THE STRAP

World of Watches (Singapore) - - Features -

The at­ten­tion that’s lav­ished onto a time­piece, down to the last screw, usu­ally leaves lit­tle love for its strap. Yet, as the in­ter­face be­tween watch and wrist, the strap per­forms a vi­tal func­tion, and can make or break the wearer’s ex­pe­ri­ence. Ideally, the per­fect sports chronograph will be paired with a strap that’s com­fort­able, ro­bust, and also con­ve­nient to wear and ad­just. Nat­u­rally, these re­quire­ments pre­clude a dressy leather strap, but what of the other op­tions out there?

The Op­tions

The ev­er­green choice for a sporty watch, chronograph or not, is a metal bracelet. Whether ren­dered in steel or ti­ta­nium, a well-made bracelet stands up to abuse well, and main­tains a pres­ence on the wrist with some re­as­sur­ing heft. Many bracelets also fea­ture fine ad­just­ment clasps, which al­lows the bracelet to be sized even more pre­cisely for a wrist af­ter adding or re­mov­ing links. Since it doesn’t re­quire a tool, such a clasp also al­lows the bracelet’s fit to be changed out in the field, which is per­fect for im­promptu ad­just­ments when wear­ing the watch over clothes like a wind­breaker, for in­stance. The rub­ber strap is an­other pop­u­lar op­tion, thanks to its light­weight, wa­ter­proof, and hy­poal­ler­genic (when made with syn­thetic ma­te­ri­als) prop­er­ties. Out of all the avail­able choices, Rolex’s Oys­ter­flex prob­a­bly takes the cake – it has an in­ter­nal skele­ton of nickel ti­ta­nium that makes it un­break­able, yet main­tains the sup­ple feel of a rub­ber strap with all the ad­van­tages de­scribed. A third pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tive is the NATO strap. Usu­ally wo­ven from nylon or an equiv­a­lent ma­te­rial, it has a sec­tion with two lay­ers, and is fas­tened to the wrist via a series of rings and a reg­u­lar ardil­lon buckle. Com­pared to the bracelet and rub­ber strap, it has two ben­e­fits – it can be swapped with­out any tools, and it keeps the watch on the wrist even if a spring­bar were to fail.

|| THE VER­DICT ||

Eas­ily re­place­able and ca­pa­ble of keep­ing a watch at­tached should a spring­bar breaks, the NATO strap is a clear win­ner. Brands like Tu­dor of­fers some of their time­pieces with NATO straps, while myr­iad af­ter­mar­ket op­tions are also avail­able. The ic­ing on the cake is its cost – NATO straps, even pre­mium ones, are rel­a­tively cheap.

Top: Rolex’s Glide­lock fine ad­just­ment sys­tem Be­low: Rolex Oys­ter Per­pet­ual Yacht-master 40 with Oys­ter­flex bracelet

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