How Tight Should a Watch Strap Be?
There is no universal answer to how tight a watch strap should be as it comes down to personal preference; some people like to wear a watch loose enough that it can spin, others have it fastened so tight that the wrist is almost choked. That being said, your watch should be comfortable and secure, and a strap that is too tight (or too loose) doesn't allow this.
Your watch strap should be tight enough that it remains in place, with the watch face on top of your wrist, but loose enough that it it is comfortable and doesn't cut off your circulation or irritate your skin. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to slide your index finger between the clasp and the wrist, but you shouldn't be able to move your finger around.
As well as physical discomfort for you, a watch strap that is too tight puts pressure on its components which can lead to long-term and irreversible damage. For example, the spring bars and buckle or clasp that fasten the watch can break or tear the leather on your watch when it is on too tight.
If you do prefer a strap that is extra tight, the Hirsch Performance range strikes a good compromise; the patterned base is comfortable and allows your skin to breathe when the watch is fastened tight, but the rubber lining reduces the risk that the strap will tear. In fact, a recent test from Hirsch showed that the standard push-pin surrendered at 7kg of stress, and the quick-exchange at 6.5kg - impressive! If you're still not convinced, check out their video below.
Choosing a Watch
Whether you are an avid watch strap collector or a first time buyer, it's important to pick a watch strap that gets you the most out of your investment. This means your watch strap should fit well and last. As we've shown, part of this comes down to how tight (or not) your watch strap is.
To rest easier that you'll make the right decision, your best bet is to first determine what size strap you need. To do this, you should measure the lug width of your watch and your wrist circumference - learn how in our watch size guide. The more accurate the measurement, the more accurate the size, and the closer you are to a watch strap that is the perfect fit.
Keep in mind that the more adjustable a watch strap, the more chance of it being comfortable.
Recomendation: Erika's Originals MN™ Watch Straps
One of our favourite adjustable watch straps comes from the Erika's Originals MN™ range. The straps are famously comfortable to wear due to their parachute-style hardware and elasticated construction that allow you to quickly reposition and adjust your watch to closely fit any point along your wrist.
Recomendation: Forstner Komfit ‘JB’ Stainless Steel Watch Bracelet
Another favourite adjustable watch strap of ours is the Forstner Komfit 'JB' Stainless Steel Bracelet, a re-release of the strap worn famously by many astronauts during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs.
The square-link stainless steel construction is lightweight and aerated for a cool and comfortable fit, while the lug ends are equipped with spring-loaded adjustable fittings. The unique front-facing clasp has also been re-engineered to prevent the 'slipping' problems that are sometimes present in vintage models.
Play The Long Game
Don't forget that brand new watch straps will get more comfortable over time. Like a good pair of shoes, after you have broken your strap in and it has moulded to the shape of your wrist, it will be easier to wear them a bit tighter (or looser). Take leather for example, it might seem tough to begin with, but it will soften and become more supple over time - you can even kickstart the process yourself.
Written by Holly, for WatchObsession.