When the weather starts getting warmer, attention it turned to changing out parts of our wardrobe that simply do not work for the weather. For instance, the heavy wool sweaters get tucked away for the season, and we instead start breaking out the short sleeves and shorts. For many of us, that attention also turns to our watches. