There’s something kind of magical about how a new strap can make a watch feel completely different and uniquely yours. Especially when you're at the local meetups and can immediately tell your watch because it's styled just to your tastes. Some collectors even have strap-watch combos with a story all their own. We asked members of our community to shine a light on how they style their watches (with straps and beyond) through this recurring series, Watch Couture.
The one that started it all
A few years ago, my mom gifted me my grandpa’s watch - a Rolex OP with a mosaic dial. It had been kept in a safe for over 20 years since no one wore the watch after my grandpa passed away. The watch even still had the black calf leather strap that my grandpa had worn for many years when I inherited it. Since I have a small wrist, I needed to get a shorter strap so I could wear the watch more comfortably so I chose this custom gray snake skin strap. I absolutely love how the strap brings out the patina on the dial. It’s almost poetic that the strap that started it all was for the watch that started it all for me.
This strap is from @handdn.store on IG. He makes wonderful custom straps and has so many leather options you will definitely find something you love!
You know how the story goes: like everyone else, I got into watches in high school with a Seiko, and while the bracelets looked and felt substantial back then, the clasps had a nasty habit of popping open at the worst possible moments (and don’t even get me started on the pin and collar links). A friend introduced me to Nato-style straps (at J. Crew of all places), and I never turned back. We didn’t have many options back then so visible spring bars were a fact of life, but I achieved my main goal of keeping this watch on my wrist. By college Nato-style straps were starting their resurgence in the watch community and I started to pay more attention to colors, materials, textures, and finally found straps that fit my watch properly. I bought this strap on a whim and fell in love with how fun and cheerful it made the watch look. Thousands of strap changes later I still come back to this combo and it puts a smile on my face every single time.
This strap is from Crown & Buckle, my go to retailer for affordable Nato-style straps in an impressive variety of sizes and colors.
If you have a watch strap with a great story we would love to hear about it down in the comments.
Dana Li has always been interested in watches, even from a young age. A few years ago, she inherited her grandpa’s watch, which kicked off her collecting journey. After spending time with collectors and people in the industry, she started Tell the Time, a publication that highlights watches and the watch community from a woman’s perspective. Dana also shares Complecto’s mission of fostering an inclusive community that reflects the diversity of watches and collectors.
Maxwell L.B. Thorn has been collecting watches for almost 15 years with no plans on slowing down any time soon. What started with a pair of Seiko monsters evolved into an instagram account dedicated to watch straps, a true passion for the industry, and the uncanny (read frustrating) ability to steer any conversation back to watches.