Are Watch Straps Universal?
Whether a watch strap is universal is dependent on how the strap attaches to the watch. If the watch has a conventional lug arrangement which will hold a straight ended watch strap, you can attach almost all watch straps to that watch. However, some watches are designed so that you cannot fit a universal replacement watch strap to it.
If you are a new watch collector, you might make the assumption that you can only attach the same branded watch strap to your watch. However, lots of watches can have the strap switched over to another brand. In fact, there are more universal watch straps than not. This is great, as when it comes to purchasing a luxe watch strap, we recommend that you have a rotation of watch straps so you can match your watch to your outfit and mood as it strikes you. The more universal watch straps then, the more options for you and your favourite timepiece.
That being said, there are some branded watch straps that are made to suit a specific watch. Replacement straps for these watches will need to be sourced direct from the watch manufacturer or be custom made - more on that below.
Our Top 4 Universal Watch Straps
With a selection of universal watch straps, a resilient waterproof worn to the gym can become a stylish and refined exotic strap for dinner in a matter of minutes - and so on and so forth. We've compiled a selection of our favourite universal watch straps to get your versatile collection started.
1. Hirsch James
The James performance strap is the best of both worlds. It combines the flexible and dependent characteristics of its natural Caoutchouc rubber core with a traditional and refined calfskin upper layer - available in three natural colours. This is a strong and functional blend of materials that, in many ways, makes it an unrivalled watch strap.
The Hirsch Camelgrain is a soft and supple neck-skin strap with a special hypoallergenic underside, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin. Its comfortable yet refined design makes this a versatile strap that is suitable for just about everyone.
The Camelgrain comes in four colours, two of which are also available in open-ended variants for use with fixed-bar watches.
The Hirsch Crocograin is a high-quality calfskin leather strap bearing an authentic crocodile-style embossed two-tone texture. This sophisticated design, crafted from calfskin and imbued with a crocodile-style finish, creates a refined and subtle look at a price that can't be matched.
A true quality and elegant all-rounder, at home attached to both dress and sports watches. This luxurious watch strap is available in eight colours.
The RALLYE range from Di-Modell draws inspiration from the world of motorsport and offers a design that marries form and function. This range comprises of sporty watch straps with a modern, perforated style, wrought from soft and comfortable calfskin leather.
With its soft yet sturdy, aerated and lightweight construction, the RALLYE makes an excellent band for the active user. These straps are also waterproof up to 100m depth, making them ideal for those of us who like to spend our time underwater.
Our Top 3 Brand Specific Watch Straps
There are some branded watch straps that are made to suit a specific watch. In these cases, replacing it with a universal strap is not possible. Your options don't end there though - there is a great range of watch straps for specific brands to ensure you can still switch up the colour and style of your strap as you like. Some of our favourites include:
The Crafter Blue CB08 is a pure vulcanised rubber strap, paired with brushed 316L stainless steel tang buckle & keeper engineered to fit the Seiko "New Turtle series. Non-marking, non-toxic and hypoallergenic; this an excellent strap for prolonged use, whether on land or at sea.
The Crafter CB08's curved end ensures the tightest possible fit to your watch, creating a sleek and stylish look with an unbeatable performance to match.
The same pure vulcanised rubber strap with a curved end, but engineered to fit the Tudor Black Bay series.
The Panerai-Style Alligator is a superb OEM product designed for the specification of Panerai watches and deployment clasps. This calfskin strap carries an intricate alligator-style embossed patter and can be purchased standalone for use with your existing hardware, or with one of a selection of our own OEM deployment clasps.
An ideal replacement or secondary strap for your watch of choice, at a price that's hard to beat. Not to mention that it is available in over ten colours!
Written by Holly Charman, for WatchObsession UK.