A common question people ask when they look to replace their watch strap or watch band is which is the most comfortable, the most durable and stylish. There are also other factors to consider before making a decision, such as price, toxicology and scratch resistance. Of course the best watch band for you will largely depend on your individual preference.
Firstly what exactly is a watch band? A watch band is a generic term for either a watch strap or a watch bracelet. A watch bracelet is usually made of metal such as stainless steel, titanium, and even gold in some cases. A watch strap is made of non-metal. This can be synthetic or animal materials such as leather, Rubber, Nylon, denim, cloth or plain old plastic.
Where comfort is concerned watch straps win easily. Watch straps are usually softer, warmer and lighter than metal bracelets. I have found rubber straps to be the most comfortable. They are warm and very lightweight. You barely notice that the watch is on your wrist and it fits nicely due to its stretchable properties. However rubber is not to everyone’s taste. Although it depends on how the rubber is manufactured it can tear fairly easily.
Putting on a stainless steel bracelet on a cold winter’s day can feel un-comfortable. They are heavier than straps and more likely to cause skin rashes. However many metal watch straps are made of titanium which has hypo-allergenic properties making it less likely to cause skin rashes. It is also feels warmer, softer and lighter on the skin than stainless steel.
Where durability is concerned the metals unsurprisingly win hands down. Stainless steel can last for around two decades and titanium is even more durable, lasting even longer. However the downside of titanium is its price and scratch resistance. It is more expensive than stainless steel and less scratch resistant unless it has been surface treated. The durability of a titanium bracelet will depend on the grade of titanium being used with some grades more durable than others.
Leather watches usually last about five years and are fairly weather resistant. Rubber provides good weather resistance and is popular on sports watches. They tend to be a bit more durable than leather watch straps although sharp objects can more easily tear a rubber watch. Nylon and Plastics are cheap and they often do not last as long as the other materials. Plastic is often used on cheap children’s watches.
Stainless steel watch bracelets are the most affordable only costing tens of dollars. Titanium is more expensive as it is more difficult to manufacture and will cost you more if it is surface treated to make it scratch resistant. The precious metals such as Gold bracelets are unsurprisingly the most expensive. Leather bands can vary In price significantly ranging from about $15 to $100. Rubber is one of the most popular synthetics and the price is reasonable at around $20. Nylon and plastics are the cheapest.