Have a question about watch straps? Don't worry, we're experts and we're here to help...

The world of watches and watch straps can be incredibly complex. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran collector, or you’re trying to find out how to remove a watch strap for the first time, there are always things to learn when it comes to watches.

As replacement watch strap specialists with over 10 years of experience, it's fair to say we’ve seen it all, heard it all and know everything there is to know about watch straps.

high quality padded leather watch straps from watchgecko

One of the most popular leather straps, the Vintage Highley - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Today, we wanted to run through some of the most commonly asked questions we get about watch straps and answer them for you in one convenient place. Think of this as your go-to destination for anything you need to know about watch straps - you're welcome.

Can you replace watch straps?

Yes, most watch straps can be replaced quite easily. Watch straps are commonly held onto watches with spring bars. These small pieces of metal are spring-loaded, resulting in an incredibly secure fit when attached to the watch. To remove watch straps you will need to use a spring bar tool (like this one). Some watch straps use quick release systems which require no tools and have a bolt and slide style system.

Explore some of the best watch straps on the market right here!

You can learn more about springbar tools here.

Where can I buy quality watch straps?

WatchGecko has some of the highest quality watch straps available on the market that strike the right balance between attention to detail, comfort and price.

Our range of watch straps has been developed by harnessing both our expertise and passion for watches which has been perpetually building ever since we began selling watch straps online in 2010. Interested in picking up a watch strap? Start shopping here!

The Christopher Ward C65 Trident GMT Worldtimer watch on an elastic green and yellow E-NATO by ZULUDIVER

The Christopher Ward C65 Trident GMT Worldtimer on the E-NATO in Green / Yellow - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

What are the best watch straps?

Many different watch straps can be the best for different reasons. For example, rubber or nylon watch straps are great choices for sports or when you’re active. Metal watch straps (also known as bracelets) are solid, versatile choices that work in most, if not all situations.

Leather watch straps tend to be the most comfortable watch straps for everyday wear but they don’t like getting wet and won’t be great in warmer climates.

Check out our range of watch straps by type below:

Rubber watch straps
Nylon watch straps
Metal watch straps
Leather watch straps

How are watch straps measured?

Watch straps are normally measured in millimetres and if they’re two-piece straps, will not include any metal buckles. Measurements for two-piece straps such as leather straps are commonly displayed as the following “120mm/80mm”.

These measurements are two individual ones. In this case, the larger number (120mm) is the full length of the longest piece of watch strap from the tip to the top of the strap. The second number (in this example, that's 80mm) is the full length of the second, smaller piece of watch strap, excluding the buckle.

The Longines Spirit on a dark brown leather strap from watchgecko

The Longines Spirit on the Simple Handmade Leather in Chocolate Brown - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Metal strap measurements are displayed commonly with its full length from end to end, including the buckle. Metal strap listings will include the longest length available as well as the shortest with all links removed or micro adjustments made. This will give you an accurate idea on if the bracelet will fit your wrist.

A little like both of the above straps for different reasons, a one piece NATO strap measurement is the whole length of the material without the buckle included.

Can all watch straps be changed? Are watch straps interchangeable?

Not all watch straps can be changed, but the majority can.

Get in contact with us at WatchGecko here if you’d like some clarity on if the strap on your watch can be changed. We have over 10 years of experience with watch straps and have seen it all!

What is the best leather for watch straps?

There are many great types of leather that are used on watch straps some of the best include top grain, pull up leather, Horween chromexcel and Italian. At WatchGecko we have a fantastic and diverse range of leather watches that all make the most of the best leathers on the market.

Check out our range here.

The Laco 95 on a grey suede watch strap from watchgecko

The Laco 95 on the Chedworth Suede Strap in Grey, available here! - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Are leather watch straps good?

Leather watch straps are great for many reasons but their main benefit is their supreme comfort. They’re brilliant watch strap options for everyday wear and can really smarten up a watch and outfit.

There are many colours to choose from with leather watch straps including black, brown, handmade, suede and racing styles. Check out the full range of leather watch straps here!

What are NATO watch straps?

NATO watch straps are one-piece watch straps commonly made of nylon that thread through the spring bars of a watch to create a very secure fit. When offered in nylon, they’re normally very lightweight, comfortable and will dry quickly if wet.

At WatchGecko, we also offer NATO straps in leather and rubber - why not have a browse here!

