Do you need a replacement strap for your wristwatch? Or do you want to give your watch an entirely new look?
Watch manufacturers make very good OEM watch straps, and in some cases they even outsource the job to leather experts such as Santoni (IWC), Fagliano (Jaeger-LeCoultre) and Hermes (Hermes, Parmigiani Fleurier) — to offer customers more options. However, if the manufacturer doesn’t have the look you are going for, or if you want something more affordable — we highly recommend buying online. A number of new stores have popped up online in recent years, making it easier than ever to get the perfect strap, without having to go to a brick and mortar store.
One problem with buying straps at physical stores, is a lack of selection. And even if you do find a strap you like, chances are they don’t have it in your size. Online stores have a better assortment of colors, styles, materials and sizes to choose from. Judging from the selection and strap displays at some of the retailers we have visited, watch straps seem like more of an afterthought. No problem, as there are many good places online that are dedicated to selling straps. word&wound, for example, designs their own straps, procures high quality leathers (like the Worn&Wound Model 1 Horween – Crimson $89 – pictured above), and makes them right here in the United States — all at reasonable prices — shipped directly to you.
We spoke with New York based strap seller, worn&wound, co-Founder, Zach Weiss, about the wristwatch strap business and here is what he had to say “Today, there are a lot of great options for straps at all price levels, ranging from very affordable Chinese-made, to hand-crafted one off pieces, which are naturally very expensive.
The goal of the worn&wound shop has always been to produce unique, high-quality, affordable products in the United States, and thus far the response to our work has been great. Starting with sketches, we work closely with our manufacturers, sampling and iterating, and we source our materials from only the best providers, such as Horween Leather, with an eye for colors and finishes that give our goods distinct but classic character. We think this combination of original, high-quality design, American manufacturing and affordability is what really makes our products stand out.”
When buying a strap it is important to know a few things before you start looking “know your lug width and your personal wrist size before strap shopping, so you know what to look for,” says Thomas Lathrop of CrownandBuckle. Typical lug widths are: 16 mm, 18 mm, 19 mm, 20 mm, 22 mm, 24 mm. Typical strap lengths are 6-8 inches.
Straps are often made of leather, such as: calfskin, deerskin, alligator and crocodile. There are also a number of textile straps, made from materials such as Cordura, canvas or Kevlar. The most affordable of all straps, is the nylon Nato, available in a wide variety of colors, usually at a cost of less than twenty bucks. Rubber straps often quite cheap as well, like Natos, they are great if you plan to wear your watch in the water.
While nylon Nato straps are cheap, if you like the styling but want something more premium, leather Nato straps are now available at multiple e-stores such as: worn&wound, Bulang & Sons and CrownandBuckle. If you want something a little more custom, TheStrapSmith and StoneCreekStraps are two good choices. Four more strap stores we like are: GlobalWatchBand, Panatime, Bas & Lokes and Rios 1931.
While this list is not all inclusive, we believe these sites will offer you some of the best watch strap choices currently available.