A wristwatch with a sturdy strap seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Strapping up a timepiece seems like the reasonable thing to do, obviously. But let me tell you, the watch as you know it today, with its trusting strap in place, has taken centuries in the making. To really understand this, let’s go back in time to the invention of the first wearable timepiece. Promptly called the ‘clock’-watch’, the device earned its name from the simple fact that it was essentially transitionary between a clock and a watch –caught somewhere in the middle of time in terms of size, functionalities and the likes. They were bulky, chunky box-like instruments that one could wear either around the neck, or fasten on clothing. Though to be fair, they weren’t particularly adept, more popular for their ornamentation and novelty than their timekeeping. But remember this was as early as the 16th century.
Then came the era of pocket watches around the 17th century. Watchmaking saw major advancements in movements and mechanisms over the years, and we come up to the point where horological history took a turn from pocket watches towards the modern wristwatch. It is said that this pivotal turn in watchmaking can be credited to Breguet, who created the first timepiece for the Queen of Naples between 1810-12. Then on came the wars of the 19th century and the need for functional, easy to read and easy to handle timepieces dawned on military men. In simple words, the watchmaking industry finally recognised the need for a strap –direly strapped for time. What we take for granted today, took nearly 3 centuries in the making. How’s that for perspective?
Long chains were replaced by luxurious leathers, artfully crafted metal links, bejewelled bracelets and what have you. Finally, we’ve arrived at the point in time where the strap became the defining element of the modern wristwatch. And yet, in spite of its role in modern timekeeping, this completely indispensable element remains an overlooked accessory. Today, let’s honour this ginormous step in watchmaking by taking a closer look at straps.
As it happens, a strap can make or break the look of a timepiece. But when it comes to luxury watches, you can be rest assured you’ll find the best of designs, materials and craftsmanship in high-end brands’ collections. Seeing as Breguet watches were among the first recorded wristwatches in horological history, I find it only befitting that we look at the varieties of watchstraps in relation to its maker’s makes. You can take a look for yourself at the exquisite collection of Breguet watches at top Breguet stores like Ethos Watch Boutiques, or go all out scouting among the handful certified retailers of the brand in India, if you want to dig deep. For now, let’s take you through the different kinds of watch straps:
For the amateur eye, the choice of a leather strap may be just between black or brown. But for watchmakers and enthusiasts, it’s a whole other story. Excellence in leather craftsmanship has always been a widely appreciated craft, and understandably so. The nuances of creating the perfect variations of leather straps in an entire art unto itself. Much like good wine, high quality leather ages beautifully. Genuine quality leather softens with time and exudes a glorious appeal. Luxury brands like Breguet watches use authentic, high quality crocodile and alligator leather straps, etc. On the other hand, low-end timepieces use faux leather, low-grade varieties, or bonded leather that are likely dyed and have a synthetic look and feel. While buying a new wristwatch, it’s important to ensure the quality grade of leather to know you’re getting a truly premium product. In the case of luxury watchmakers however, I’d pick the likes of Breguet watches with my eyes closed.
Leather straps are crafted in a variety of styles, textures and tones. From black to brown, tan, and what have you, leather straps can come with matte or glossy finishes, thread detailing, slim or wide bands and more. Here are a few favourites from Breguet’s collection:
Breguet Classique 5140BA129W6
Breguet Classique 5177BR299V6
Breguet Classique 5157BB119V6
Breguet Classique 8068BA52964DD00
Breguet Tradition 7057BB119W6
Breguet Type XX / XXI 3880BRZ29XV
When it comes to luxury watches, metal straps are the most sought after in terms of luxury value. Not only are metal straps extremely durable, but they are adjustable, hardy, comfortably, and non-absorbent in nature. Not to forget, most high-end brands craft straps in precious metals ranging from gold to silver, white gold and platinum. Stainless steel is always a reliable and luxurious choice as well. Contrary to what you might think of the use of metals, they are extremely durable and resistant in nature, which has made metal link straps the norm among sports watches. But luxury watchmakers add classy designs and craftsmanship to add a touch of timeless elegance –making metallic straps perfect for any occasion.
While simple gold and steel links etc. are commonplace, here are some unique metal trap variations in the Breguet watches collections:
Breguet Reine De Naples 8918BR58J20D000
Breguet Marine 5817BRZ2RM0
Breguet Reine De Naples 8918BB58J39D00D
Rubber straps are not suitable for formal wear, but are great for those who lead active lifestyles. They are durable, lasting, resistant, and most of all, extremely comfortable for activity. Here’s an exquisite luxury rubber strap from Breguet:
Breguet Marine 5847BRZ25ZV
At the end of the day, luxe brands offer the highest grades of quality and material, excellence in craftsmanship, and unique designs in watch straps. All you have to do is choose one that fits your bill and strap yourself in for a luxurious experience on your wrist!