Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Watch collecting can easily become an expensive hobby, even more so than raw denim, quality footwear, or any number of other made-to-last products. And while we’re all guilty of an occasional retail therapy bender, doing that can be an especially expensive prospect when it comes to watches. However, a new metal watch bracelet is a great way to spruce up your favorite watch (or a retired old watch) while spending a relatively little amount of money.
1) StrapsCo: Shark Mesh
While Shark Mesh straps might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re contemplating a new bracelet, they are a great alternative to some of the more common styles. This strap, sold by StrapsCo, is available in most common sizes (18mm, 20mm, 22mm, and 24mm) and four different finishes, which helps to match the case material of your watch, (and also happens to look great on Diver watches). And due to the fact that the spring bar of your watch goes directly through the hooks of the mesh, this style of bracelet is easy to apply to your watch with no worry about end link curvature.
Available for $30 from StrapsCo.
2) Geckota: Super Oyster
Rolex’s Oyster Strap is perhaps the most iconic of all watch bracelet styles, but buying the real deal is pricey. That said, Geckota’s Super Oyster is a well-made alternative that features the Oyster’s famous three-piece link design. Like traditional Oysters, this model also features a heavily tapered strap width—22mm lug to 18mm clasp, or 20mm lug to 16mm clasp depending on the size—and it comes with straight end links, which are a personal pet-peeve of mine when it comes to this type of bracelet, but curved end links are available to fit the popular Seiko SKX watch case, too. It’s possible that these end links will fit other watches, but the smallest difference in lug hole placement, lug depth, or curvature of the case can make them not fit or just look odd.
Available for $64 from Watch Gecko.
3) Strap Code: ANGUS Jubilee
Strap Code produces some of the nicest aftermarket watch bracelets, and their ANGUS Jubilee, which is based on another classic Rolex bracelet style, is no exception. This model features straight end-links to make it more likely to fit your favorite watch, although Strap Code has a very large number of replacement bracelets that feature curved end links suitable for many popular brands. The larger side-links of this bracelet and smaller internal ones help to dress-up any watch (at least when compared to other metal straps), while still allowing you to wear a bracelet.
Available for $93 from Strap Code.
4) Hamtun: Titanium Bracelet
Hamtun is one of the cooler Kickstarter brands to make an appearance over the last couple of years. They sold a grade 5 titanium automatic diver watch for as little as $200, and now all of us who missed out can at least get the awesome bracelet. This strap is designed with three offset, quality-size links and no tapering from lug to clasp, and every link is removable via two 1.4mm screws. While this bracelet is specifically designed to fit their watches, its low price point and the fact that all of the links are removable make it a perfect strap for the enthusiast tinkerer.
Available for £29 from Hamtun.
5) Strap Code: Super Engineer II
I always try to reference a wide range of brands and retailers when writings 5+1’s, but Strap Code is the king when it comes to quality bracelets. Their Super Engineer II is designed with straight end links, which, in conjunction with the angular nature of the five connected links, gives this bracelet some serious heft. It’s definitely a divisive look, but if you find the style appealing, you’d be hard pressed to find a better bracelet.
Available for $73 from Strap Code.
Plus One – Watch Gecko: Milanese Mesh in Antique Bronze
Watch Gecko is another serious player in the watch accessory game, and their Milanese Mesh in Antique Bronze is an example of how they’re willing to go one step beyond most of their competition. The fine links on the Milanese Mesh make it very dressy, at least in comparison to other metal bracelets. And it should be noted that this one comes in a large number of finishes, but I’m partial the the Antique Bronze, which looks amazing on copper/brass watches.
Available for $37 from Watch Gecko.