There are many different types of straps and bracelets that come on watches. At the end of the day it simply comes down to preference. Some people like the durability of a metal while others prefer the comfort of a leather strap. There are others who believe that rubber offers a hybrid of durability and comfort. As I mention before it all comes down to individual preference and we will discuss the pros and cons of each of the individual options.
Metal bracelets are great for people who prefer not to worry about their watch bands for 20 years at a time. Of all the options metal is the most durable. Over the years the links will start to soften and give way and you will need to replace your bracelet. In terms of lifespan, you can expect a steel, platinum, or titanium bracelet to last 15-20 years. A gold bracelet will only last about half of that because it is a softer metal
Leather straps can be like an old pair of jeans. Once you break them in, they are incredibly comfortable. Unfortunately if you wear your watch every day, you can go through a new strap in about a year before you have to replace it. A deployment buckle can add significant life to your leather strap since it eliminates the tugging and pulling aspect of taking your watch off and putting it back on. Heavy perspiring can wash out all the natural oils from your watch strap too. To preserve the strap, get the moisture off with a soft cloth. Another hint to preserve your strap is not wearing it tightly. Always leave enough space so that you can fit your pinky finger between the watch strap and your skin. This helps air circulation and lets moisture evaporate more effectively. Finally, remember that while your watch says it’s water resistant to 30, that does not mean your strap is too, so take care of that leather strap.
Rubber straps are great because they give you the comfort of a leather strap plus some extra durability. Rubber straps are not as durable as metal straps, but they tend to last around 5 year longer then leather straps. The downside of rubber straps is that they are not as versatile as leather and steel bracelets. You will find yourself hard pressed to dress up a watch with a rubber strap.
The clasp is the fastener on a watch bracelet, connecting and securing the two open ends. There are a few different styles of clasp depending on the bracelet and watch type, with certain models having extra security features such as fold over bars and/or push-button releases.