Everything You Need to Know About Watch Bracelets
When it comes to wristwatches, the band or bracelet is just as important as the watch face itself. And when it comes to watch bracelets, there are many different metals and designs available on the market. If you have never purchased a watch bracelet before, you may be overwhelmed with the options available. There are so many options that it can be difficult to find something that will fit your style and personality. To help make choosing the right watch bracelet easier, I have compiled this article on different types of watch bracelets. From simple to fancy, I have covered with all the different watch bracelet types so you can choose one that fits your style.
- Different Metals For Watch Bracelets
- Types of Watch Bracelets
- Different Types of Watch Bracelets
- Tips For Buying a Watch Bracelet
Different Metals For Watch Bracelets
Different metals for watch bracelets include stainless steel, titanium, gold, silver, etc. Each metal has its own unique benefits that make it ideal for different people.
Stainless Steel is a non-corrosive and anti-magnetic metal that has a protective finish that creates an effective barrier against microbes and damage to the watch. In addition to its high resistance to corrosion, stain bright, and durable luster, it is also highly resistant to abrasion and is resistant to breakage. Corrosion Resistance also means that it lasts longer and the finishing elements are not affected by the corrosive effects of sweat. Therefore, it is very unlikely to lose its finish after heavy use.
Grades of Stainless Steel: 316L & 904L
Most watch manufacturers use 316L stainless steel to make their bracelets. 316L stainless steel has properties that are intended to last a long time. This means that it resists rust, corrodes, and tarnishes. Both types of stainless steel, 316L, and 904L have the same strengths and weaknesses, but the difference between the two is that the 904L has more corrosion resistance and durability. But it also costs more than 316L. Therefore, renowned watchmakers like Rolex and OMEGA use 904L in their watches.
Titanium watch bracelets are somewhat more expensive than stainless steel but they are much lighter and stronger. Titanium is almost three times stronger than stainless steel. It is also hypoallergenic and corrosion-resistant.
Hypoallergenic means that it does not irritate your skin and will not interact with your body chemistry making it safe for you to wear. Citizen and Seiko both frequently use titanium bracelets in their high-end watches.
Gold watch bracelets are highly durable as they are the most corrosion resistant than the above two metals, so you don’t have to worry about your gold bracelet rusting, tarnishing, or corroding. Gold bracelets can retain their shine for a long time. They are more expensive than other metal bracelets, but it is a risk worth taking when you know you are investing in something long-lasting. These bracelets are often used in luxury watches and are suitable for women’s watches.
Other metals, such as silver, platinum, and white gold, are also used for watch bracelets, but I won’t go into detail about them because they aren’t used very often. However, I discussed all of these materials in my other article about watch case materials. If you want to know about them, please read that article by following the link after reading this article.
Types of Watch Bracelets
In addition to materials, there are different types of watch bracelet available, each with certain characteristics. But, before I get into each type, I’d like to share some terminology about watch bracelets to help you understand them better.
Some Terms About Watch Bracelets
Simply put, links are individual small metal components that are screwed together to form a bracelet. They are the building blocks of a watch bracelet. They come in a variety of sizes and designs that you’ll see when I’ll discuss the various watch bracelet styles.
The end links are the links at the end of the watch bracelet that are designed specifically to connect the bracelet to the watch case. Each bracelet has two end links.
There are two kinds of end links: hollow end links and solid end links. The hollow end links are made of a thin and hollow piece of stamped or formed metal that is connected to the bracelet by a spring bar. Because of the less precise fit, a hollow end link usually has a little more rattle than a solid end link. There is also less physical contact with the watch.
A solid end link or SEL, on the other hand, is made from a single thick and heavy piece of metal and in general, is permanently connected to the rest of the bracelet. A Solid end link will connect to the case with a more precise fit because of its inherent and larger contact point. Solid End Links are more durable, quiet, and elegant, the bracelet appearing to ‘merge’ with the watch.
The choice between hollow and solid end links is purely personal. In general, hollow end links tend to have a more vintage feel, while solid end links tend to fit better.
The Clasp is a bracelet closure that is used to open or close the bracelet. They come in different designs depending on the type of bracelet and overall appearance of the watch.
Note: In my another post, I discussed different types of watch clasps and how to use them; read it to learn more about watch clasps.
Let’s take a look at the various bracelet types (styles).
Different Types of Watch Bracelets
The Oyster Bracelet
The Oyster is a three-piece link metal bracelet, with two rows of smaller links on either side of a middle row of large flat links. It was first used by Rolex and is still considered the most iconic of the bracelet types because of the way the links all have a uniform size.
