The warmer months are here! That means your watch needs to be prepared, check out our top tips for wearing watches in the summer...
It looks like the weather in the UK is finally on the turn and sun is beginning to show its face again. As the shorts and t-shirts start to make an appearance in people’s wardrobes up and down the country,
Picking a watch strap to wear in the warmer months is something you probably haven’t spent much time considering. Not many people realise that just a simple strap change on your watch as the weather gets warmer can make a huge difference to how comfortable your watch feels on your wrist, and you can take advantage of features of your watch like the water resistance.
Here’s a list of our top suggestions for best watch straps to wear in the summer and also some top tips to keep your watch happy this summer…
1. Ditch the Leather
I know I know, this one pains me as well. Leather straps are such a great option when picking up a replacement watch strap, they have always been my go-to strap type when wanted it give a watch a fresh look. Unfortunately, leather straps don’t enjoy the summer as much as most. The lack of water resistance and their absorbent qualities mean that leather straps would rather sit next to the sea, rather than be jumping in. Whether its a quick shower, a relaxing swim or a dip in the sea, leather straps should stay at home in the dry this summer. The last thing you want after sweating and swimming is to go to put your watch back on to find your leather strap didn’t survive. For the sake of a bit of searching on WatchGecko and a quick strap change, pick yourself up one of the following and retire that leather strap until the cooler months…
2. Nylon Is Your Friend
Nylon and leather replacement watch straps have always been one of our most popular type of strap over the past 8 years. As the warmer months begin, nylon straps overtake the popularity of leather, and it’s very clear why. Nylon straps are one of the best materials to go for on a watch strap if you want something, practical, durable, timeless in design, comfortable, waterproof and versatile! Two of the best qualities you find with nylon is the fact they are extremely quick drying (perfect for those dips in the pool) and they’re very comfortable. One of the main issues with wearing watches when it’s warm is our ever-changing body temperature. As the weather gets warmer, so do we and our skin expands, meaning that strap that fitted perfectly this morning, is now way to tight. The beauty of NATO straps is that they come with a range of holes throughout the strap, meaning you will have plenty of choice when it comes to quickly adjusting the size of the strap as per the temperature. Next up, durability. These straps are extremely tough and can put up with almost anything; this is the reason why versions of the NATO strap have been in use by military personnel since the Second World War.
We offer a big range of different straps that use Nylon, meaning plenty of choices depending on your preference, watch style and taste. NATO straps are a great general thickness that works with many types of watches.
My advice? Pick up some from the range, here are a few of my personal choices for the summer months:
The 141 NATO by ZULUDIVER
This is a strap we’ve had in our range pretty much from the beginning. Over the years its gone through many different colours and continues to be one of the most popular straps we offer. The strap offers a tough, tight weave that is perfectly constructed to manage any situation thrown at it. All the metal hardware has been neatly sewn in to ensure a higher level of quality and reliability over cheaper NATOs that use heat sealing to hold hardware in place. Explore the 141 colour options here!
If you want to add a splash of colour to your NATO, why not go for a version of the 141 with a little bit more going on. The Marine Nationale takes its inspiration from the original elasticated parachute webbing material that the French Marine National used; originally green in colour, with a single pinstripe of colour running down the middle. We’ve spent some time expanding this range to now include a wide selection of colour options!
My personal go-to Marine Nationale would have to be the new Black with Grey stripe, this strap works so well with the Black Bay and is a fantastic way to make your watch summer ready but also still great for everyday wear due to its subtle colours.
If the 141 NATO is the go-to, tough looking NATO strap the Iridescent NATO strap is the one you want if you want a more unique take on a classic NATO style. First up, the main difference you’ll notice with this strap is the softer, supple Nylon material used. The Iridescent NATO straps are also only available with polished hardware, a perfect option if you want to compliment the polished details on your watch. All of the great qualities we find on our Nylon straps is present here with the Iridescent version of the NATO.
These straps keep their slim profile and only come in at 1.2mm thick, which is perfect for the majority of the most loved watches out there. If you find most straps are a little too long in our standard NATO length, we do offer the strap in a shorter length with slightly chunkier edges which as always has been finished to the same high level of quality you’ve come to expect from us here at WatchGecko.
My personal favourite has to be the electric Blue option. This strap works incredibly with so many diver watches, including of course the Seiko SKX. The strap is completely transformed when in the sunlight and even more so with the blue version!
The ZULU Nylon strap shares almost all the same features we love from our Nylon range but is available with ZULU style hardware. You can find everything you need to know about the different hardware on our one piece straps here, but quite simply the straps are almost identical to NATOs, however, they have thicker hardware in a rounded shape and commonly three of five keepers can be found. The benefit of our new Lightweight ZULU is the thinner material used. Many one-piece straps can add a large amount of bulk to a watch due to the fact there are two pieces of material between the watch and your wrist, but with the Lightweight ZULU that bulk is reduced considerably making for an overall more comfortable, quicker drying, slimmer strap!
Author’s Tip: If you find yourself going for a swim with a NATO strap, I’d recommend picking up a few Nylon straps. This way once you’re out of the water, you can take the wet strap off to dry in the sun, and switch it out for the perfectly dry option!
3. Metal Mesh
Now the majority of the time I’d recommend avoiding wearing metal straps in the summer. The main niggle with metal straps is, as we’ve already talked about, that your body will warm up in the heat resulting in your skin expanding. This will leave you in a position where your usual metal strap which normally has the perfect amount of links and micro adjustments, is now cutting off circulation to your hand. Unless you have a spring bar tool to hand or you have a half link option on your bracelet you’ll be stuck with a very tight fitting watch. Luckily there is a way around this in the form of mesh straps. Mesh straps offer a very breathable, light, comfortable fit but also keeping the desirable metal strap aesthetic.
