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The History of Bund Watch Straps

Bund watch straps history

The Bund watch strap is a two part strap composed of a regular strap and what is typically called an “American plate”. They were initially developed for the German air force in the second world war by the Federal Republic of Germany, or Bundesrepublik in German. 

The cockpits of fighter and bomber aircrafts ran into a number of incredibly hazardous conditions and became very cold and very hot, making a metal watch rubbing against a bare wrist uncomfortable. The thick leather strap acted as a layer between the skin and metal watch, preventing discomfort and pain. In the case of a cockpit fire, a leather strap kept the watch away from the skin, where the extreme heat could melt flesh. It also prevented any damage to the watch from excessive sweat.

As far as multipurpose straps go, the bund might just win the prize for most practical.

The History Of Bund Watch Straps

What About After The War?

Bund straps became really popular in the 1970s, well beyond the cockpits of bomber aircrafts. The chunky leather cuff was the perfect wrist accessory to complement the long boots and fringed suede jackets that were all the rage during that time. 

Elvis wore a Bund strap, as well as Nina Rindt who strapped her Universal Genève chronograph on with a wide leather cuff. Steve McQueen wore his strap with a Hanhart chronograph similar to those worn by the German air force itself. Robert Redford was also seen in the spy thriller Three Days of the Condor wearing a Doxa SUB 300T Sharkhunter dive watch on a black bund with silver rivets. The list goes on…you get the picture. 

The History Of Bund Watch Straps

Characteristics Of The Bund Watch Strap

A bund watch strap is characterised by having an additional pad between the watch and the wrist, adding that extra bit of comfort and protection, particularly for those with metal sensitivity.

Generally, this piece of additional leather is made of the same leather (both in colour and in actual cut of leather) as the main strap and comes in two primary styles. There’s the full cuff, with a wide rectangular pad that wraps almost around the entire wrist. Then there’s the tapered version, which is rounded to roughly match the profile of a watch case, most often ending just past the lugs.

Our Top Bund Watch Straps 

RIOS1931 Tula 

The TULA series from RIOS1931 are bund-style watch straps, featuring a full leather backing between watch and wrist, adding extra comfort and protection, or for those who simply wish to keep every bit of their watch in pristine condition! 

The History Of Bund Watch Straps

RIOS1931 TULA Genuine Russia Leather Bund Watch Strap in BLACK

This stunning bund strap features a bark-tanned leather treated with birch oil; a traditional leather-tanning technique from Russia, which gives the strap added water resistance and hardiness, as well as a distinctive feel and smell. 

You can also find the Tula series in Mocha, Cognac, Honey, Sand and Stone Grey on our website. 

Pebro Bund Strap 

Just like the TULA series from RIOS1931, the Pebro bund straps offer an additional barrier between the underside of the watch and your wrist, adding to its comfort and reducing wear-and-tear on your watch casing.

The History Of Bund Watch Straps

Pebro Vintage Leather BUND Watch Strap in PECAN BROWN

This is a high-quality vintage leather watch strap from a highly-regarded German manufacturer. 

The strap comes in a choice of 4 other natural hues - Black, Dark Brown, Mustard and Sand, and can be accented with one of three colours of stainless steel buckle.

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Written by Kate, for Watch Obsession.