There are a lot of different straps and bracelets for watches, and choosing one above the other comes down to personal choice. Some people cherish the durability of a metal bracelet while others prefer the comfort of leather straps. In contrast, others believe that rubber straps represent the perfect blend of durability and comfort. Everything depends on individual preferences, and below you will find a list of pros and cons of each individual option.
Metal bracelets are ideal for persons uninterested in replacing the bracelet for years to come as metal bracelets offer great durability; however, metal links will wear and loosen with time. This will cause the bracelet to stretch – thus telling you that it is time to purchase a new bracelet. As lifespan depends on maintenance and usage, it is impossible to predict the lifespan of a metal bracelet.
In terms of maintenance, you should clean your bracelet now and again using warm water and a toothbrush. This will remove dead skin cells and congealed perspiration building up between links – adding a worn-out and dirty look to the bracelet. You can also have your local jeweller clean and polish the watch.
Leather straps provide great comfort when worn in; however, leather straps are worn out faster than metal bracelets. If you wear your watch daily, you can easily go through a new strap every 1-2 years – dependant on strap quality, perspiration, usage and contact with water.
The lifespan of a leather strap can be significantly prolonged by using a deployment clasp (found on more expensive watches) as a deployment clasp eliminates the wear and tear in connection with tightening the strap.
Furthermore, heavy perspiration reduces the lifespan of a leather strap. Thus, you should always remember to remove moisture with a piece of cloth to preserve the natural oils on a leather strap. Another useful advice: be sure not to tighten the strap too much as this allows moisture to evaporate more effectively and will prolong the lifespan of your leather strap. In addition, you should also be aware that the water-resistant rating does not apply to a leather strap – water and leather are not compatible if you plan to prolong the lifespan of your leather strap.
Over the last of couple of years, rubber straps have become very popular as they give you the same comfort (and more durability) as a leather strap; however, rubber straps are not as durable as metal bracelets. Salt has always been the enemy of rubber straps; thus you have to rinse the rubber strap when exposed to seawater. On a positive note, rubber straps are ideal to use with water-resistant watches used for diving or swimming - choosing to clean the strap with a wet cloth will keep the band intact. The estimated lifespan of a rubber strap is approximately 1-2 years.
Some women´s watches come with soft bands that are very delicate and often used on more exquisite watches. Furthermore, you will also find watches with plastic bands and - in spite of the material and price - these bands are synonymous with a lengthy lifespan.
When deciding between a strap and a bracelet, the choice depends on future usage as well as your personal view on comfort and durability. Most people do not mind to change the leather strap from time to time and do so when replacing the battery. Thus, the choice between a bracelet and a strap is a question of personal preference and future usage.