Fashion Timepiece

10 Watch Bands to Personalize Your Timepiece for Any Occasion

10 watch bands Cavalier Goods

We embrace change — especially when it comes to watch straps. We believe that timepiece wristbands should be swapped out to suit the season, a specific social event, or just because we feel like it. Sometimes we need a bracelet that is robust and reliable. Other times we want to wrap our wrists in luxury. And while not all straps suit every watch, occasion, or wearer, our picks for this list of 10 watch bands can help you build the perfect watch strap wardrobe, from classic Rally straps to lightweight NATO bands to everything in between.

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Tudor Fabric Strap

Tudor Fabric Strap

Fabric watch straps offer the most flexibility for your dollar. Not only do they come in a variety of styles (though there is that) but they’re also remarkably comfortable. They’re a little more casual than leather or metal bracelets, but a fabric band can still add an extra panache to military-style models. For a brand like Tudor, a fabric strap is a big part of its identity. Take the new Ranger, which launched last month. It comes with three bracelet options: olive-green Jacquard fabric with red and beige stripes, hybrid rubber and leather, or a 316L steel so you can customise this tool watch for almost any occasion.

NATO Fabric Strap

NATO Fabric Strap

A NATO is a one-piece, lightweight fabric watch strap originally designed by the British Ministry of Defence in 1973. Often woven with colourful stripes, these nylon straps are now standard issue with many new tool watches. We also love NATOs because you can swap them out without a spring tool and they are pretty much the easiest way to update a vintage dive watch.  We especially love these graphic NATOs from cult brand Rowing Blazers. Buy a bunch to match your coastal chic khakis and polos.

Perlon Braided Nylon Strap

Perlon Braided Nylon Strap

Perhaps the perfect hot weather watchband, Perlon is made by braiding little nylon loops into a breathable, flexible strip. The texture is closer in look to a Milanese mesh making it a summery alternative to leather or metal for more formal timepieces in the summer. Perlon also comes in an array of shades, making rebanding an easy way to take advantage of the trend for more colourful watches. The Hodinkee shop has a great selection.    

Synchron Rubber Straps

Synchron Rubber Straps

The next step up in straps is rubber. While originally designed for dive watches, a good rubber strap is great for landlubbers as well. Most are hypoallergenic and they are the simplest strap material to clean (if you perspire profusely during workouts, you will appreciate this simple fact). When it comes to manmade, there are two types: rubber and silicone. Silicone is generally more supple, while rubber is seen as more durable. Silicone is more affordable, while a high-end rubber strap can cost over $100. While synthetic straps can be embossed to look like fabric or even leather, they are still best matched with sports watches. That’s not a bad thing – styles like the Tropic, which debuted in 1960 and is still produced by Synchron today, have become classics in their own right.

Cavalier Goods

Cavalier Goods

If you want to reinvent a favourite timepiece, a new leather (or plant-based alternative) watch band is your best investment. For a more formal watch, a band embossed with a reptile pattern immediately makes it look more luxurious. A soft suede strap is a great option for transitioning from summer to fall. Also, consider colour when choosing a leather strap for your fancy watch. Why not express yourself with a bunch of different shades? Try pairing a blue dial with a blue strap for when you are feeling matchy matchy, then a contrasting tan band for when you want that watch to pop. Canadian-made Cavalier Goods makes bespoke, fully lined leather straps in a spectrum of hues to best suit your beloved timepiece. They are also quick-release bands, meaning you don’t need to visit a jeweller to quickly change your outfit.

Analog:Shift Rally Leather Strap

Analog:Shift Rally Leather Strap

Leather can also look a little more rugged. Want a band that will make your chronograph even racier? The “racing” or “rally” strap is usually made of leather and punched with holes. This style dates back to the 1970s and the holey pattern was inspired by weight-reducing perforations in race car chassis. Needless to say, the rally strap is a good way to rev up any chronograph. Like a high-end watch, it’s the level of detail that makes the difference between cheap looking and luxurious. The best rallys – like this Italian-made strap from Analog: Shift – are reinforced with top-stitched leather.

The Bund Leather Strap

The Bund Leather Strap

If you choose to opt for a more macho strap, consider a band like the one Brad Pitt wore with his vintage Citizen Chronograph in the film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. These straps feature a protective leather layer between the wrist and the watch. The Bund is a great all-weather band because it protects the mechanism from extremes of hot and cold.Given its rugged aesthetic, it only looks better the more worn-in it gets. 

The 1970s vibe of this Cordovan strap from Hodinkee makes it a perfect complement for your favourite vintage watch.

Strapsco Metal Strap

Strapsco Metal Strap

From stainless steel to solid gold, metal bracelets are the ne plus ultra of wristbands. That’s why the price of a new watch with a metal bracelet can be thousands of dollars higher than one with a leather strap. There are many styles of bracelets, including the very popular multi-link Jubilee. These flexible bracelets feature as many as 250 individually brushed or polished surfaces. That level of artistry elevates any timepiece from a time-only dress watch to a more complicated chronograph.  Most manufacturers offer their own signed metal bracelets and we strongly urge you to match the band to the brand if you can. But if you have an older heirloom, Strapsco can set you up with the next best thing.

Swatch or Hamilton Mesh Strap

Swatch or Hamilton Mesh Strap

Mesh, Milanese, and Grains of Rice: these multi mini link wrist bands make any watch feel more elegant. For example, swap out the resin strap on your Swatch for a stainless steel mesh bracelet and you have the perfect timepiece for a night out on the town (and Swatch straps come with an easy change tool to make switching from day to night super simple).

The timepiece brand Hamilton offers more upscale stainless steel mesh bracelets to upgrade your favourite watch. These bands also feature sturdy deployant buckles to ensure that your timepiece is securely fastened no matter what social situation you find yourself in.

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