Some of us have probably spotted the Bund strap on Paul Newman’s wrist with his just as famous Rolex Daytona, or paired up with the Kind of Cool Steve McQueen’s Hanhart 417 chronograph. Too cool for school…we know. But before decorating the wrists of glamorous Hollywood stars, the bund strap humbly served an crucial military purpose.
Bund Strap Origins
Bund straps were first issued to German aviators during WWII by the Federal Republic of Germany, a.k.a. Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
Particularly useful in hostile war circumstances, the strap was equipped with the famous bund, a protective leather backing that came between the wrist and the watch. So no matter how intensely hot or cold conditions could get during service on the field or in the air, the wearer would suffer no consequence. A temperature-sensitive metal watch case could never scald or freeze to a wrist…thanks to that extra piece of backing.
Another perk? Its ability to absorb significant amounts of sweat in extreme heat. Even if government-issued watches during WWII weren’t exactly waterproof, the bund worked like a charm preventing heavy sweat from entering and damaging the watch.
What exactly is a Bund Strap?
You can literally spot a bund strap a mile away. Composed of 2 or 3 parts, the strap’s constant is the protective leather backing, or bund. To that you add a two-piece classic leather strap for watches with removable spring bars and voila! A classic Officer Bund Strap.
Now for those who sport vintage military watches with fixed lugs, no worries, there’s a dashing one piece strap option. Very similar to a NATO strap, this straight piece will easily glide through and fix a bund to a watch with fixed lugs.
The making of a good Bund Strap
In addition to the common criteria of choosing any leather accessory – quality of leather, finish, and tanning – balanced proportions are key to a well-made bund ensemble. In our version of the famous strap, we’ve refined and slimmed down the piece of leather backing. We also shortened the bund and rounded its edges to give the ensemble a more stylish modern look without sacrificing it’s fundamental goal to protect the wrist.
Besides a modernized design, the leather we chose for the strap is a fine polished calfskin (think of elegant Officer boots). Irresistibly smooth and soft, this strap will gradually develop an amazing patina.
It goes without saying that for those who get tired of the bund ensemble, can simply remove its backing and the strap becomes your classic two-piece strap or a one-piece U.S. Military strap. Too easy…
For those who are interested in taking a closer look at our bund straps, it’s this way.