19mm Stainless Steel Oyster Bracelet
It has a tendency to look more formal and emphasizes simplicity. A link can be removed or replaced at any time, so wearing it for years is not anything out of the question. In addition, the oyster bracelets also come in different sizes (whether 18mm, 19mm, or 20mm) that can accommodate the need for either extra large or small wrists.
They come in two types. The first is the super oyster and the second is the regular oyster. The difference between the two is that the super oysters generally have thicker screw-in pins and solid end links, making them heavier and more solid than regular oysters.
The Jubilee Bracelet
Unlike the oyster bracelet’s 3-link design, the jubilee bracelet is created with a 5-link design. It has two rows of huge links and three rows of tiny middle links. The jubilee bracelet was first introduced in 1945 by Rolex on its 40 anniversary. It was designed specifically for Rolex Datejust.
Seiko Original Stainless Steel 22mm Jubilee Watch Band. The bracelet is being sold by the Seiko Store on Amazon. You can see further details about it on Amazon by clicking the image.
The jubilee bracelet is the second most popular bracelet in the watch world. You’ve most likely seen it on Rolex and Seiko watches. They come in a variety of finishes and materials as well as many sizes to better fit on the wrist. They are also a bit more comfortable to wear than oyster bracelets.
Two-tone (Gold & Silver) jubilee bracelets are also popular in the market. Basically, they are made of stainless steel with a gold PVD coating on the middle little links.
20mm Two Tone Jubilee Watch Bracelet Compatible with Rolex Datejust 16078 16200 16203
They are also classified into two types. The first is the Angus (regular) jubilee and the second is the Super jubilee. The difference between the two is that the Angus-j has a larger clasp than the Super-j and the second major difference is the size of the links. The Angus-j links are much larger, much thicker, and even much heavier than the super-j links. Simply said, the links in the Angus-j are hollow whereas the links in the Super-j are solid.
The President Bracelet
The president bracelet is somewhat similar to the oyster bracelet in that it is a three-link design. But It has curved links as opposed to the flat links of the oyster bracelet.
20mm Stainless Steel President Bracelet
The president bracelet was first introduced in the 1960s by Rolex. It was designed specifically for the President of the United States. The President Bracelet is one of the most popular styles because it is versatile and can be worn with a variety of outfits. It is also one of the most comfortable to wear because of its curved links.
The Pearlmaster Bracelet
The Pearlmaster bracelet is a five-link bracelet with a single row of large middle links and two rows of tiny links on either side. The links are slightly rounded.
Image Source: Watchesofswitzerland.com
The Pearlmaster bracelets are a popular choice for women’s watches because it is comfortable to wear and looks good with a variety of outfits. It is only made from precious metals like yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, or platinum. The first Pearlmaster bracelet was introduced in the 1992s by Rolex and was designed specifically for the Rolex Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster watch collection.
The Milanese Bracelet
The Milanese Bracelets are made from metal wires that are twisted together to form a bracelet. The Milanese Bracelets give an elegant and sophisticated look to any outfit.
The Milanese bracelet was produced in the late 1800s by the Milanese watchmakers. And then German watch strap manufacturers Staib and Vollmer, began making Milanese or Mesh watch bracelets in the 1920s, which appeared on many classic timepieces. Now the Milanese bracelets are commonly seen on fitness trackers and smartwatches. They also come with different finishes like polished, satin, etc. I discussed different finishes in another article. Read it by following the link after you’ve finished reading this article.
The Shark Mesh Bracelets
Shark Mesh Bracelets are similar to Milanese bracelets in that they are made from metal wires twisted into a bracelet. The shark mesh bracelets have somewhat larger and looser links than the Milanese bracelets.
Mesh watch bracelets look sleek and stylish on the wrist and provide excellent grip. They are also easy to clean and maintain. The first mesh watch bracelet was introduced by Omega in the 1970s. It was designed specifically for Omega’s Seamaster line of watches.
Note: The Milanese and Shark Mesh Bracelets are also available in a variety of sizes. Some manufacturers offer Milanese and Shark Mesh Bracelets with removable links, so you can easily customize the length of the bracelet to fit your wrist. When purchasing a Milanese or shark mesh bracelet, make sure that it can be adjusted according to the size of your wrist.
The Beads of Rice Bracelet
The Beads of Rice Bracelets are made of a number of small beads that are strung together and two rows of large flat links on either side of the beads. Some of them only have small metal beads and no rows of large links.
The bracelet follows the shape of the wrist, giving it a more comfortable fit and a more stylish look. These bracelets were manufactured in the 1940s. Now they are mostly seen on vintage and dress watches. They are also available in a variety of sizes. The clasp also allows you to adjust the length in micro-increments.
