Focus on: The ABC’s of Steel Watch Bracelets
Focus on: The ABC's of Steel Watch Bracelets
The steel bracelet. Originally created to accompany sport and dive watches so that leather straps would not deteriorate due to repeated contact with water or heavy sweating, there are almost as many steel watch bracelets as there are watch cases and dial colours. Having said that, designing a bracelet that’s both elegant and comfortable is no easy task. Steel needs to be manipulated so that it won’t weigh down on an ensemble but enhance the presence of your watch case. Many have tried, few have succeeded.
Here’s a look at the most iconic and well-made steel watch bracelets that’ve inspired entire generations.
Rolex Oyster Bracelets
The creme de la creme of steel watch bracelets, the Oyster was designed by Rolex to adorn their sport watches. A 3-part link that usually drops 4mm from the lugs to the clasp. Finesse, comfort and simplicity. Although the bracelet has evolved technically since its creation in the 1940’s, the design remains intact, and we couldn’t be more pleased.
The famous Oyster bracelet was first made with folded links (the most vintage version, light and flexible, but the most fragile as well). Today’s version uses solid center links, more resistant but heavier and thicker than its predecessors.
Rolex Jubilee Bracelets
Second iconic bracelet also from the crown brand, the Jubilee bracelet. A 1980’s icon we often associate with the GMT-Master and Pepsi bezel, and the “Datejust.” Just as his big brother the Oyster, the bracelet was made with folded links before moving on the solid ones.
You’ve probably noticed that this bracelet is back in style and enjoying the spotlight again. Not surprising since we are looking at the most comfortable steel bracelet ever made thanks to its 3 central interdependent links. Flexibility and suppleness in all its glory…
The Milanese Mesh
This is the watch strap of the Seventies if there ever was one, a.k.a. the Milanese Mesh. With its crocheted mesh, the priority clearly goes to functionality. The authentic look of vintage divers par excellence, made popular by the Omega PloProf and other Seamasters.
A bracelet that goes wonderfully well on both feminine and masculine wrists, Gentlemen whose forearm is not smooth should take care to avoid “hair-pinching” versions.
N.B. : Note: There exists numerous other beautiful and excellently-made steel bracelets, such as the Omega Speedmaster link bracelets, ones that embellish Royal Oak Audemars Piguet or the famous Patek Philippe Nautilus, to name just few. L’entreprise Gay Frères would also make several bracelets for Universal Geneve during the period of the Belle Epoque.
How to choose a good steel bracelet?
Depending on personal tastes and needs, choosing a steel bracelet will vary. Here’s some helpful tips to finding a quality piece.
3 Criteria to not neglect:
– It should be comfortable
– All its small parts and pieces should be meticulously finished in order to better match the lugs and the shape of the watch case
– It will not overpower the watch, neither in thickness nor in weight.