Perhaps one of the hardest decisions when we shop for a wristwatch is “metal bracelet or leather strap?” Watch collectors normally get both kinds of watch bands, but if you just simply want to buy a single watch to wear from day to day, you must decide to choose one out of the two materials. In this blogpost, we will give you information about both so you can decide what fits you best!

Metal bracelets
If your taste runs into sport watches, chances are your favorite pieces feature a stainless steel bracelet or a rubber strap. Why? Because genuine leather is not suitable with sporting activities. Your sweat would soak through the strap and it will break off sooner or later. If the stock band of your sport watch is made of leather, it must be replaced in more than one year.

A rubber strap is ideal for a sport watch, but when the piece also has to play the role of a dress watch, a metal bracelet is more appropriate. Take dive watches as an example, they’re often available on arubber strap or on stainless steel bracelet. Most of the buyers who choose the rubber strap version are ones who would use the watch in true diving adventures, the metal band version would serve as a versatile watch, which looks good with formal apparels as well as wet suits.

A metal band would give you the solid feel by its weight and hardness. It’s also much more durable than a leather strap. You just have to polish the metal band to erase minor scratches on it, but with a leather strap, you have no other options but replacing it with a total new one. And you know? Finding an aftermarket leather strap which is well matched to your watch case can be quite a chore and can be very expensive!

Now to the disadvantages of metal bracelets. They can give you skin irritation on hot days when your sweat gets stuck under your bracelet. Also, these bracelets can be quite heavy. Some people can find it too heavy for every day wear and want something lighter. The last disadvantage is that metal bracelets are not as dressy as leather. Needless to say, a leather strap often makes your watch more elegant-looking than a metal bracelet.

Watch band: metal bracelet or leather strap?
Watch band: metal bracelet or leather strap?

Leather straps
As said above, a leather-strap watch tends to be more exquisite than its metal-bracelet cousin. That’s why a lot of dress watches feature an alligator strap. A well-made leather band would give your watch an appealing classic look that is very suitable with formal occasions. It’s also much more comfortable to wear a leather strap than a metal bracelet. No more irritation! No more heaviness! And the most interesting is that a genuine leather strap would twine around your wrist tightly after a few weeks of using.

Leather straps come in a variety of styles, and the range of quality and finishing is substantial. The cost of a leather strap depends on the quality and exclusivity of the leather, as well as the brand and the strap maker.

The most common leather in production is cowhide, but hides such as calf, crocodile, alligator, ostrich and shark are also popular. Each has a different grain and consistency. Often, a cowhide strap is finished with an alligator or crocodile pattern, which is both cost-effective and environmentally sensitive but not the same as an original hide.

Obviousely, leather straps do have their own disadvantages too. The first one is the smell.Yes, when your sweat doesn’t collect under the band, it would soak through the band instead. After a few months of using, your leather strap begins to be bad-smell. You have to take it off the watch and bask it in the sunlight to avoid this issue. Another point is that they last shorter. A buffalo or alligator strap cannot sustain physical abuses better than a metal band. You might change the leather strap a few times throughout your watch’s life. The last disadvantage is the quality. It’s easy to evaluate a metal band’s quality, you can feel it through your hands. But with leather strap, an inexperienced buyer might confuse between the faux and the genuine. It takes a little knowledge about leather to buy a high-quality strap without being caught with chaff.

Watch band: metal bracelet or leather strap?
Watch band: metal bracelet or leather strap?

So, what should you choose?
Leather strap or metal band? Each material has its own pros and cons, that’s why they don’t eliminate each other and co-exist in the watch market. You better go to a local store to get the real feeling before making the purchase. Lots of people only make their decision through pictures on retailers’ websites, and then get disappointed when the watch band is not as comfortable as they thought, or it just simply does not suit their using purpose and routine. At the end, the most important factor is your own taste.

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