The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT on a black and gold nylon nato watch strap from watchgecko

The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT on the Henwick Single Pass NATO - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

What are the best NATO straps?

There are many watch strap shops offering NATO straps, but the best range is available at WatchGecko with a vast selection and styles and colours starting from just £16.

Spice up your watch collection with some unique NATOs here!

Do NATO straps scratch?

NATO straps made of nylon can scratch if under heavy, demanding use as they can get caught on rough surfaces, but the degree of the damage depends on the quality of the nylon used. NATO watch straps won’t scratch your watch is attached and worn correctly.

Are nylon watch straps durable?

Because of the material they’re made from, quality NATO watch straps are lightweight, comfortable, quick-drying when wet and also very durable. Some tougher nylons will result in a more durable strap than materials such as seatbelt. Not all NATO straps are created equally however as Explore a full and refined range of NATOs here!

What is the difference between NATO and ZULU straps?

The most obvious difference between NATO and ZULU straps is down to the amount of nylon featured and the hardware. NATOs typically have an extra piece of nylon behind the main piece of strap. ZULUs are traditionally one piece. NATO hardware is commonly more squared and slim whereas ZULU hardware is rounded and a little more chunky.

As the market and general interest around nylon straps increases, the goalposts have begun to shift meaning we’re starting to see products such as Single Pass NATOs like this one!

Who makes the best rubber watch straps?

There are many great rubber watch straps on the market, however, we’ve found that ZULUDIVER makes the best rubber watch straps. These are in stock and available on the WatchGecko site right here.

The Seiko SKX on a blue rubber diving watch strap from ZULUDIVER

The Seiko SKX on the ZULUDIVER 284 Rubber Strap - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Are rubber watch straps good?

Rubber watch straps are very good! They excel when paired with sporty watches such as diving watches making them ideal for an active lifestyle. Our range of rubber straps offer many unique styles, colours and choices designed to complement your adventure ready watch, why not start finding your next rubber strap here?

How long do rubber watch straps last?

Depending on the quality of the rubber, rubber watch straps can last a long time. Cheap rubber watch straps are prone to breaking easily under harsh conditions and hard use. We’d recommend going for rubber watch straps that use materials such as FKM rubber, Italian rubber and offer properties including being freshwater, saltwater and UV-resistant.

At WatchGecko, we have a wide selection of quality ZULUDIVER rubber straps - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Are silicone watch straps durable?

People assume silicone watch straps are poor quality, however not all silicone watch straps are created equal. Like most watch straps, you get what you pay for so we’d recommend spending around £20 to get yourself a durable silicone watch strap. Check out this great option here!

Do all Fossil watches have interchangeable straps?

The majority of Fossil watches use standard straight lugs meaning you can change the strap on them for standard. For an extensive range full of choices be sure to check out our watch straps right here!

The Omega Speedmaster on a grey and black striped nylon NATO strap by ZULUDIVER

The Omega Speedmaster on our Classic Bond NATO strap - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Does Omega sell leather straps?

Yes, Omega leather watch straps are available through their website with prices starting from £165.

However, quality leather watch straps don’t need to cost the same as a watch - you can get your hands on one starting from just £18 right here!

How much are Omega NATO straps?

Omega NATO straps can be quite expensive, costing £140.

However, quality NATO straps don’t need to cost the same as a watch - you can get your hands on one starting from just £16 right here!

Can you replace Swatch watch straps?

Yes, you can replace Swatch watch straps.

They do require a specific fitting so standard straight end watch straps do not fit, however, our watch strap for Swatch will fit watches with a 17mm width at the lugs. Take a look at our strap for Swatch here!

Can you get replacement straps for Ice watches?

The majority of Ice Watches use standard straight lugs meaning you can change the strap on them. For an extensive range full of choices, be sure to check out our watch straps right here!

the Rolex Submariner on a padded sailcloth watch strap from ZULUDIVER

The Rolex Submariner 16610 on the ZULUDIVER Quick Release Sailcloth Padded, available here! - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Does Rolex sell straps?

Rolex doesn’t officially sell straps for their watches. However, if you have a good relationship with a local authorised dealer they may be able to help you but that would very much be at the discretion of the retailer and isn’t guaranteed.

Check out our range of watch straps for Rolex watches here.

Where can I buy watch straps online?

WatchGecko offers the highest quality watch straps available on the market that strike the right balance between attention to detail, comfort and price. We use our expertise combined with more than 10 years of experience to offer watch straps to like-minded watch collectors.

