Tell me what to look for in a band/strap/bracelet?
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  1. #1
    Member kronological's Avatar
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    Tell me what to look for in a band/strap/bracelet?

    I'm on a quest for some variety, and I need some advice on what to look for. What are your thoughts on this?

    Leather bands
    :
    Types of leather?
    Stitching?
    Padding?
    Brands?

    NATO/Zulu/Nylon straps:
    Advantages/disadvantages of NATOs? Zulus? 2 piece? Others?
    Which grade of material/nylon is softest?
    Best color and pattern combos?
    Hardware suggestions?
    Brands?

    Stainless Steel bracelet
    :
    What types are preferred...Jubilee? Oyster (what is that...BTW)?
    Solid end links vs. cheaper, hollow ends?
    Deployment clasps vs.___?
    Best budget/value brands?

    I'm new at this, so thanks for entertaining my questions.

  2. #2
    Member CastorTroy3's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me what to look for in a band/strap/bracelet?


    Leather bands
    :
    Types of leather?

    This is really a matter of preference but I would think about how much texture And shine you like. Think most would agree that Alligator is the King of Leather and Ostrich is the queen but there is a ton of options out there. Also, same material at different price points is not really the same. There are a bunch of custom makers who have great photo galleries of various exotics and you can really see the difference. Here is an article I like and used to really do some research and venture into ultra high end straps.

    Best Custom Watch Straps • Gear Patrol

    personally I think that D9 and ABP have the most diverse photo gallery with various types of leathers. I haven't gone to far out yet. However, the Elephant hide strap from ABP is calling my name but unfortunately you can't order it on line. My next ultra high end is going to something real unique from ABP as I haven't used them yet.

    Padding?

    Personally, I thinking padding is more about the watch you are pairing with the strap and how substantial or minimalist you want the look to be. For example, Breitlings have big thick straps and therefore they are "meant" to be heavily padded. Nomos have super thin Horween straps and aren't even lined. I generally start at the measurements of OEM straps and work from there. I'd probably say my preference is substantial straps and I like them particularly thick. They are not as comfortable but they look better to me.

    Brands?

    Mix it up. Go high. Go low. Custom, manufactured. This way you can figure out what you like. I'll say at this point I haven't really purchased many I hate but I will say that the more I spend the nicer they have been. I'll give you my top five high end...top five mids...and top five low end (or mass manufactured) in no particular order (some based on web browsing and not ownership)

    High End - D9, SNPR, Combat Straps, ABP, Camille Fournet
    Mid - Aprell, N80, Ted Su, Greg Spitz, Greg Stevens
    Lower/Mass Produced - Hirsch, Debeer, Model, Watchband center

    NATO/Zulu/Nylon straps

    i just started wearing Natos a few months ago and I have only went cheap on these. $15 or less. I have only done Natos and Zulus and I think (not sure) the difference is on the placement of hardware. I see pictures of companies like Clockwork Synergy, Toxic Natos, Cincy straps and they appear to look way better then mine. Some are nominally more expensive some are way more. I just ordered like 25 Natos from various suppliers so I should no more soon.

    I have eave one leather Nato I bought on the forum (no clue on the brand) and I love it. Definitely looking forward to getting many more of these and am curious if custom makers are doing these. The couple of customer makers I have seen are using Horween and they are pretty expensive and more than I am willing to spend at this point on a Nato.

    Stainless Steel bracelet
    :
    What types are preferred...Jubilee? Oyster (what is that...BTW)?

    Oyster

    Attachment 8796802

    Jubilee



    The jubilee has those small little dots in the center links. I've only owned oyster but it looks to me that jubilee has a little more shine than oyster. So again preference. From pictures, I think I like jubilee but again I only have had oyster (except for PVD).

    Solid end links vs. cheaper, hollow ends?

    Solid end links. End links seem to break pretty easily and you can find cheap bracelets with solid end links. Also on cheapo I find sometimes I need to bend them a bit to fit certain heads.

    Deployment clasps vs.___?

    Deployment clasp looks better and supposedly has less wear on the strap. Personally I don't care that much and find many deployments to be in comfortable or harder to get the right fit. I just mix it up.

    Best budget/value brands?

    no clue - I have either went OEM or just go on eBay and get POS through aways. I have only broke bracelets when trying to bend them to fit. However the cheap ones seems to eventually turn, can't be polished, show scratches easily, and definitely feel more light and dainty.

    The only eBay seller that I really liked the cheap bracelets from was "1988show." The bracelet was heavy and hard but this order was straight endlinks which is easier and you don't need to force them in place. For experimenting though you can find bracelets from $5-$40 and figure out what you like.

    I too too would be interested in recommended bracelet sellers. I have heard Staib and Dremen. And watchbandcenter.com has tons of options but I don't know which are the better ones. I did just order a $3 mesh from eBay lily angstrom - posted by someone on this forum) and if I like it I am going to try Staib mesh.

    hope this helps and I'll flood some pictures of some of the stuff I have tried out.

    1988 Show - $25 PVD bracelet (have to until Damasko makes a black bracelet. I love this one btw

    D9 customer Gator with integrated fit. By far the nicest strap I have ever seen live. A little bulky but craftsmanship and materials are works of art.


    Combat ostrich. Ostrich is my favorite material so far. Hard to find with shine though and I kind of like gloss.


    Aprell grey gator.


    Hirsch blue Modena embossed alligator (credit to sir Auggie for the pic but I do have the combo. )


    Brown leather NATO (crappy iPhone pic)


    Grey NATO (crappy iPhone pic) - you cas see tips are fraying after nominal use.


    Explorer II on toxic NATO. Not my pic..saw it on the forum stole it and want the strap for myself.

    Man...this thread saved me money as I want to buy some new straps!!!!
    Attached Images Attached Images

















    Last edited by CastorTroy3; July 20th, 2016 at 05:13.
    Nokie, kronological and Karkarov like this.

  3. #3
    Member CastorTroy3's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me what to look for in a band/strap/bracelet?

    Pictures got pretty out of order. Sure you will figure it out.

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  5. #4
    Member kronological's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me what to look for in a band/strap/bracelet?

    Wow...thanks for the extensive response, CT3! I'll check out the links...this should help me a lot. :)

  6. #5
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me what to look for in a band/strap/bracelet?

    Great info.
    "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"
    Groucho Marx

    "The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once..."
    Albert Einstein

  7. #6
    Member kronological's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me what to look for in a band/strap/bracelet?

    Attachment 8796802

    I can't seem to open this up...

  8. #7
    Member CastorTroy3's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me what to look for in a band/strap/bracelet?

    I think what you couldn't open was the oyster bracelet.

    This is a hulk on oyster. Different pic




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