Choosing the right watch strap: Our advice!

A watch is nothing without its strap, at least for our modern watches. The bracelet, all too often neglected, nevertheless forms a large part of your watch and remains much more than a simple accessory allowing you to hold your watch on your wrist.
We will present to you some types of bracelets with their uses and specificities and will give you some advice on how to best select your future bracelet!

selection of leather bracelets in different colors

The different types of bracelets:  

For greater ease, we have divided the bracelets into 4 families: sport, leather, steel and vintage.
These 4 families will offer a particular look to your watch, so let's discover them together in more detail. 

Selection of steel bracelets

“Sport” bracelets

This category includes the rubber or fabric bracelets. It could also integrate metal bracelets because they correspond perfectly to this function but for simplicity we have decided to set them aside.

These bracelets are generally designed to resist water, heat, cold, humidity etc... They thus give a sporty look to your watch but above all become very useful depending on your hobbies. We find various types of bracelets.

The Natos : These bracelets are made of canvas nylon and are particularly resistant. They exist in various colors and are starting to be fitted on city watches! It was originally a special order from the British Ministry of Defense in the 1970s. The bracelet met demanding specifications.   

Rubber / Tropics : In appearance, these bracelets are similar to leather bracelets but are made of... rubber! They are very resistant, adhere well to the skin and especially to diving suits. 

Rope/canvas bracelets : We could include nato bracelets within this category but we have selected wider bracelets in which the links are clearly visible. They are made of rope that can be collected to be used for a variety of purposes, ideal for adventurers and survivalists!

selection of 4 watch straps

Bracelets "Cman"

In this category, we find all types of leather bracelets. Much more elegant and minimalist, these bracelets are the most classic. Although some prefer fairly thin metal bracelets, they still adorn the vast majority of “Dress watches”.
It's not easy to find the ideal bracelet given the variety of possible finishes. Between colors, stitching, materials, sizes, etc. the idea is not to describe all the variations of leather but the 3 most common types of finishes.

Vegan leather bracelets : These bracelets are generally made from fruit or vegetable fibers, some are made from apples, pineapples or even corn like our bracelets at Gustave & Cie.  

Topstitched or non-stitched leather bracelets  : The difference between these two bracelets is the external appearance: one has visible seams and the other is only glued.

Smooth or textured finish : Certain skins such as alligator or salmon are raised while cowhide leather will be smooth. It is still possible to give a design to cowhide leather and imitate a crocodile pattern for example. These finishes drastically change the appearance of your watch. 

selection of 4 leather bracelets

“Steel” bracelets

These bracelets are all-purpose and can infiltrate each category. Thanks to the metal, they are particularly resistant but can remain elegant! They are also widely used in fine jewelry for women's watches, for example. 

“Thick” bracelets”: Straps often used on diving watches before the invention of natos or rubber straps. They are particularly wide and offer a style of their own. 

Fine bracelets : These bracelets are discreet and can drastically change the look of a watch. Thin bracelets are very suitable for steel cases. one of the best known examples is the Milanese mesh bracelet.

“Jewelry” bracelets : They are generally made of gold and do not have any links. They were widely used for women's watches. 

Various types of different steel bracelets

“Vintage” bracelets

We are entering the vintage category which is making a comeback. These bracelets had various finishes as varied as their designs. So, here are some examples! 

Bracelets made from a single piece of leather : They generally have a single seam on either side of the bracelet just under the clasp. They are once again particularly sought after by watch enthusiasts.

Bracelets with holes : This is the ancestor of sports bracelets, their holes were made to wick away perspiration more simply and to dry more quickly. The bracelets with smaller holes were pilot bracelets reminiscent of the finishes of their leather seats 

Read Bund straps : These bracelets were very popular giving an aviator look. Like the natos, they were created on a German military order for its pilots. 

Embossed bracelets : These bracelets are also making a comeback. These are bracelets with foam or rubber inside, thus forming relief. For example, the bracelet below on the right has a sort of rubber cable inside and thus forms this design. 

Divers type de bracelets vintage

The bracelet you need?

Now that you know the majority of bracelets on the market, choose one that has a style that suits you. 

If you don't know what to get, opt for the classic and timeless: the leather bracelet. These bracelets will be perfect for a first watch or simply to dress up your watch without taking any risks.
If you have the possibility, opt for an interchangeable bracelet!


And yes, now some bracelets are interchangeable. They are equipped with a system allowing them to be changed quickly and thus change the look of your entire watch in a few seconds. These bracelets are most suitable if you do not own a large number of watches. So you can adapt your watch to every outfit or occasion!

Each bracelet gives a different style to your watch, it can be sporty, adventurous or even chic. If you know the type of bracelet you like, all you have to do is choose the color, otherwise opt for an interchangeable bracelet, you won't get bored and can vary as you wish without asking your watchmaker for help!


Bracelet cuir Numbuck Chocolat  Gustave & Cie
Gustave & Cie black tropic bracelet with silver buckle
Milanese mesh bracelet Gustave & Cie


  • “large” metal bracelet:
  • Photo montre Piaget : Sotheby’s
  • Bracelet Nato : Hamilton
  • Bracelet and cord: Vitorinox
  • Bracelet vintage : Yema
  • Sports leather strap: spirit-nato
  • Bracelet bund : Etsy
  • Bracelet relief : WatchesULike

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