the list are metal bracelets. Commonly made from stainless steel, metal bracelets for watch bands are a reliable choice serving a multitude of styles.


The next types of watch bands are made out of canvas. This particular material is a good choice for when you’re looking for something affordable. Not to worry, there’s a variety of styles to choose from.

Consider the Maryland – Honey – Vintage Canvas by RIOS Vintage Leather. Its handmade construction gives each piece a unique feel. Supporting at the back is a line of genuine leather made for comfortable wear. With a lug width choice of 20mm/20mm and 114/82 length excluding buckle, this strap is your go-to for an antique look.

Leather Watch Bands

Another common material watch of the strap is leather. The texture gives off a luxurious style fitting for formal events and romantic date nights. Do be aware that the material does perspire, refrain from using leather in hot summers and humid weather to avoid leaving a mark on your wrist. 

A fan of Seiko? You can opt for a more classy look by pairing your Seiko watch of the Alpinist series/Presage/Prospex model with a Seiko Vintage Calf Leather Strap – Navy Blue featuring a deployant clasp. 

Silicone Watch Bands

Silicone watch bands offer a lighter feel than rubber. It’s also the perfect material for casual and sporty events. Do be aware that the material is prone to cracking, hence cleaning often will make sure that the remaining adhesives are cleaned.

Rubber Watch Bands

In comparison to silicone watch bands, rubber is more durable and resilient to salt water and sweat. Albeit the comparison, look no further than silicone and rubber material for a trusty companion your watch will have for days where you’re doing lots of sports and highly physical activities.

Check out Ref. 306 Pepper Red Classic Rubber by Bonetto Rubber Strap for a clean, spirited look. Featuring Italian natural rubber, its construction is strong, durable, and water-resistant. It comes in 20mm lug width, 18mm buckle width, and an 80/120mm length.

Sailcloth Watch Bands

As the name implies, this strap is made from the textile material with which boating sails were woven. It was only a matter of time before the men out on sea chose to expand the use of the material for their treasured watch.

Nylon Watch Bands

As an alternative material for the hot summer month than wearing leather, choose nylon. NATO, Zulu, and Perlon watch bands are famously known for their use of material that’s not only durable but also stylishly preparing you for the outdoor heat.

See also: 9 Best Outdoor Watches for the Bold and Adventurous Soul

How to Choose the Types of Watch Bands for Your Watch

Now that you know the varying materials of watch bands out there, get to know how to choose one that fits your watch. Below are some helpful tips to note when looking around for your next watch strap:

  • The right size. Measure the width between your watch lugs ensuring the bands fit.
  • Material. Consider the materiality of the strap: does it fit your need for the watch?
  • Prepare the tools. Get a spring bar tool to help switch your watch bands.
  • Confirm hardware. Recheck to confirm you get all the pieces needed.

Types of Watch Bands based on the Style

After reviewing the materials and how to find the right fit, I will share the types of watch bands available. You will find that some types use the same materials but with a different design. Pick one that stylishly fits your needs.

Oyster Bracelet

Types of Watch Strap: Glycine Strap Combat Sub 42 Steel Bracelet – 22mm

Pioneered by Rolex in the 1930s, this classic stainless steel bracelet style features a long and thick three-piece link design. Its wide center bar makes the strap strong and less prone to stretching

This Combat Sub 42 Steel Bracelet by Glycine Straps is of perfect function and elevates your style. With a 22mm or 20 mm lug width and 3.8mm thick, the strap is a perfect match for your watch.


The NATO watch strap goes back to the military days. Its nylon construction features a secondary strap around the back ensuring the safety of your watch. The material is easy to clean and perfect for the summer weather. A durable option.

The Bally Big Stripes NATO G10 Military Nylon Strap in Tan/Red is a perfect choice for the beach season. It comes in 20mm or 22mm lug width size and runs up to 280m long.

See also: How to Size a Metal Bracelet Vol. 1: Screw-in-Links


Similar to NATO, Perlon watch bands are of nylon construction. The difference lies in the details of braided patterning creating a very stylish look. This detail is also believed to aid in airflow, perfect for summer weather and or the humidity.

Jubilee Bracelet

Types of Watch Straps: Steinhart Bracelet Jubilee for Ocean One – 22mm

Another style revolutionized by Rolex, this 1945 born strap consists of three narrow, highly polished links situated between the thick, matte-finished side links. Although its small links make it prone to stretching, technologies of the current age solved this issue to only be seen on older models.

Fancy a Jubilee Bracelet? Check the Steinhart Bracelet Jubilee for Ocean One. It’s the perfect mate for Steinhart Ocean 1 and Ocean 44 models. Furthermore, the package includes screwed band links and two different adaptors. Exquisitely beautiful.


Zulu is another similar style to NATO with thicker material meaning more strength and durability. This style is also larger and more rounded. Choose a Zulu strap for your large watches then you’re good to go. Do take some time to let it break-in. 


Types of Watch Strap: Nature – Cognac

Inspired by the German air force of World War II, this style has a strong militaristic feel with the large rivets below the lugs of the leather strap. Albeit the nil functionality of the rivets, they do offer an interesting aesthetic and background story. 

The related backstory imparts a strong association of the strap with pilot watches but they do work well with chronographs.

Although without the rivets, have a look at the Nature – Cognac strap by RIOS Pilot Strap. With lug width choice of 22mm/20mm and length of 114/82. Featuring genuine calf leather with stitching details prominent of the aviator style the result is a strap of comfortable wear – whatever your needs.


Its function in the past was as armor for pilots in case of fire. The extra padding layer for the back of the case prevents burning skin from the melted metal. On the opposite end, the bund strap also functions in very low, freezing temperatures where the layer can block the metal to freeze into the skin. 

The materiality creates a strong function in absorbing perspiration. Its enormous size and warmth may make it unsuitable for summer use. Do check that your watch fits in proportion with the Bund strap to emulate a balanced look.


Consensually derived from Seiko watches, the Engineer bracelet supports a large watch presence. The size can initially feel daunting on your wrist, do expect to feel wrist fatigue when starting to wear them. Make your large watches known by accessorizing with the Engineer watch strap.

Now that you know the different styles and types of watch bands out there, it’s time to experiment! Start slow – if you’re used to jubilee bracelet watch bands or the oyster bracelet watch strap that’s moderately sized, consider going for the engineer watch strap to make your watch presence known. At the end of the day, the best watch bands are those that suit your style well. 

Find out more articles about watches and dig deeper into the world of horology at our blog. Other way, visit our social media on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Let’s have a little chat about our collections there!

You might also like: The Best Leather Watch Straps to Complete Your Collection

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