THE BAND­WAGON

There’s noth­ing hum­ble about the watch strap or bracelet – they’re ev­ery bit as es­sen­tial as the move­ment they hold.

The Peak (Singapore) - - Contents - TEXT CHARMIAN LEONG

There’s noth­ing hum­ble about the watch strap or bracelet – they’re ev­ery bit as es­sen­tial as the move­ment they hold.

Watch straps don’t typ­i­cally get much ink, but this cer­tainly isn’t re­flec­tive of their role in the realm of horo­log­i­cal ap­pre­ci­a­tion. You can’t look at a watch with­out look­ing at the part that’s go­ing to keep it on your wrist, and chang­ing the strap can give the ac­ces­sory – yes, it is ul­ti­mately still an ac­ces­sory – an en­tirely dif­fer­ent look and feel.

Ev­ery­one loves va­ri­ety, and brands are catch­ing on. Some of them aren’t just rolling out mul­ti­ple ad­di­tional bands ( like Pan­erai did with 11 new al­li­ga­tor straps in 2014), but mak­ing them re­mark­ably sim­ple to switch at home, tools not re­quired. Stylish women’s mod­els like Bul­gari’s Ser­penti and Hublot’s colour­ful Big Bang Pop Art One Click are among the early adopters, but this trend isn’t just for the ladies. Jaeger-LeCoul­tre’s Ate­lier Rev­erso cus­tomi­sa­tion pro­gramme lets clients choose their Rev­erso straps, while Vacheron Con­stantin’s Over­seas mas­cu­line mod­els come with three bands – me­tal bracelet, leather strap and rub­ber strap. All held in place, again, by mech­a­nisms de­signed for easy fit­ting and re­moval.

And they can’t just look good; they have to be com­fort­able. This is es­pe­cially true for me­tal bracelets, as links have to be care­fully en­gi­neered to rest per­fectly on your skin. That doesn’t mean mak­ers of leather straps have it easy. An Her­mes watch strap, which is made from the same leather as its bags, goes through a 12-step process. IWC and Roger Dubuis have turned to shoe­mak­ers San­toni and Mas­saro re­spec­tively for leather and unique de­signs. Even the work­horse rub­ber strap has been taken to the next level – Hublot, for one, has jazzed up its ver­sions by com­bin­ing rub­ber with un­likely ma­te­ri­als like denim and leather.

The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less, but here’s a primer on what’s out there.

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