Quick Adjust Mesh
One of the best mesh straps for the summer would be the Geckota Quick Adjust Mesh. This strap offers all the desirable qualities that come with mesh straps mentioned previously but comes fitted with a quick and easy adjustable buckle. Once you lift the buckle you can then pull the strap through the and easily make small adjustments to the strap, a great feature for any summer watch!
If you wear a smaller timepiece in the summer, you’ll find the Finer Mesh is the strap to go for. This strap features a very fine weave mesh design and is quite a delicate option coming in at 1.5mm thick. It is very easy to adjust the size featuring an adjustable buckle which doesn’t require any special tools, other than a simple small flat head screwdriver. As soon as you strap this mesh to your wrist, you’ll almost immediately forget you’re even wearing a watch. A fantastic comfortable option for the smaller watch in your collection.
4. You knew this was coming right? Rubber!
We can’t make a list of the best straps to wear in warm weather without mentioning quite possibly the most iconic watch strap type when it comes to exposure to water, sunlight and increased temperatures. It comes as no surprise that the first mainstream appearance of rubber straps began in the 1960s, the exact same time the dive watch industry exploded with seemingly every brand under the sun releasing diver watches. Over the following 50 years, rubber straps have continued to improve and now we have straps that are incredibly durable, waterproof, non-allergenic, non-toxic and available in a wide-range of colours and textures. The two key features we’re interested in when wearing rubber straps in warmer weather is the fact that the straps are waterproof and very comfortable. Due to the soft supple material used, rubber straps work brilliantly for an everyday summer watch. The high-quality rubber used means the straps are extremely quick drying, therefore, you could easily wear a rubber strap for the whole summer and wouldn’t need to worry about making sure it’s dry.
Here’s a couple of my favourite go-to rubber straps because they are the straps I always personally default to if I need a rubber strap:
The ZULUDIVER 328 Rubber NATO
This is one of the many rubber straps we offer that is made in Italy, by Bonetto Cinturini. In fact, they’re manufactured in the same factory as OEM rubber straps for many top Swiss brands. Because Bonetto Cinturini is a rubber strap specialist with over 30 years’ experience, it’s no surprise that this is one of our most popular straps. You may just be thinking that the 328 is quite simply just a rubber NATO, but to me, this is the definition of simple yet effective. This strap only focuses on the important things and does them extremely well. Whether it’s the robust 316L stainless steel hardware holding the strap together, the slim yet strong vanilla scented Italian rubber featuring a perfectly subtle horizontal graded design throughout or its the way the holes for the pin to sit in are all rounded off and neatly contained together; the 328 does everything perfectly. Exactly how you would want it. For me, the Grey option is my pick as it compliments black dial watches (the majority of my watch collection) effortlessly…(Saying that, the green featured on the Tudor above does look pretty good as well!)
The ZULUDIVER Tropical Rubber Strap
I always come back to the Tropic rubber strap from the ZULUDIVER range. There are three key reasons for this…
First up the strap is jam-packed with history. During the first boom of rubber straps in the 60s, many straps were poorly made and didn’t last, whereas the tropic style strap survived a lot better than the competition. Over the following 10 years, Tropic rubber straps were offered on a range of watches including Rolex, Tudor, Blancpain, IWC and a range of super compressor cases. Secondly, has to be their overall design. For a strap originally released in the 60’s, this strap still managed to look modern and relevant today. I believe a big reason for this is down to the carbon fibre styled design throughout the strap. Again another subtle design element that compliments black dial watches extremely well. Next up, practicality is my next reason for going with the Tropic strap. Whether straps are normally either too big or small for your wrist, the likelihood of the tropic rubber strap fitting you is high due to its considered design with holes for the pin buckle throughout the whole strap. Another reason is the quality of the strap. This thing is incredibly supple. This strap simply doesn’t understand what ‘the breaking in process’ is at all, straight out the package you will see this is incredibly comfortable and will have a hard time taking it off. Now I admit that’s actually four reasons, but if I’m honest I could probably go on and on about why this strap is one of my favourites…
5. Nylon, but not what you’re thinking…
Now if you thought NATO straps were the most breathable, comfortable, quick drying and timeless, you haven’t seen anything yet! The use of Perlon straps can be traced back to the British Armed Forces in the 1960’s. There are a few big positives of going for a Perlon strap. First of all, the straps come in a wide range of colours and variations. Depending on the thickness and size of your watch there are many different versions of this neatly woven strap. One huge benefit of going for a Perlon strap is the fact that there are no dedicated sizing holes in the strap, meaning its a great option for when your skin expands in the summer heat and you need to make very subtle adjustments. Simply adjust the strap by moving the pin in between another weave and you’re good to go!
If I’m going for a Perlon strap, I normally go straight for one Geckota model…
Perlon Double Tropical
This Perlon strap is a slightly thicker looking piece compared to other models in our range which I believe compliments many summer watches. These Perlon straps are incredibly affordable it makes it very easily justified to pick up a new one throughout the summer if you want to change it up a little. Whether its an SKX, a Sub or the latest Geckota Diver, the Perlon Double Tropical in Grey is a go-to option for me!
There are a few of my suggestions for the best straps to go for this summer. Whether you go for a classic rubber strap, a durable Nylon option or a stylish mesh, wearing watches in the warmer weather is all about being comfortable and finding something that is the best option for you. Of course, how you wear your beloved watches is completely up to you, but these useful tips will not only ensure you enjoy your watch during the warmer months, but it will also give you the perfect opportunity to change up the look of your watch and give it a little refresh!
And don’t worry leather fans, knowing the British summers track record it’ll be autumn before we know it…