The Engineer Bracelet
The Engineer Bracelets are made of five rows of equally sized links. Each link has a hexagonal shape. The thicker links make these bracelets feel heavier on the wrist. It was once common to see these bracelets on Seiko dive watches.
These days, they are used by different brands on a variety of watches. The Engineer Bracelet is suitable for watches with heavy cases and large dials.
The Bonklip Bracelet
Walter M. Krementz, a jewelry specialist based in New Jersey, invented the Bonklip Bracelets in the late 1920s. During the 1950s and 1960s, these bracelets were widely used on British military watches. Their popularity spread from the United Kingdom to the rest of the world.
The Bonklip bracelet is made of two separate rows of links that are connected with a closed-end link. Both rows are made of flat, thin loops that are connected by tubular links. One of the rows slides into the other through a slightly bigger loop at the end. The small L-shaped clasp that looks like another link at first glance can be positioned along the entire wrist length. It can be tucked in between any of the two links along the entire row.
The main advantage of the Bonklip Bracelet is that it can be infinitely adjusted to fit any wrist size. The design of the Bonklip Bracelet is very unique and has been used on all sorts of watches, from Rolex to Patek Philippe. It is especially suitable for watches with small cases and (In my opinion) looks perfect on women’s watches. But It’s also popular on men’s watches.
The Ladder Bracelet
The Ladder Bracelet was first introduced in the mid of twentieth century by famous bracelet manufacturer Gay Frères. It was prominently paired alongside the famous Zenith El Primero watch. Now the well-known American company Forstner has recreated its own version of the Ladder Bracelet.
The ladder bracelet is similar to an oyster bracelet but has larger gaps between the center links. The gaps lighten the bracelet and make it more flexible and comfortable to wear on the wrist.
The Forstner Ladder Bracelet with straight bar end links is compatible with a variety of watches. At the clasp, the bracelet tapers to 16mm, and it also includes micro-adjustments for a perfect fit. The ladder Bracelets are the perfect choice for vintage watches because they give a vintage look to the watch.
Tips For Buying a Watch Bracelet
If you are looking to buy a metal watch bracelet there are some things that you should keep in mind. The following are some tips that will help you find the best metal watch bracelet.
Make Sure That The Bracelet Fits Well on Your Watch Case
Every watch has a different case diameter and lug width. Make sure to measure your watch’s lug width and the specific part of the watch case where the end links of the bracelet meet. It can be challenging to find a third-party bracelet that fits perfectly on your watch case. Most bracelet end links do not fit perfectly with the watch case; this can only be attained if the end links are manufactured with the specific watch case in mind.
That is why the bracelet that comes with the watch is incompatible with other watches because the end links of that bracelet are specifically designed to fit on a specific watch case. Although some bracelets manufacturers sell end links separately for specific watches, it’s not for all watches.
So, if you’re looking to buy a watch bracelet, be sure to find one that fits well and that can be done by matching the watch case of your watch with the end links of the bracelet practically. If you are successful in finding the perfect match, congratulations! and If it doesn’t fit perfectly, that’s okay too; at the very least, it should look good on your watch.
And if you want to purchase online then it is good practice to tell the seller the watch model no for which you want to purchase the bracelet. Some manufacturers state in the product description that this bracelet is compatible with that particular watch case. So purchase after you ensure that the bracelet will fit your watch.
Bracelet Matches The Watch Case
Another thing you should consider before purchasing a watch bracelet is the bracelet matches the overall look of the watch case. Choosing a bracelet that matches your watch case’s finish is important. If your watch case has a polished finish, choose a polished bracelet. A combination of Brushed and polished finish on the bracelet also looks well with a polished watch case or vice versa. A matte finish case only looks perfect with a matte finish bracelet.
Not only should you consider the finish of your watch, but you should also consider the bracelet style that I have discussed under the different watch bracelet styles, which styles are best for which type of watch.
Make Sure That The Bracelet Fits on Your Wrist
Before purchasing a watch bracelet, make sure it will fit comfortably on your wrist and is not too big or too small. Mostly bracelets now have links that can be removed to make the watch fit better around your wrist.
Select The Bracelet Style That Suits Your Wrist
The bracelet styles that I’ve mentioned above are the most common. Some look perfect for thin wrists, while others for thick wrists, and some are suitable for both. So choose the bracelet style which suits your wrist the best.
Ask for a Refund
The important thing that you need to ask for is a refund. If the bracelet does not meet your expectations or does not fit properly on your wrist or watch case, you may request this. This will help you save both time and money.
Hope you like the article, if you have any questions regarding this article then please let me know in the comment section below. I tried my best to cover every aspect of the watch bracelets. If you think I missed something then please let me know. I always welcome your suggestions and feedback.