Edward Howkins, Jul 22 2022

4 Of The Best Watch Strap Styles For Summer 

4 Of The Best Watch Strap Styles For Summer 

At our in-person event in central London last night, one of our members asked: “what is the best strap to wear in the Summer?” At The Watch Collectors’ Club, we aim to help our members get the most out of their watches, and changing straps and bracelets is a fantastic way of changing the feel of a watch throughout the seasons. You can learn how to change a watch bracelet and how to change a watch strap on our website. 

What type of watch strap should you avoid in summer? 

Before we explore what type of watch strap you should wear in the summer, we willl first look at some strap types that are not very good to wear. The problem is that these are the two most popular strap types: leather and stainless steel. 

 Why are these very popular strap types bad for the summer? Well, there are two reasons, which are some of the best parts of the Summer: heat and water. Leather straps degrade really quickly when they get wet, either from sweat, or from sea or pool water. Your wrist expands in the heat, making the rigid size of a steel bracelet inadequate. If you’ve got a watch with a steel bracelet, you’ll probably have noticed that when you are hot, your watch feels tight! Read on to find out the type of straps and bracelets that work well in the summer. 

As summer-y as these Studio Underd0g watches look, their leather straps will not survive much water or sweat

As summer-y as these Studio Underd0g watches look, their leather straps will not survive much water or sweat

Nato watch straps

Nato watch straps have gained popularity over recent years. They are cheap nylon straps that are available in a wide variety of colours. They are waterproof, very strong, and really easy to attach to a watch. 

The name “Nato strap” is quite misleading. The strap was invented in 1973 for the British Ministry of Defence, and was called “Strap, Wrist Watch”. Armed forces personal could apply for this new strap by filling out a form and collecting it from their unit’s supply store. The first version was a simple grey colour. Over the years, the colours of individual military units were added as stripes down the middle of the strap, which has resulted in the wide variety of coloured nato straps today. They are made from nylon, and the way they attach to the watch ensures that even if one of the springbars breaks, then the strap remains attached to the watch. This short video shows you how to attach a nato strap.

Colourful nato strap on a Seiko diving watch

Colourful nato strap on a Seiko diving watch

Rubber watch straps 

Rubber watch straps started to appear in the 1950’s, and they were used as an alternative to steel bracelets on diving watches from brands like Rolex,Tudor and Blancpain. The rubber that is used on watch straps in not actually pure rubber. It has sulphur added to it, and is then vulcainised. This means it is heated and cooled to very precise temperatures during the manufacturing process. This makes the rubber much stronger, more water-proof and also freeze-proof, which a pure natural rubber strap is not. You can get rubber straps in a wide variety of styles and colours. They are very comfortable, practical, and can be cheap. 

This Rolex Yachtmaster looks amazing with a rubber strap

This Rolex Yachtmaster looks amazing with a rubber strap

Steel Mesh bracelets

If you are desperate to wear a steel bracelet in the summer, you should consider buying a steel mesh bracelet. This has a few advantages over a traditional steel bracelet with large links. The small gaps in the mesh bracelet allow it to expand a little bit if your wrist swells. Additionally, you can quickly adjust the size of the bracelet by opening the clasp with anything flat. This is unlike most steel bracelets, which need a special tool. 

This Breitling Superocean heritage is fitted with a mesh bracelet, which can flex and expand more than a regular steel bracelet

This Breitling Superocean heritage is fitted with a mesh bracelet, which can flex and expand more than a regular steel bracelet

Perlon watch straps

Perlon is a relatively unknown type of watch strap; however, it is becoming more popular each year. 

If you like the look of a steel mesh bracelet, but like the practically of a Nato or rubber strap, then Perlon is a strap type that you should explore.

It was invented in Germany in the 1950’s, and is constructed by interweaving strands of nylon in an intricate pattern. Unlike Nato straps, they dry very quickly when wet, and like rubber straps, they come in a wide variety of solid colours. 

A Perlon strap available from Baltic Watches

A Perlon strap available from Baltic Watches

Conclusion 

Changing your watch strap or bracelet is a great, cost-effective way of finding new enjoyment in your watches. The summer is a great time to experiment with different colours, patterns and materials. Hopefully this guide gives you some inspiration to go and explore a range of different straps for your watch, and the blogs linked at the top will show you how to change the strap and bracelets. 

Check out our events page to see what we are up to – you’ll be sure to see a wide range of straps at our in-person and virtual events (including the one this Sunday). 

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