Watch Strap Styles 101: A Quick Guide

Most people get confused when it comes to picking a watch strap. They get confused between material type and style. Just selecting the material type for a watch strap isn’t enough, it’s true that material type should be picked first and then the style will follow depending on the material.

A strap makes up half of the watch and it is essential to pop up the aesthetics of the watch. Having the same dial and casing and switching the straps will let you experiment with a range of styles. The strap is what is more visible to an observer so therefore having a couple of extra straps will make even the tiniest watch collection appear enormous. The best part is that watch straps are much cheaper than purchasing a full watch.

Below are some of the most common type of strap styles.

NATO Strap

The NATO strap or the “G10” as it commonly known can be traced all the way back to World War 2. It was quite popular in the military a gradually the public grew fond of it too. They were initially sold in military surplus stores with a unique NATO surplus number on them.

One of the most unique features of a NATO strap is the fact that it’s single piece construction while most of the other straps have two separate pieces. However, the same sizes still apply to NATO straps meaning you can find a 24 or 22mm watch band.

They are also considerably cheaper than most of the other straps on this list.

Zulu Straps

Unlike NATO straps that seems to have a rich history, Zulu bands don’t have an extensive background. They are however inspired by NATO straps.

The first and most obvious difference is that ZULU bands are made of thicket materials when compared to NATO straps and to adjust to this increased thickness they have bigger hardware. So, Zulu straps are better suited for large watch dials and casings while NATO straps are perfect for small watches.

Rally Straps

This kind of watch strap is inspired from vintage racing gloves. They can be distinctively identified by the large perforations on the strap. The large perforations are made to reduce weight, and this inspired by old school race cars that had holes drilled in them so that the weigh less. They can also increase breathability.

Rally Straps are perfect for vintage chronographs and is the ideal choice during summers.

Oyster Straps

The Oyster strap was initially introduced by Rolex and is considered an absolute classic strap. The notable feature of this strap is the thick and long three-piece link design and is the most common strap style in the market today.

More than the aesthetics this strap is worn for its functionality. The strap is extremely durable and has a fewer number of break points due to its strong linkages.

However, the strap can feel a bit stiff and is also ore expensive than most of the straps.

These are some of the most common watch style being used nowadays. However, there are plenty of other styles out there like President, Aviator, Engineer, Jubilee, Shark Mesh, Bund, Milanese, Perlin, Tropic, and Double Ridge. Pick the right style depending on the material you prefer and the size of your watch.

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