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Watch Bands

Updated on August 14, 2009

One of the first things that wear out on a wristwatch is the watch band.  That is why watch manufacturers make replacement watch bands.  If watch bands break or get too old looking, you can just replace the band but keep the watch face, which is the expensive part of the watch.  Timex watch bands, Casio watch bands, and Swiss Army watch bands are not necessarily only for those brands of watches.  As long as the watch band is the correct size and type then you can use them interchangeably with any watch face. 

To determine what size watch band you need there are a few things to remember.  First, the width in measured from pin hole to pin hole on the part of the band closest to the watch face.  Watch straps tend to get thinner or wider as they travel away from the face so the industry standard is to measure at the pin location.  The length can be measured in one of two ways.  First, you can measure the actual straps.  Remember that watch straps are two pieces.  The watch band length is the sum of the lengths of each piece.  If you have lost or broken your old watch band and it is not available for measuring then your wrist comfortably and measure that.  Remember to subtract the diameter of your watch face from this measurement.

Most watch bands are attached with pins on both side of the timepiece, but there are different types of pins so make sure that the replacement you buy can work with the type of pins on your watch.  Take the watch face with you to the store if you are not sure what kind you need and a sales associate can help you, or you can try some out yourself.  Not all watches have pins for straps, though.  I have seen watch systems that have many watch straps and many watch faces that can be used interchangeably.  The strap is one long piece that runs through holes and under the watch face so that is it between the face and the skin of the wearer.  This type of system is an excellent choice for anyone who has allergies and cannot wear jewelry well.  These watch straps are often quite colorful and sometimes have unique patterns because they are easy to change out and you typically want them to match your outfit.

There are many different materials used for watch straps.  Probably the most common is the leather watch strap.  Leather is a durable material that is comfortable to wear so it makes the perfect watch band.  You can wear leather both casually and with formal attire.  Leather comes in many colors and varieties.  Most leather watch bands have a soft underside wear they touch the skin and a treated top side.  There are also suede watch bands.  Suede is made from the inner layers of the skin of different animals where other leather is made from the entire skin or the outer layers.  Suede is very soft and is much less durable than regular leather.  Suede absorbs liquids easily, which could be a problem if you sweat.  It is much easier to break a suede watch band so perhaps these kinds of watch bands should be reserved for formal wear so that sweat and harsh treatment are not big issues.

Another special kind of leather watch band are crocodile watch bands.  Exotic watch band material like crocodile are becoming more and more popular.  Because of the relative difficulty in obtaining crocodile leather, these watch bands are among the most expensive.  Today, many crocodiles are endangered, so the right kinds are raised on farms for slaughtering them for their meat and skin once they are big enough.

After leather, metal watch bands are the next most popular type.  Metal is used mostly for men’s watches, but some women’s watches use it too.  Typical metals used are gold, silver, titanium, or stainless steel.  Gold is a fashionable choice, but keep in mind that gold is a soft metal and is easily dinged, scratched, and dented.  Silver is also classy and is much more durable than gold but is very easy to tarnish.  You could spend more time cleaning your watch band than wearing it if it is made of silver.  Titanium seems to solve both of these problems because it is a very strong and durable metal that is also lightweight and comfortable to wear.  The problem with titanium is that it is very expensive.    The possible solution is a stainless steel watch band.  Stainless steel will not tarnish or corrode like silver and it is stronger than gold.  The only issue with stainless steel is that it is heavy and can be uncomfortable.  You need to weigh the pros and cons of all these different watch band materials and decide what is most important to you before you go looking for watch bands for sale.

Finally, there are casual watch bands made of rubber or some other kind of resin or plastic or woven fabrics.  Rubber and plastic are good choices because they do not absorb sweat and can be easily cleaned.  The problem with rubber and plastic is that they do not sit comfortably on the wrist.  It takes a long time to get the watch band to conform to the shape of your wrist so that it is easy to wear.  Woven or webbed fabrics sit comfortably on the wrist and conform quickly.  However, they absorb sweat easily and can eventually start to smell like any other piece of clothing.  If you buy a cloth watch band then make sure it is easy to remove so that you can wash it when it becomes necessary.


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      Mike Allin 8 years ago

      I don't know why you said titanium is very expensive, it's way cheaper than gold or platinum. Plus it's lightweight and hypoallergenic.