alternative watch straps

From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

It's time to treat your timepiece to something other than a leather, rubber or NATO strap. From sailcloth to stingray leather, here are the best options...

We’ve all buckled up leather, rubber and even NATO straps — but why stop there? Your watch is the only accessory you wear all day, every day; so we’d recommend taking a step beyond the usual to make even more of a statement with your timepiece.

From Cordura to canvas, sailcloth to stingray leather, we’ve rounded up the best straps to buckle your watch game to the next level. So take a look — these are the best bands crafted from the most alternative fabrics, textiles and materials money can buy.

Cordura is a military grade material

There are few institutions as reliable as the military when it comes to quality watchmaking. They gave us the ‘Dirty Dozen’, huge technical leaps in pilot watches — and Cordura. Originally used in tyres by the military, this rayon derivative is today used in a wide array of products; from backpacks to watch straps.

And these are the best. Weiss leads the pack here, crafting Cordura into a strap made to last — and resistant to both abrasion and water. But there are cheaper options that still do the hardy job. Blushark sells a charming tan band, that comes lined with leather for a soft feel on the wrist, and Clockwork’s navy offering is made with top-quality, 1000 denier Cordura.

From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Weiss Olive Green Cordura Strap

£80

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From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

BluShark Cordura Tan Watch Strap

£26

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From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Clockwork Navy Cordura Watch Band

£24.95

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Nothing says extravagance like exotic leather

They may not be the most sustainable option, but boy do they make a statement. Exotic leathers have long been a marker of extravagance — and that goes doubly when they’re buckling a strapping, stylish timepiece to your wrist. And the options are many; from chicken leather (yes, it exists) to the considerably rarer and sleeker shark leather.

But we’d go for something recognisable yet distinctive in this department. From Hirsch, this genuine crocodile leather strap is punched by hand and lined with Softglove. SecTime’s understated ostrich option has a unique spotted pattern to ensure no two straps are the same. And, from Paulin, this incredible stingray strap has a scaly, complex surface.

From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Hirsch Genuine Crocodile Strap

£99

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From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

SecTime Genuine Ostrich Strap

£32.95

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From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Paulin Stingray Leather Strap

£112

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True boatmen buckle up sailcloth straps

When Blancpain first put a sailcloth strap on its Fifty Fathoms dive watch, it started something of a subaqueous style movement. As its name suggests, sailcloth was originally created to be the reliable, durable textile from which boating sails were woven. But, as seafaring vessels and maritime timepieces share such strong DNA, it was only a matter of time before boatsmen began buckling up sailcloth straps.

And so they should. One of the watch world’s most robust fabrics, you must only look at Zuludiver‘s Salient Sailcloth offering to see how stylish this material can be. Barton’s navy blue offering adds a sly nautical wink to the design, and MKS promises that its strap will never go limp, deteriorate or wilt away in the water.

From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Zuludiver Sailcloth Watch Strap

£28

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From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Barton Navy Blue Sailcloth Strap

£25

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A lightweight Perlon strap is braided and breathable

Whether it be a summer belt, or a pair of slip-on shoes, there’s something devil-may-care about woven textiles. They’re effortlessly stylish, interestingly textured and walk the smart-casual line with over-under ease. The same goes for woven watch straps — of which the tropically textured ‘perlon’ design is our favourite for warmer climes.

Among the best is this Palma perlon strap from Eulit; super comfortable and subtly coloured to pair well with most watches. From Crown & Buckle comes this braided offering, ultrasonically welded to secure the material and prevent fraying (really). Or, for a simple, natural band, Chicletties has this brown lightweight strap.

From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Elite Palma Perlon Watch Strap

£29

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From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Crown & Buckle Navy Braided Perlon

£16

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From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Chicletties Perlon Watch Band

£15.99

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Canvas is humble, simple and reliable

And, finally, comes canvas; the highly durable, modestly priced and often incredibly sustainable strap option. It may not have the flash of the exotic leathers, or even the durability of sailcloth or Cordura — but canvas is humble, simple and one of the best options if you’re prone to changing out your strap every couple of months or so.

And they won’t break the bank. Barton’s black strap is well-made, can be swapped in without any tools, and features embroidered holes for style and strength. Nodus’ navy option is soft and backed with water-resistant leather for extra comfort. And, from Timex, this quick release strap leans on the army aesthetic with its green and silver colour scheme.

From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Nodus Watches Navy Canvas Strap

£20

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From Cordura to canvas, buckle up the best alternative watch straps

Timex Quick Release Strap

£20

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Further Reading