And some points in favor of leather, rubber or NATO straps too.

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Rolex Jubilee bracelet in all its glory

Divide and Conquer

With modern watchmaking trivia being almost all about the marvelous mechanical engineering or traditional design codes, it’s easy to overlook the importance of some basic utilitarian parts like bracelets. You strap a watch with it, nothing to talk about here, right? In reality though, there are at least several important reasons to prefer bracelet over the usual straps and they all deserve to be mentioned. Surely, the whole conversation is rather rhetorical, for even if we agree, that there are enough watch lovers with strong appreciation for either straps or bracelets and equally strong dislikes for the other, most collectors seem to dig both. And what is an obvious ‘pro’ in one situation may quickly turn into ‘conra’ in the other.
Richard Mille RM07-01 with carbon TPT bracelet

Virtually unlimited maintenance

While there are brands in modern hi-end watchmaking producing ceramic, carbon or other exotic-based bracelets, in most cases however, we’re talking some kind of metal: usually steel, gold, or platinum. Metal generally has a far greater longevity margin than any leather or rubber. You can always take your bracelet to service center, dumb it into the ultrasonic cleaner and take it out as fresh and clean as the morning snow. No matter how many years it served by your side, some polishing will inevitably bring back all its original sparkle, so the precious companion on your wrist could remain more or less in original condition. Leather will age, wear, tear, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s not always a bad thing, after all lots of new pieces are sold with artificially aged straps. But for a brand new looks you’ll have to replace the strap from time to time. And we’re not even talking hot summer near the seaside situations here. Salty water and sweaty hands is a deadly combo for any leather.
Bvlgari Serpenti Seduttori Ref. 103159 in white gold and diamonds

Greater visibility

Like it or not, but luxury watches are a statement too. And if you don’t mind some extra attention, dive into the precious metal territory right away. The beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder, but in terms of funky bling-bling nothing beats a solid gold watch on a gold bracelet. And as all top rappers know, adding some ice would raise the bar even higher. Naturally, this relates to ladies’ pieces too, for no strap could ever provide its owner with the equal gem-setting options. Not to mention the fact, that precious metal bracelets make a perfect team with all other jewelry of the same material, while any leather strap needs to fit a particular dress first. And if in case of flamboyant men’s fashion one could use some rubber straps, especially in screaming toxic colors or sometimes even gleaming in the dark, the feminine glamour knows no such substitutions.
Zenith Defy El Primero 21 in titanium on the integrated bracelet

It’s always better to start with a bracelet

In terms of customizations or replacements bracelets aren’t the best bet. Anything out of original material or materials of your watch case would surely look ridiculous. And don’t forget that matching the sizes and even the textures is no small issue either. So if you’re not a strictly no-bracelet person, the rule of thumb is always to buy the bracelet versions of everything. Trust us, finding a particular bracelet later on, especially after a couple of years, is a rough adventure. Meanwhile, a whole world of custom tailored alligator straps or minimalistic NATO is always ready to step in. The strap can dramatically change the looks or mood of any bracelet watch, and the transition is rather easy, so if you by chance still haven’t tried one, we highly encourage you to start experimenting. Having an original bracelet to return to makes the game a lot more safe and fun.