At StrapHabit, I receive a lot of messages asking for strap recommendations for a particular watch. While I love the opportunity to interact with customers and hear about their favorite watches, I thought that it would be useful to provide an in-depth guide. This article will address the topics below by section. Feel free to read the entire thing, or click the topics below to jump to a section.
- Removing your old strap
- Determining the correct size
- Choosing the material
- Choosing the best strap for your watch
- Other considerations
- Tools required
- Useful accessories
1. Removing your old strap
The majority of watches use straight spring bars to attach the strap or bracelet to the watch case. Spring bars are small metal tubes with springs inside.
To remove the old strap/bracelet from the case, it is easiest to use a spring bar tool like this one that we sell to compress the end of the spring bar. This should give enough clearance to remove the strap or bracelet.
Some watches also have holes in the side of the case, making it much easier to remove spring bars. In those cases, simply insert a pin into the side of the case (like the one on the other end of our spring bar tool), and pop the case or bracelet out.
The easiest types of straps to remove are those with quick-release spring bars. These have small tabs that make it possible to remove the strap in seconds without the use of tools. Some original equipment straps have these, as well as most of our straps.
Once you've removed the old strap, installation is easy. Insert one end of the spring bar into a lug hole. Then compress the other end, either with the pin tip of a tool or with the quick-release tab. If you've never done this before, it's a good idea to cover your lugs with tape to avoid scratches.
Note: If your watch does not appear to use standard spring bars, or has a strap that integrates with the case, we might not sell a strap that is compatible.
2. Determining the correct size
Once you've removed the old strap, simply measure how wide it is, or the width of your watch case in between the lugs. Watch straps are sold in mm widths. Our spring bar tool has a handy scale that you can use to measure. If you're doing this frequently, another easy way is to purchase a cheap set of digital calipers.
Modern watches typically have strap sizes between 18mm and 24mm, although there are plenty of exceptions. 20mm and 22mm are the most commonly found lug widths.
Some watches fit best with a strap that is designed to fit it (such as the Q Timex), but the majority are compatible with any strap that is the correct width.
After you have the correct strap size, we've organized our shop so that you can shop by width. Please select the correct option below (or from the menu at the top of the site).
3. Choosing the material
You'll likely want to consider the strap's material next. Watch straps come in a number of different materials, and they all have different benefits and properties.
Rubber straps are some of our most popular straps for good reason. Our rubber straps are all made from high-quality FKM rubber. FKM Rubber is the most versatile material for watch straps. It is extremely durable, and very resistant to temperature, chemicals, wear, and discoloration.
These are the best straps for abuse and frequent water use, such as swimming, showering, playing sports, or working out.
Sailcloth Straps are still sporty, but give a watch a more sophisticated look than rubber straps and will look appropriate with nicer clothing.
These straps are great for wearing in a variety of situations from casual, to office, to semi-formal. They also have mild water-resistance.
Hybrid Straps combine the best properties of the previous two straps. They are slightly more expensive, but have the good looks of a sailcloth strap with the durability and sweat-resistance of FKM Rubber.
These straps are also great for sports, every day use, and office wear.
Elastic Straps are our most comfortable straps as they expand and contract with your wrist. They also provide a popular military appearance similar to a NATO strap and are available in a variety of colors.
These look great on a casual watch, tool watch, and are great for long days and travel because they never feel tight or constricting.
Canvas Straps straps offer a more distinctive look, especially when they are pre-distressed.
These look great on tool watches when they are brand new, or well-worn.
Stainless Steel Bracelets look especially great on vintage and dress watches. They give the watch a brighter, classy look.
Luminous Straps look normal during the day, but are very fun to wear at night. These are also a great option for those IG lume shots!
Adjustable Straps are the thinnest and lightest straps that we offer. They also offer infinite adjustability, allowing you to perfectly size them for your wrist.
4. Choosing the best strap for your watch
When choosing a strap, usually I try to first choose the material based on when I plan to wear the watch. I might want a material that is more durable, water-resistant or something that looks classier.
Next, I consider the color. I often gravitate towards bright colors and usually try to match the strap color to the dial, or a highlight color such as the second hand or brand logo.
If all else fails, check out the best sellers section. Black is always a sure bet and sells the best for most of our straps.
5. Other considerations
Because these straps are so easy to swap, you might also consider if a strap is compatible with multiple watches that you own.
Additionally, I try to consider the type of watch, and its intended look. Can I choose something that fits its "vibe" well (or enhances it)?
6. Tools required
If your existing watch strap has quick-release spring bars, you won't need any tools to install any of our quick-release straps.
Otherwise, a spring bar tool will be required to remove your old strap and install a few of our straps.
If you've chosen a stainless steel bracelet, you'll need a bracelet sizing tool to remove links.
Additionally, a set of small screwdrivers can be very useful if you have a bracelet with screwed links, or would like to install one of our spring-loaded deployants.
7. Useful accessories
Speaking of our spring-loaded deployants, they are the perfect accessory for a number of StrapHabit or other straps. Strong leaf springs keep the buckle secure while it's on your wrist, but make it easy to open and close without fiddling with buttons than can be difficult to close, or pop open by accident.
A watch travel case is also a must for anyone to travels with more than one watch, or needs a secure way to store a few watches at home.
You've selected the perfect watch, now you'd like the perfect strap to enhance it. At StrapHabit, our goal is to help you do that. We want you to enjoy your favorite watch(es) as much as possible!