Leather Straps - Aesthetically pleasing...but that’s about it

I have only owned one watch that hasn’t been paired with a leather strap.

My first watch was a Seiko 4R35B, which came with a lovely black cow hide strap that lasted all of three months. That’s Seiko for you.

My second watch was a Tag Heuer Carrera 5 which looked almost exactly the same as the aforementioned Seiko, only this time it’s strap lasted just over a year. That’s Tag for you.

My current watch, although I do try not to wear it, is a Rolex 126600 which I acquired for my 21st birthday. This, of course, has a steel strap, which has predictably now lasted me nearly 2 years.

I have now concluded that there is little point to a leather strap beyond aesthetics; they wear quicker, they cause sweat to build up in the summer months, they are harder to clean, and then tend to be more expensive than their metal counterparts in the long term!

Anyone else feel the same? If you disagree, I’d love to hear why!


I like leather straps and have for now only 2 watches with metal strap: a Tudor BB58 and a full gold vintage.
I prefer the leather for comfort although I agree on the fact that is expensive (500€ each time I change on a Patek Ellipse and about 300€ for Grand Seikos).

Hi Arthur, you opened quite an interesting topic.

I love leather straps, and love that most brands help quickly swap them with a rubber or metal strap to adjust your timepiece to different seasons.

From this point of view, Cartier is topping my wish list; if you’re buying a Santos Chrono for example, you are offered with plenty of options. No other brand can compete with the French brand when it comes to changing your luxury watch’s personality.

Some use better suppliers than others; let me introduce Horween leather, they’re top notch (classic alligator straps excluded):


Either I choose a rugged sports leather or an alligator strap, I usually pick one with a pin buckle. I hate pinching my wrist, as it usually is with a folding buckle.

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When it comes to a Patek you might as well go leather: they’re all about aesthetics and precision so you might as well go ‘all out’.

In terms of precious metal straps, whilst they may outlast leather, the cost of repairing/replacing will likely exceed leather. Not to mention they’re much softer than steel, so would wear quicker.

However, a steel strap would look out of place on a gold watch, so whilst I still believe that overall steel is the better material choice, I will admit that there are circumstantial exceptions!


I’ll take a look and see if I can find a worthy replacement for my somewhat unloved Tag!

I’ve always wanted a Tank or a Santos, though if I were to get a Tank, it would definitely been one of those expeditions where it has to be a leather strap!

In regards to the buckle choice, the clasp (when correctly adjusted) is incredibly convenient and easy when compared to a buckle. However, a buckle does cause less stress on the leather. Tough choice.


I think that may depend also on the watch personality so there are watches that are best with leather, other with rubber and others with metal.
For example for dress watches I generally prefer leather (even if there are gorgeous vintage watches in full gold or platinum with marvelous bracelets that nowadays cannot be made due to excessive costs of man labour) while on sport/professional watches I tend to prefer the full steel version.
A very few models are ok in all versions, like the latest VC overseas IMHO.


I would counter that by pointing out that the datejust and/or daydate could be considered dress watches, however after further thought they’re actually the exception, and I can’t think of any other dress watches that use metal straps.

Then again, with watches like the nautilus redefining dive watches into no longer utilitarian watches, and more toward the original purpose of dress watches, is there really much of a thing as ‘dress watches’ any more?


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