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Types of watch straps

April 13, 2023 5 min read

Types of watch straps

Whether you are adding a new watch to your collection or giving a new look to your most used piece, the role of the strap in a watch should not be overlooked.

Types of watch straps

Depending on how you are going to use it, the budget you have available and the designs that most catch your eye, one type of strap or another will be more suitable. We will divide the strap types according to the material they are made of, so you will be able to find the best option for each occasion.


Traditionally most watch straps are made of leather. This makes them today a classic and elegant choice. The most commercially available are synthetic leather straps, or genuine calfskin.

Other options range from vegan leather to more exotic genuine leather: crocodile, shark, snake or even stingray. For this reason, they are almost always available in black and brown, although there are some models in blue or red. Moreover, depending on the type of leather chosen and its thickness, these straps are more or less flexible, comfortable and pleasant to wear.

They usually have a buckle fastening, or a butterfly clasp, which is more comfortable and elegant; and they can usually be found in two styles: The more traditional strap is more subtle and thinner, which makes it more comfortable. On the other hand, there is the vintage style, usually more rustic and thicker. In addition, within the leather there are recognisable designs, such as Rally, Aviator or Bund.

Due to the nature of leather straps, they do not tolerate contact with water well, although some have a water-repellent treatment to increase their resistance. As a result, these straps are the least durable, and while they can be extended depending on quality and care, they will need to be replaced more regularly. In either option, these straps bring style to any type of watch and subtle personality.

Glycine, Leather Strap, 20 mm, Brown, Buckle

Glycine, Leather Strap, 20 mm


Straps made of rubber, or other plastic material, are often seen on sports watches. They can be made from plastics, or from natural rubber combined with other synthetic products. And while all of them are noted for their resistance, the latter are even more so.

Because of this durability, most sports watches use these straps, being "all-terrain" and suitable for intensive use. For example, they are a great option for diver watches, as they are also water resistant without any problems.

They are also a great choice for casual wear, as they are available in a multitude of colours, making it easy to adapt the look of the watch to your everyday style. In addition to their comfort, flexibility and light weight. They are available with a buckle or folding clasp.

Jacob & Co, Rubber, Black, Buckle

Jacob & Co, Rubber, Black, Buckle


Metal straps can be made of different materials such as titanium or gold. However, stainless steel is the metal strap par excellence. It is a very versatile design, which makes it perfect for special occasions as well as for everyday wear, with a quick release clasp that is easy to put on and take off.

It is a strap of great strength and durability due to its material, although this makes it less flexible and heavier. There is a choice of different finishes: polished, matt or shiny. Although the colour is limited to a traditional range, as the external PVD coatings to apply a colour to steel can be damaged by colognes, sweat or shocks.

In addition, a metal watch band is usually fitted specifically to its owner, not fitting on another wrist. This is facilitated by its links and by the automatic clasp with pushers or butterfly clasp.

Maserati Competizione Quartz Watch, Blue

U-Boat Steel bracelet, Silver, 22mm


In turn, the Milanese mesh is one of the metal straps par excellence. With its links arranged in a sort of dense metal mesh, they are chain-like but smaller in size. It is reminiscent of the style of chain mail used for protection in ancient battles.

It has a very distinctive look, is comfortable to wear and soft to the touch, as well as being one of the lightest in metal. It is a perfect choice for both dress watches and diver's watches, given its high strength and elegance.

It is recommended to keep in mind that thin links are more suitable for dials below 40mm. The clasp of these is usually on a carriage or pushers or magnet, but always tends to be discreet.

Since it is made of braided steel wires, if one of them breaks, the repair is more complex than in other models.

U-Boat Accesorios Strap, Milanese IPB

U-Boat Strap, Milanese IPB Steel Mesh, 18 mm


Fabric or nylon watch bands are characterised by their versatility, allowing for total makeovers of your watch. They are available in a wide range of designs and colours, and provide a more casual, everyday look.

Despite what it may seem, it is a resistant material, not forgetting that straps to hold heavy goods are usually made of this material. They are also very affordable.

Among the fabric leashes we will talk about the most sought after: Nato and Zulu.



These are traditionally sliding straps made of synthetic fibres such as nylon. They are found in the casual collections of many brands, although they are best combined in smaller models.

Practical straps made of a single piece of fabric, which slips under the watch's fastening springs without having to be removed. This makes them easy to exchange quickly, which together with the availability of many different designs and colours, makes them a perfect everyday watch strap for the fashion-conscious.

Although they were originally used by the military, after the end of the cold war they were marketed to the general public and have become very popular. This is because they are quite affordable, and have a more effective fastening than other straps, fitting snugly around the wrist. However, it should be noted that they are not recommended for sports or contact with water.

Briston Clubmaster Classic Quartz Watch

Briston Clubmaster Classic, Blue, 40 mm


While the Zulu straps are similar in style to the Nato straps, there are key differences. Both are made from nylon, but the Zulu type is thicker than the Nato. This model of webbing strap was originally intended for professional divers, which translates into greater simplicity and strength.

Zulu straps tend to go better with larger watches, as they have thicker oval metal pins than Nato straps, which in turn makes them very strong and durable. They also require sufficient space under the fastening bars, so they are not recommended for use with small watches.


Here you can also find another article on the different types of strap fastenings, and another one on how to change a watch strap.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our team, we will be happy to help you!

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