The evolution of wrist straps is as palpable as the evolution of watchmaking, where we now witness the term “smart watches” entering the parlance of the once-staid industry, with products being straightjacketed by customs and traditions.
Bulgari’s Diagano Magnesium harnesses the Near-Field Communication technology which facilitates data transmission and storage from smartphone to watch, while Frederique Constant’s Horological Smartwatch uses the MotionX technology which tracks the user’s activity in the day.
Even though wrist straps are pretty much unaffected by shift in technology, the varying types of straps accompanying the hands of a modern gentleman is a discernible departure from the progenitor of watch straps: the leather. Be it cowhide, horsehide, crocodile or snake skin, the term “leather” has become a common association for such straps, often for simplicity’s sake. Commonly seen with high-end timepieces with high regards for quality forged by the fortitude of the brand’s heritage, it is still the choice wristlet for the masses, given its timeless form factor and durability
Over time, the evolution of watches, particularly the dial, allowed the fashion-conscious crowd to tinker with their straps, often being perceived as a typecast for the personality of the user. For instance, metal-styled braces have been the preferred selection for the hardened male who sees the need for their timepiece to withstand the arduousness of their lives, while hipsters are often seen adorned with NATO straps, which seems to suggest their irrational obsession with everything minimalist… or, sentiments aside, might just suggest how cash-strapped they are. While it’s a fashion statement to pair a Rolex Submariner with a canvas strap for the younger, better-fed crowd, it is still a travesty to behold a gingerly middle-aged man with the same penchant for hippie straps.
The whole scene with wrist straps on an assortment of people these days begs us to wonder, what does your wrist strap says about you? More than just a choice of style, we believe wrist straps are the litmus standard to accessing the character of any man. Find out if these apply to you.
The convention-keeper: Leather straps.
Well-levelled with customs and traditions, these guys are perhaps the either the best dressed of the lot, since leather complements formal attires exceptionally well, or the kind of obstinate luddites who refuses to be well-heeled with IT. Either that or these are the guys who have people handling all the technical shebang, while they remain ensconced in the comfort of their 4-panelled office room.
The do-it-for-instagram hipster: NATO Straps
Formerly used by soldiers and divers as a standard issue by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (hence, NATO), these stripey contraptions are now the standard issue for hipsters and the fashion-forward crowd. Spotting them in the pastures of other fashionistas is easy, especially when it is a rite-of-passage for them to graduate as a full-fledged hippie to upload a close-up of their expensive timepiece interspersed with a NATO band. As much as functionalities go, nylon straps are way more comfortable given the thinner strap, but if your age more than doubles the indices on the face of your watch, it’s time to consider something more appropriate for your age. Please.
The testosterone muncher: Metallic bracelets
Often accompanied by tufts of hair on the wrist, these bracelets reek of pure masculinity. These are the type of accessory worthy of being on the wrist of Bear Grylls in his maniacal adventures across the deepest savannahs in the world. Heck, if a misadventure ensues, the watch will certainly remain clasped to his wrist, proving itself as a worthy contender to the wilderness. Troubled with the shave that reduced your hormonally-charged face? Put on a metallic wrist strap to regain the fullest of your macho glory.
The Rafael Nadal: Rubber straps
Often noted for his on-court antics such as butt-picking and excessive bouts of celebration after points, his wrist attracts a sensible amount of attention as well. Sponsored by Richard Mille, the Spaniard is usually seen playing with his 6-figure timepiece, awkwardly juxtaposed with a Nike wristband. Conventionally associated with sports, these rubber straps are superior to leather for obvious reasons, as the last thing we’d wanna catch a whiff of is a sweat-soaked leather strap, next to Nadal’s fingers. If you happen to find yourself smelling something unpleasant on the MRT, look out for the bloke with a rubber strap.