Take a tour of our watch straps right here.

watch spring bars used to attach watch straps to watches

Looking for some springbars? We have plenty here! - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Which spring bars do I need to get for my watch and strap?

We offer three main different types of spring bars on the WatchGecko site. Each set can be used in slightly different ways and suit specific watch types. Here is a general breakdown overall look at each:

Standard Diameter Replacement Spring Bars:

This is our standard set of spring bars. They will work on 9/10 watch straps we offer thanks to their thickness of 1.78mm and a tip diameter of 0.8mm. The chances are if you’re in the market for a new set of spring bars these will be the ones you’ll want to go for. Discover more here.

Replacement Spring Bars For Diver's Watches:

These spring bars are slightly thicker than our standard range, however, the main difference here is the tip diameter which is 1.1mm up from 0.8mm. The body is also 0.3mm thicker which makes it a good option if you have a diving watch and you’re looking to fit standard watch straps to it. Check them out right here.

2.5mm Diameter Seiko Style "Fat" Spring Bar

Finally we have our thickest spring bars designed for divers watches, more often than not specifically for Seiko watches. Certain Seiko divers use thicker spring bars both for the body and the tip end hence where these come in. The tip diameter is 1.1mm and the body is 2mm thick.

If you’re looking for a direct replacement for official Seiko diver spring bars this is the set to go for. Add these spring bars to your cart here!

How do you cut and seal NATOs straps?

Nylon NATOs can be cut either with sharp scissors or a sharp knife. Once you have cut your NATO to the desired new length, you’ll then need to seal the nylon so it doesn’t fray. For this, we would recommend using a naked flame. The nylon will only need to be under the flame for a few seconds for it to harden and seal the loose nylon.

Top tip: If you’re looking to shorten a NATO and want to replicate the curved end of the strap, try cutting around a coin with a sharp knife to get the same curve.

the Certina DS PH200M on a black rubber tropic watch strap from ZULUDIVER

The Certina DS PH200M on a ZULUDIVER Tropic Rubber Strap - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

How do you add extra holes to watch straps?

To add extra holes to your watch strap, we’d recommend using a leather hole punch to achieve a clean, consistent punch. Alternatively, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself a local jeweller will be able to assist you.

“What straps do you recommend for my watch?”

We receive many questions every day asking us for strap recommendations for specific watches. We regularly feature the most popular watches in our strap showcase series right here. However, due to the sheer amount of watches available, we may not have specifically covered your watch.

If this is the case, we’d recommend checking out our strap showcase content here to see if we have featured a watch similar to yours.

Alternatively, we’re just an email away!

If you send us the following information we’d be more than happy to assist you in your watch strap hunt:

  • The reference number of your watch
  • If you have an image of the watch as well that can help the identification process
  • The type of watch strap you’re looking for. This could include your preference on strap material, strap colours as well as the types of environments you’d be wearing the watch in. For example, a diving watch suits a rubber strap and a leather strap perfectly, however, if you’re looking for a strap that will accompany you and your watch swimming, then a leather strap wouldn’t work
  • If applicable, the budget you’re looking to stay within.

Our helpful, friendly team can’t wait to help you find your new perfect watch strap - get in touch here!

the Tudor Black Bay 58 divers watch with a selection of leather watch straps from WatchGecko

We have a fantastic and diverse range of leather watches that all make the most of the best leathers on the market, check them out for yourself here!- Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

What causes discolouration in rubber watch straps?

Discolouration in rubber watch straps is caused by the strap absorbing colour pigments from something such as a dark towel, jeans, or something else that rubs against the strap constantly. Straps in light colours, like orange, will pick up colours from fabrics and materials (sometimes referred to as pigment emitters) that have been poorly or excessively dyed. Dark coloured jeans can especially be prime examples of this.

Rubber watch straps have pores, almost like skin, and they can react like uncoated leather. If dark coloured pigments entered the pores, it will not be easy getting them out again. While this is true for dyes, normal dirt can be easily washed away with warm water and soap.

The comfort of the ZULUDIVER rubber straps is due to their unique natural skin-like feel and structure but this also comes with the above-mentioned disadvantage.

I have a question about watch straps that hasn't been answered above, what should I do?

Get in touch! Our customer service team dedicate their time to helping people seeking advice and guidance like yourself - it's just what makes them tick! Reach out to us by click here - we can't wait to hear from you.

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