The band of a watch is an underrated component of the timepiece, far too-often seen as an afterthought or accessory. Okay, that’s true to a point. The band doesn’t tell the time like the face, or provide extra function like the bezel, but it does serve the critical function of anchoring your watch to your wrist. Thus there’s an art and a little science to the varying kinds of watch bands, the most common of which are listed as follows:
The most casual and typically least-expensive of all common watch bands, canvas is highly breathable and thus ideal for folks spending most of their time outdoors. It’s also a good choice if the watch wearer expects to get wet but doesn’t plan on spending a lot of time in the water. However canvas bands break easily, especially when caught on something.
Pure black or brown leather bands speak strictly to our business sense. Adding a little contrasting stitchwork is a common way to turn leather bands into something which can be worn in a little more casual of surroundings. Less a band style in and of itself, and more a feature found on many, but not all, leather and canvas bands.
Photo: Weston Watch Straps
Leather bands come in many styles – double ridged being one of the more popular variances. Its signature is an impression running vertically through the band, often times getting smaller before stopping just before the buckle. Designers originally sought to make the leather band more appealing to athletes, although it’s unclear whether they succeeded in this endeavor. Still a good spin on an otherwise mostly boring band.
One of the fancier watch band styles by far, embossed “crock-croc” patterns have been imprinted onto leather and fake-leather watch bands for decades. It’s synonymous with the fashion genre some call “casual luxury” – indeed the pattern is hard to call ugly but not fancy either – faux-croc pattern bands can be worn at cocktail parties or on fishing trips.
The most popular of watch bands and also the most diverse, metal links and bracelets are clearly what you want with a gorgeous high-end time piece. Whether stainless steel, gold, titanium, or platinum, the nifty design allows for wearers to easily adjust for wrist size to make the watch look tailor-made.
Made from nylon, NATO-style bands, also known as ZULU-style bands, are recognized by the looping watch keeper strap and thinness relative to canvas and leather bands. Commonly found with a contrasting stripe running vertically through the fabric.
Photo: Weston Watch Straps
Rally bands have a distinct series of holes on the leather strap opposite the buckle-holes side. Usually it’s three holes of increasing size as they approach the end of the band. Meant for improved breathability, so they say.
Only canvas is more casual. Rubber bands have the advantage of being able to be molded into an endless sequence of ridge and dip patterns, but break easily.
The watch band takes a backseat to the other components of a good wrist-bound timepiece. Perhaps rightfully so. However don’t deny this seemingly least-important part of the watch the attention it deserves. Know the difference between bands – some have function, others simply look different to be different. Regardless, watch bands provide an opportunity to make an old watch look new again.