How Do I Choose the Best Watch Bands?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann
A watch.
A watch.

Several elements factor into choosing the best watch bands, including price, style and comfort. They are available in a vast amount of styles, however, not every type of watch band will attach to every type of watch case — the watch case is the metal covering on the watch. It is important to know how your band connects to your watch and how long of a strap you will need. The final considerations in choosing the best watch bands are staying within your budget and selecting bands made out of materials you prefer, such as water snake, silk or leather.

Watch bands come in a variety of materials to choose from, including synthetics, leather and metal. Synthetic watch band materials include nylon®, silk and denim options. Some textile watch bands are waterproof and feature one-piece construction with a buckle or hook and loop fastener. While some synthetics may not hold up to use as long as some other watch band options, they are often the most flexible and comfortable type of band and are available in a broad range of styles, patterns and colors.

Metal watch bands are a durable option for most watch wearers. Many types of stainless steel bands are available, and these include folded and solid watch bands. The folded versions use metal folded to form the band's links, while the solid version features links made from solid chunks of stainless steel. You can choose the best stainless steel finish to match your watch, such as gold-tone, dual-tone or black stainless steel. Other metals available for watch bands include gold, titanium and aluminum.

Leather is a long-wearing material used for making watch bands. The advantage of choosing a leather watch band is that it offers the flexibility of being either dressy, sporty or casual, and can be paired with nearly any style watch case. Leather bands can be smooth or feature patterns in the leather, come in a variety of colors, as leather can often easily be dyed, and can offer contrasting colored stitching.

For an upscale and fashionable look, consider choosing a band made of exotic materials, such as sting ray, ostrich and alligator skin. Other exotic options include snake, shark and camel. Most exotic skins can be left in their natural color or dyed in a variety of colors, including shades of green, pink and blue. Frog leather, chicken leg skin and sheep skin are also used to make watch bands.

A watch band is sized by width, a dimension between the attachment brackets on the watch case, and by length, the distance it takes to circle the wrist and fasten the band. The length of some bands is easily modified through an adjustable clasp or by removing links from a metal watch band. Other bands are stretchy in nature and do not require adjustment. The most critical measurement is that of the width of the band compared to the mounting areas extending from the watch case, so be sure to choose a band using the appropriate measurement.

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Discussion Comments


A silk watch band? Except for when grosgrain ribbon bands were popular in the 80s, I've never heard of a silk watch band. The most common bands these days are leather, metal or that odd, stretchy sort of plastic.

I wear a metal band these days, and I like it. My watch band is just a link metal band with a clasp. I remember the Spiedel bands which were metal and famous for being stretchy. My mother had always preferred a leather band, but since she is older, the stretchy metal band is much easier for her to get on and off.

I do like a nice leather band and wore one for years and years. I do think, in general, the metal bands are more durable. A leather band can start showing wear around the pins where it is attached to the watch.

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    • A watch.
      A watch.