Green Rambles: The Underestimated Importance of a Good Bracelet

Some of you might recognize this: for years, you have been admiring a certain watch, and when you finally get it, you are very excited only to realize after a couple of weeks that you are not wearing it as much as you should. This might have nothing to do with the watch itself but more with the wearing comfort provided. If the watch has a strap, this is often an easy fix, yet it is a whole different ball game when fitted with a bracelet.

I feel that some brands still underestimate the strength of a well-designed bracelet, both aesthetically and for wearing comfort. To some extent, this is a commercial decision. Developing a new kind of bracelet is quite expensive and relatively challenging. Such cost will mean that either the price of the watch will go up, which might make it less competitive in the market, or cut into the brands’ margins. After all, the watch industry is still a competitive and commercial endeavor. For some smaller brands, developing a bracelet of their own is so costly that it is simply unwise to dedicate a large number of resources to it. This makes it that, in particular, the classic three-link bracelet remains prevalent.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Ref.15202ST

Of course, we as consumers also have something to do with this, and we always say that we like new stuff, but the reality is that we don’t want it to be too different from what we already know either. So being conservative pays off for the brands. That being said, when they do invest in a new bracelet design, and the market receives it well, it will also reflect on the watch it’s on. In fact, it can further fuel its success. Good examples of this are the so-called Bond-bracelet on the Omega Seamaster Professional and the bracelet of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. In both cases, they are significantly different from what was otherwise available on the market, contribute to the watch’s identity, and are very comfortable to wear. Also, that superb bracelet that IWC offered on their Flieger- and Doppelchronograph is one of which I have fond memories.

Bracelets like those above elevate the watch as a whole, increasing their wearing comfort and good looks. While it might not be easy, I wish that brands put more focus on creating bracelets just like that. I know it is an investment, but mechanical watchmaking is an artistic process, and the bracelet should be part of this.

What is your favorite bracelet on a watch, and why? Tell us in the comments!

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  1. Dóczi Dénes

    For me, the Rolex Jubilee bracelet. I know a lot of Rolex fans don’t really like it because for them, the Oyster buckle is the classic. But I think Date-Datejust raises its exclusivity to watches, it’s no coincidence that Rolex developed them.

  2. Alec Seville

    Good article, but misses one, for me very important factor, namely how metal straps can be finely adjusted to meet cha changing wearer’s conditions. My wrist expands and contracts depending on temperature, so straps on say my Rolex Submariner or the new Tag Aquaracer are brilliant but the new Grand Seiko is not so clever, and in the end I will probably have to swap the metal strap for a leather one! So why can’t all metal straps have some easy adjustment?

  3. Joe Pobiner

    Bracelets are also more than aesthetic. They must also be easy to adjust, and not just by removing a few links or half-links. Some very expensive watches with bracelets don’t wear very well because their bracelets do not have any sort of micro-adjustment. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is one such watch, but the IWC Ingeniur does have l the ability to make small adjustments. There was also the early Bell & Ross Space 2. The ability to adjust a bracelet specific to the owner’s preference is key to wanting to wear it more. A watch that doesn’t seem to fit well – too loose or too tight – will stay in the winder (or the drawer) more. I emplore more manufacturers to include the ability to micro adjust beyond the simple link and half-link “standard”.

  4. Clinton Doggett

    My first real watch was an Omega 300m diver–and it is still the most comfortable to wear because of the bracelet. It feels like silk against my skin and makes the wearing of a moderately heavy timepiece a joy.

  5. Ken Clare

    Nothing like the Rolex Oyster bracelet, most comfortable bracelet out there.

  6. My favorite bracelet is still from the long forgotten Bertolucci Vie Maris Dive Watch. It’s the most beautiful bracelet I’ve ever seen and it wears like butter, inspired by the smooth stones of the Italian coast. Part of their marketing at the time was “Feel the difference”. How right they were.

    • Martin Green

      I fully agree with this one!! Bertolucci was in general very good in making pebble smooth bracelets, and the Vir Maris is among their best!

  7. IWC bracelets are some of the best, had tge bracelet on a MkXVIII. My Glashütte SeaQ also has an very nice bracelet (I suspect the clasp shares a patent with iwc, as it looks identical). My BB58 has a nice bracelet, which would be almost perfect, if there was a half link or extra hole in the clasp. The Oyster bracelet is supremely comfortable. The bracelet on the latest Seamaster SMP is not a good bracelet, the older one was more comfortable. The bracelet makes the wearing experience.

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