Buying the correct size
Most of our watch straps will fit the majority of watches with standard lugs. For Apple watches you may need to buy the adaptor which connects between the strap and the watch.
It is important to buy the correct size of replacement watch strap. This is done by measuring the lug width on your watch as shown in this diagram. The lug width is the inner space BETWEEN the lugs. So, in the diagram the space is 20mm, so a 20mm strap should be purchased.
What length of strap do I need?
The diagram below shows the different dimensions we use on our descriptions. Measure your wrist size. Most people are between 6.5 inches (165mm) and 7.75 inches (196mm), so with a regular 40mm diameter watch case our regular leather, silicone or textile straps (75-80mm x 120-125mm) will fit well. Most of our solid stainless steel bracelets are good for up to 8.5-inch wrist size. If you have a very large wrist then you should look for longer length straps 90mm x 130mm or so.
The thickness of the material used varies a lot. NATO straps may be 1.2-1.4mm thick as they need to fold back on themselves to fit correctly whereas leather and metal straps can vary from 1.5mm to 6.5mm. Some straps are padded whilst others are solid pieces of leather or other material. It is important to consider the thickness.
Solid stainless steel: The thicker you go the heavier the total weight on your wrist. Many of our bracelets are between 80-100 grams. With a heavy dive watch this could make the total 180g - 200g or more.....are you happy to have that weight on your wrist? Most people are as it feels great, but just be certain is right for you.
Leather / Textile: consider the depth of your watch case. Adding a thin strap to a big watch can look a bit odd and vice versa. Thick straps with large buckles look amazing, but can be quite chunky on the bottom of your wrist, will it look good and feel comfortable on your wrist?
Tapered or not tapered...that is the question!
Most watch straps have a taper from the shoulder (lug end) to the tail on the long side of the strap. Commonly, this is 2mm, so 24mm straps taper to 22mm; 22mm to 20mm and so on. The taper does make it easier to fit the tail end into the watch loops. The buckle end does not taper.
Some straps have no taper and are often noted as "Parallel" straps. These are often found on more rugged straps or dive-style straps. Generally, the loops are are a little bigger. These straps usually have a stronger wrist presence.
Watch Strap Use
Consider where you will wear your watch. For casual wear then leather and hybrids look great. Out in the field? Consider NATO or Zulu, perhaps. If you are in the water a lot then leather, unless treated, is far from ideal, but silicone, metal and textile straps will really perform.
How many straps do I need?
A collection of watches can cost a fortune, but your existing watch can be jazzed up for a fraction of the cost by having different straps to give a different look at different times. Putting on a slimmer leather strap can give a nice look for evening wear or a chunky strap for outdoors or a casual look.......
Changing straps is easy only requiring a basic tool.
Keep scrolling for more information on straps and tools..........
lug width and watch strap sizing
Leather is one of the most popular choices for a replacement watch strap.
Cow or calf leather is the most popular and is often impressed with different patterns simulating other exotic leathers e.g. alligator, lizard skin and ostrich. Other patterns are applied, too, such as stone / pebble pattern, "carbon fibre" or bamboo pattern.
Look out for different grades of leather used in watch straps. The most commonly found are "full grain", "top grain" and "genuine leather". Expect to pay more for the higher quality top and full grain leathers as they come from the better part of the skin. There are grades below "genuine", so this choice is still very good, long lasting and affordable.
There are so many types and finishes of leather to choose from...suede, nubuck, soft Italian, Crazy Horse (saddle leather, not from horse skin!), waxed, oiled, natural.....
Choose something you like the look of and spend a little more to get the best quality you can afford; your strap will last look better for longer
Although more weighty than other materials, metal bracelets look fantastic, especially when paired with a steel watch.
Now, there are things to look out for.
Cheaper bracelets are often have links made from flat steel that is rolled, so the centre of the link is hollow. Nothing wrong with them, but they don't have a great feel and can be very "jingly" when worn.
