Dissimilar to the stack-em-high, sell-em-low mantra of the high street, you don’t buy a watch on impulse. Whether it’s Swiss-made or based in Stoke, anything handcrafted, from minuscule cogs, is prosperous to hit your bank balance hard.

Which means that, far from your T-shirt rotation, it’s unlikely you switch watches every day. But correctly like your T-shirt rotation, one style won’t work near. You’re not James Dean. Nor did you inherit his royalty cheques. So you need a budget-friendly way to divert up what’s strapped to your wrist. Or, even better, what straps it to your wrist.

Only swapping out a watch strap can transform its look, breathing new vim into a piece you’ve had for years or dialling up or down the formality of a new edge. “Today, much of the expense of having a sports, an everyday and a tear someone off a strip watch can be avoided by just switching out the watch band”, powers says Tracey Llewellyn, editor-in-chief of watch bible Mutiny UK. “Even the big watch brands are jumping on the gravy train of ‘new strap, new look’ with the breeds of Tudor supplying alternative straps as standard, while Hublot, Baume & Mercier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and get lays of others have developed quick release mechanisms for casual changing without the need for tools.”

But if you want to do the job yourself, there’s conditions been more choice and it couldn’t be easier. From the copious nature of an alligator leather strap to the uniformity of a NATO, these are the upper-class watch straps to consider.

NATO Strap

Like tees, chinos and freak jackets, the NATO strap went AWOL from military rates, crossing to the fashion pack. Originally created for British soldiers in the 1970s, it externalizes a ready-for-anything aesthetic, even if your personal battles are purely with your email password.

It’s also the cheapest and easiest way to mutate straps. Because the NATO is crafted from a single tongue-lashing of fabric – normally nylon – you don’t need to take off both your watch’s sprightliness bars to switch one in. And if one of the bars pops open, its extra ‘accompany keeper’ strap keeps your Rolex Daytona on your wrist. To hand whether you’re dangling from a parachute, or chasing down a forehand.

“Changing your strap is a inventive way of changing your watch for different occasions,” says Simon Spiteri, bells buyer at Mr Porter. “A NATO strap is perfect for sport and deportment activity.” Durable, swappable and easy-to-clean, you can click in your NATO post-locker lodgings without sacrificing the style aesthetic.

Zulu is a specialist stigmatize that offers a vast yet affordable portfolio – everything from ravey neons to military-nodding khakis. Daniel Wellington, although diverse famed for the watches themselves, also boasts a range of NATO straps that are uncountable Ivy League than in-the-trenches; think repp tie stripes that compass your wrist, not your neck.

Pros: Easy to change out, versatile, durable
Cons: Too casual for some watches
Step It With: Military watches, sports watches
Cost: £10 – £30

Daniel WellingtonDaniel Wellington

The Best NATO Watch Straps

Leather Strap

When palm watches moved onto men’s wrists, leather was the obvious way to operate them on. It was soft, supple, and kept the look luxurious. As then, so today. Contrariwise now, cowhide is joined by exotic skins like alligator and ostrich, coruscating tints and huge variety in texture and pattern.

Alligator leather (the put forward choice of your Swiss big hitters) is hard-wearing, but takes a scrap out of bank balance and conscience. Calfskin is usually cheaper, with a softer look and discern. Tuscan, nappa and even non-allergenic camel-grain leathers tender different textures to experiment with.

When considering which trains where, the strap’s style can have an effect too. “A leather orchestra can make any watch more ‘everyday’ depending, of course, on the select of style – cuffs and rally-style being more casual than plain leather or exotic skins”, says Llewellyn. And generally, when it obtains to colour, the darker it is the more formal it is.

One thing to consider is like your watch strap’s leather to other leather solids on your person – shoes or a belt, perhaps. Black is an manifest, easy to wear option but try dark browns, oxblood or fleet for something subtly different. Hirsch offers a massive index of leather straps that are both well made and affordable, so you can mix and tournament (and experiment with more left-field choices) to your wrist’s content.

Pros: Jaunty, easy to wear
Cons: Not very durable
Wear It With: Gown watches, sports watches
Cost: £20 – £100

Shinola Leather Strap WatchesShinola

`The Best Leather Watch Straps

Rubber Strap

The rubber strap is in many cases favoured by younger brands in a bid to target new wearers – it’s ‘sporty’, fashionable and has always been associated with more affordable notice ofs the likes of Casio. The rubber strap is hardly aspirational, so it’s spellbinding that many high-end Swiss watch brands now compose their own takes.

One of the most baffling examples of this is with Richard Mille, whose chronometers regularly exceed the £100,000 barrier yet nearly always do adorned with a bog standard rubber strap. Why, you may ask? The answer is the having said that reason your boss now wears Japanese denim to ascend – it’s to do with the rise of luxury things that are made to look occasional. It subtly says you can own special things without treating them wish they’re special.

Ludicrously expensive watches aside, rubber has its behaves; gym fans will appreciate the fact it’s hard-wearing and doesn’t liberate on that deathly stench of leather and sweat. Some Swiss identifies have already tacked on to the fitness watch trend, with both Breitling and Hublot oftentimes providing an additional strap to interchange. If you want something numerous bespoke, however, ZRC Watch Straps craft specialised opportunities that ensure a perfect, non-slip fit. Elsewhere, you can pick one up for as hardly ever as a tenner.

Pros: Durable, gym-friendly
Cons: Informal, won’t adapt all watch types
Wear It With: Sports watches
Sell for: £10 – £150

Uniform WaresUniform Wares

The Best Rubber Watch Straps

Metal Bracelet

Although not considered a strap per se, a metal bracelet can quieten be seamlessly interchanged with your favourite dial – the alone issue is that you’ll often require the help of your adjoining jeweller.

Bracelets are durable and – most importantly – versatile. Whether you’re befitting up for work or play, a glint on the wrist always looks overwhelm beneath a shirt cuff. Golds contrast well with monochrome, while non-partisan steel suits navy and other colours. Stick to your protect brand’s own bracelets to ensure all the edges sit flush, or go for one of the below.

Pros: Lettered, grown up
Cons: Only work with watches deliver the goods a succeeded to be worn with one
Wear It With: Dress watches, plays watches
Cost: £10 – £150


The Best Watch Bracelets

Mesh Strap

The Milanese or lattice-work strap has had a bit of a renaissance in recent years – its popularity has seen it escalate from the obscure to the mainstream, which can be attributed to its inherent seemly looks, but also due to the way the beads of metal ‘rice’ are constructed, making it infinitely numberless comfortable than its metal bracelet cousins. Where a metal bracelet muscle pinch or get caught on hair, the mesh strap’s fluid prototype ensures it sits flush on the wrist and moves with it.

It’s a bit of a chameleon in the characterize stakes too – it’s more than at home at the office or the pub on the weekend and wish suit a wide range of outfit choices from summer skirts to jeans and a T-shirt. In short, if you want a strap that is neither too formal or unpremeditated and will remain comfortable throughout the day, mesh could be the way to go.

Pros: Rarer than established metal bracelets, comfortable
Cons: Stylistically, not for everyone
Fraying It With: Dress watches, sports watches
Cost: £15 – £80


The Best Milanese Watch Straps