While some watch lovers pay attention to the movement, some to the dials, others the cases and etc, there are others like me who love straps. However, like all watch lovers, you are either one or the other. This means that you either belong to the group of leather straps or the other group of metal bracelet gang.
Top Grain Leather Rally Strap (Source: Amazon.com)
MiLTAT Super Engineer 2 bracelet (Source: Amazon.com)
While both the leather and metal bracelets have the advantages and disadvantages, let’s take a look at the advantages of metal bracelets as I really loved metal bracelets. Sorry leather strap fans, I am team bracelet all the way!!
Orient’s Ray 2 Japanese Diving Watch Automatic (Source: Amazon.com)
Most diving and sports watches like yacht watch will employ metal bracelets instead of leather.
This is pretty obvious when you choose metal bracelets. Usually fabricated out of stainless steel, metal bracelets are not only water resistant but corrosion resistant as well. However, the level of water and corrosion resistance will depend on the type of stainless steel grade you have.
MiLTAT Oyster style bracelet for Seiko made from 316L Stainless steel(Source: Amazon.com)
LeeSting 304 Stainless Steel Milanese (Source: Amazon.com)
Not all stainless steel has the same properties even though they are described as made out of stainless steel as 304 grade is different than the high-grade 316L cousins.
StrapsCo Shark Mesh can easily hide your scratches with its gaps between its links (Source: Amazon.com)
Hands down metal bracelets are very durable as compared to leather. When paired with a watch, you don’t have to worry about ruining their bracelets and can be as rough as possible. Depending on their link designs, small scratches can be hidden.
The Engineer bracelet has small tightly packed surface area between the links which can easily hide scratches(Source: Amazon.com)
Whether it’s paired with cheap of expensive leather, we can’t deny, leather gives the watch a classy, luxury feels to the watch which metal bracelets can’t. However, leather is basically animal skin which is not suitable for use in rough terrains and environments.
Obvious scratches on metal bracelet (Source: BeckerTime.com)
Wear and Tear on a Leather Strap (Source: www. drmenstyle.com)
That is why bracelets are often the more popular choice for professionals especially those working hands-on. Leather straps paired with dress watches are more commonly seen with professionals working in office only.
I know I might be biased towards bracelets but I still prefer the various metal bracelet designs. There is a wide variety of designs from bonklip, to the two-tone jubilee, president, and many others. If you missed my previous post about the type of leather straps, click here.
JaegerLeCoultre Mark 11 with Bonklip bracelet
Jubilee (Top) and President bracelet (Bottom) with Rolex Crown Clasp (Source:Rolex.com)
Audemars Piquet Royal Oak Integrated Bracelet (Source: Amazon.com)
The evolution of Oyster bracelet (Source: Hodinkee.com)
Metal bracelets have disadvantages as well, no doubt. However, this does not apply to all metal bracelets but the most common design with pins and links. One of the most irritating things about it is it sometimes catches your arm hair especially if you are a hairy guy. Luckily, Asian men like me don’t have to worry about that.
Rolex Submariner on Oyster bracelet (forum.watchuseek.com)
Another most common issue is how the becomes loose over time as you continue to wear it on your wrists. However, you can always choose to remove the links to re-tighten the bracelets so that should not be any major issue. The pins are also susceptible to failures the more complex the design is as there are more points of failure.
We will stop here and continue in our next post to study the advantages and disadvantages of leather as a strap option. Until then, stay tuned.