Pay a little more, if you can, and enjoy a SOLID stainless steel bracelet. WatchesEtc..... only stock solid stainless steel from lower prices to top quality examples.
Prices are usually determined by the amount of steel and work that goes into them. Bracelets are often described by the amount of rows in each link. These range from Oyster style 3-link up to the impressive 15-link bracelets. Also, there are some occasions when brushed and polished parts are mixed which adds to the time to create the strap.
304 grade stainless steel is the most commonly used material and is highly resistant to corrosion. Sometimes the slightly different 316L grade is used which is even more resistant to sea water, for example.
Colours most often come in silver, black, gold and bi-colour silver and gold.
There is a difference between silicone and rubber! Silicone is a synthetic material with rubber-like qualities. It is usually very soft and makes for a comfortable, waterproof watch strap.
Natural rubber is not used quite so widely, but is a natural product that is heat treated (vulcanised) to make into a useable product.
FKM rubber is one of the finest materials for waterproof watch straps. It is synthetic rubber and has the feel of natural rubber whilst being very hard wearing yet soft and supple. Brilliant for dive watches.
There are a huge range of colours available to spice up the look of your watch and many typed of finish from perforated rally style, ridged, smooth, carbon effect and so on...
Want the best of both world with a distinctive look?
Straps come paired with different materials
Canvas / Leather
Leather / silicone
Nylon / Leather
Zulu and NATO strap are relatively similar with Zulu generally having a single strap with metal oval loops and NATO straps having an extra strap the wraps around the buckle.
The benefit of both is that they are hard-wearing, durable, comfortable and really suit military style watches.
There are myriad colours and patterns to choose from.
Zulu straps are also available in leather and canvas, too.
There so many buckles for your watch straps - where to start?
Most buckles are connected to the strap with a spring bar, but some have screw fixings, so you will either need a spring bar tool or watchmakers screwdriver to fit them.
In my opinion....go for quality. Solid 304 or 316L stainless with a solid tang (rather than curved wire).
Choose your style of buckle. The Pre-V style (or Panerai style) are big and chunky where others are small and delicate. Ensure the width of the tang will fit the hole size in your strap.
Buy the correct size....virtually always the size you buy will be the same as the lug width dimension of your strap......but measure the width of the strap at the buckle just to be sure.
Colours are usually silver, black, gold or rose-gold and can be polished, brushed or matte finished.
Clasps have their uses and can be used on metal bracelets and leather / fabric / silicone straps, too. They can add a luxurious look and feel to your strap and watch.
Make sure you buy the right clasp for the material of your watch. Most on the market are designed to fit material straps, but different fixings are required for metal bracelets.
This picture shows a single fold butterfly clasp, but there are two fold clasps, push button clasps and fold-over safety clasps and so on.
The best quality are milled stainless steel examples, but there are cheaper pressed steel plate models, too.
Most straps and buckles are connected using spring bars - small sprung cylinders that click in to small holes in the lugs or your watch.
There are loads tutorials on Google or YouTube explaining how to perform this very easy operation.
There are loads of different styles and price points for spring bar tools. At the top end there are brands like Bergeon and Horotec that will last a lifetime and at the other end there are really cheap ones that might not last long at all!
WatchesEtc..... stock two types a reasonable stainless steel tool and a much better quality tool with carbon steel tips.
It's always worth having a set of watchmakers screwdrivers. Other than needing them for screwed bracelet links and buckles they have uses around the home...especially removing the battery covers on the kids toys!
As usual, I advocate spending a little extra on tools that will last. Certainly, decent stainless steel, but if you can afford it buy tools with hardened carbon steel tips...they will last so much longer.
Most bracelet links are connected by link pins, so if you need to remove links then the easiest way is to use a "Link Removal Tool".
Most bracelets have arrows to indicate which way to push the pins out.
Another relatively simple task and there are plenty of tutorials online or see our diagram below.
We offer a tool with an adjustable base making it easier to align the pins with the pusher on the tool.