When it comes to watchbands, bracelets or straps you've got options
Monday, 20 February 2012 06:17

When I find watches for people,  I get a lot of feedback that "I really like the watch, but not the band (or bracelet or whatever)." On it's own, that is rarely a huge problem. Of all the potential issues with a watch, the strap is the most easily and quickly fixed.

Just because you buy a watch on a particular band or strap doesn't mean you have to keep it on that strap. On most watches a strap is help in place, between the bits of the case that protrude out (called the lugs or the horns), by little bars called springbars. the key factor in determining the strap is the distance between these lugs. If you know this measurement it's really easy to find a replacement strap, if you do a quick google for say a, '20mm watch strap' you will find thousands and thousands of options. Same goes for if you walk into a jeweller.

Leather or other soft fabric straps are the easiest to fit to a watch, because their is some give in the material you can be pretty sure a strap of the right width will fit any watch. Metal watch bands can be a bit trickier because it doesn't give like fabric does. This isn't an issue when it comes to the width of a strap, but can be a factor when it comes to the relationship between the metal strap and the curvature of the case.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that a band or strap should never be a dealbreaker, if you really like a particular watch, but want it on a fluro green strap with purple stitching - totally doable. Whether it's in good taste is an entirely different matter.

The watch straps in the picture by the way, are from excellent Australian strap makers Bas & Lokes.



Why I like mechanical watches (they're the vinyl of the watches).
Tuesday, 06 December 2011 04:17


The overwhelming number of watches these days are of the battery operated kind – quartz watches.

I feel I should inform you, that if you’re considering my service and considering spending your hard earned dollars on a watch for you or that special someone I am unlikely to suggest quartz watches to you.

I like mechanical watches, both automatic and the type that need hand winding. I think this type of watches are interesting, special and (for me at least) have a small sense of wonder about them. Mechanical watches are tiny machines for your wrist, a compact assemblage of wheels and gears, all powered by a tiny spring that click in such a precise way as to tell you the time. Maybe I’m just a massive nerd when it comes to watches (no maybe about it to be honest), but I think that’s special, and what you really want in a watch – a significant purchase or gift is something special.

I’d also like to refute that a mechanical watch has to cost thousands and thousands of dollars, or be a rubbish fake watch. Both these ends of the spectrum exist, and yes it’s true that Swiss mechanical watches get very expensive very quickly, but you can definitely get really well made and quality automatic watches (even Swiss ones), for the same sort of prices that you’d pay for a ‘nice’ battery powered watch in a big department store. And for me, given that choice, I’ll go for the automatic watch, with it’s moving parts, every single time.

I guess what I really like about mechanical watches is that the wearer has a direct relationship with time.  If you don’t wear the watch, or wind the watch, it stops telling you the time. I find that required interaction very appealing; I guess it’s  a similar bunch of reasons why a lot of people prefer vinyl records to digital music.

There are a few cases where I will actively suggest that someone gets a battery powered quartz watch. If someone only wears a watch only occasionally a quartz watch has distinct advantages, or if someone has technical requirements (say in a digital ‘tool’ watch) quartz is often the only way to go. I’ll also suggest quartz if someone only has a limited budget – in that arena there really are watches with a price to value ratio that I find hard to justify in more expensive quartz watches (like those in the department store).  But I’ll usually advocate for and try and find you, a lovely mechanical watch, which will, with proper care, give you years and years of effective timekeeping joy.


Fabric watch straps: An introduction to NATO, nylon and ribbon straps
Sunday, 18 September 2011 13:20

If you've paid even the slightest attention to watches fashion magazines or style blogs in the last year or so you have probably noticed an increasing number of (often) brightly coloured fabric watch straps going around.


What are these straps? Where are they from? Why are they cool? Where can I get them?


Well, first of all they're nylon straps most commonly called 'ribbon' straps in more fashion-y magazines and NATO straps by more watchnerd-y types. Like so many objects of cultural cool these watch straps had their origins in the military. The term NATO is most popular because of the British Ministry of Defence has to give military issued equipment (which these straps are - though the MoD specified them only in battleship grey) an NSN, or NATO Stock Number. And the name NATO just kind of stuck. They're also called Bond straps (James Bond wore his Rolex Submariner on similar straps in early movies), Zulu straps (usually a heavier weight nylon) or any number of other military or manufacturer names.


These straps are designed for tough watch wearing environments; diving, battlefields and the like. The main advantage they have is that if one of the bars holding the strap to the watch fails (a common point of weakness) the watch will not fall off, as it is still held on by the other bar and the strap is a single piece of fabric, unlike most bands. This type of band are also popular because nylon is very hard wearing and comfortable in a range of climates.


Why are they cool? Well a few reasons really. Perhaps they first became cool with hard core watch types because it added some military/tacticool cred to their watch and wardrobe. Also they are available in a vast range of colours and (usually striped) patterns. The historical basis of these multicoloured striped straps is that they reflected the regimental colours of the soldiers who wore them. The bright fresh colours, combined with their low cost and fact that anyone can change these straps without the need for tools is really a recipe for mainstream success.


And where to get them? Well, if you buy them anywhere but the internet you're probably going to be ripped off. A quick google of 'NATO straps' should get you pointed in the right direction. The most important thing to know is how wide your strap needs to be (that's the width between the watch horns or lugs that hold the band in). Most nylon type straps sell for around $10 - $20, give or take.


Of course if you want to really get a good deal or have some specific colour requirements feel free to give me an email.

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