Many people do not seem to understand the purpose of wristwatches and the care and attention that should be given to various parts of the wristwatch.
A key part of or wristwatches are the straps.
Watch straps come in various shapes, textures and sizes. more importantly they come in a variety of materials and these require different types of care to get the value for money you plan.
WHAT ARE WATCH STRAPS?
Watch straps or watch bands are bracelet that straps the wrist watch onto the wrist. It is an important part of your watch. Watch straps come in a variety of materials and colours as earlier said and with the introduction of smartwatches they have become even more. When swapped out, they can totally change the look and style of your watch, and a well-maintained strap can keep your watch looking like new for years and years to come.
They may close with a buckle or a folding clasp. Watch straps are made of metal, leather, rubber or cloth.
Here are our best tips on how to clean them so they look sharp, smell fresh, and last as close to a lifetime as possible.
CARING FOR METAL WATCH BANDS
Metal bracelets can either be plated or made of precious metals. They are strong, cool to the touch and can increase a watch’s wrist presence but they also have the tendency to be heavy and sometimes a little too shiny.
They can be tricky to maintain because they collect dust and debris in between the segments. Keep in mind that frequent cleaning can cause deterioration or discoloration.
Try to dust your watch as much as possible, only using water. To get a really deep clean, use a soft brush and mild soapy water to gently wash away dirt and debris from the band.
In order to prevent rust, always wipe off any moisture immediately. Be especially sure to properly store your metal watch to avoid any scratching.
CARING FOR RUBBER/SILICONE WATCH STRAPS
Rubber straps are very flexible and suitable for sports. They are stretchy and waterproof but they aren’t breathable and can make your wrists sweaty.
Rubber straps can become dirty easily with regular wear because of the way they rub on the skin. Carefully remove dirt and debris by washing the strap regularly with mild soapy water. Be especially sure to rinse your watch if it is exposed to chlorine, salt water or excessive sweat.
Always let it thoroughly air dry after cleaning or rinsing it. Minimize the strap’s exposure to anything that could dry it out, such as perfume or rubbing alcohol. Know that rubber watch straps don’t have as long as a lifespan as other types of straps and generally need to be replaced every 18 months to two years.
CARING FOR LEATHER WATCH STRAPS
Leather watches can be textured based on the animal it is from or artificially embossed with a paint similar to the animal’s skin. It has a classic look and is very comfortable on the wrist, however it can wear out quicker than other types and many are not water resistant.
It is never a good idea to wear a leather watch in an active environment. Moisture can stain the leather and cause it to dry out and deteriorate over time.
Even water-resistant leather, will weaken over time if it’s exposed to too much water, so it’s best to remove your watch when swimming or bathing.
Try to avoid wearing the watch too tightly as this can stretch the band, causing deterioration. Let your leather strap breathe by taking it off from time to time, for example, when you sleep.
Try to avoid wearing your watch in direct sunlight as it can cause discoloration. To clean, rub the strap gently with a damp cloth, only using mild soap if you need a deeper clean.
CARING FOR NYLON STRAPS
Nylon straps include NATO, Zulu, Spandex and Perlon. The NATO strap has a double loop to properly secure it to the watch’s head. It adds a bit of bulk on the wrist. Zulu straps are basically single strap NATOs made with thicker fabric.
The spandex strap is elastic, has a fabric-like texture and is very comfortable but might not hold down a heavy watch head. The Perlon strap is superlight and breathable and does not need any strap hole, so it can be adjustable to whatever size your desire. Nylon straps are water resistant but have the tendency to fray on the edges when they get older.
To clean, run some lukewarm water over the straps while using your hand to wash off the dirt. You can also use a soft bristle brush with a gentle dish soap for deep cleaning, then rinse. If its not totally clean or when dealing with a stubborn stain, soak for six hours or overnight with cool water and a mild soap, then in the morning, repeat the brush scrubbing process and air dry.
CARING FOR FABRIC/CANVAS STRAPS
These are a bit similar to nylon straps but canvas straps use natural materials while nylon straps use synthetic materials. they are economical, casual and durable. They are water resistant and if they do get wet, they dry out quickly. However, they can easily trap dirt and wear out very quick.
Fabric straps are the easiest to clean, all you need do is use a mild dish soap and warm water and gently scrub the strap. Then rinse it thoroughly and set it on a flat surface to air dry.
It might take a while to get dry, so be patient. Do not use any kind of heater to dry it as there’s a risk of melting or burning the strap.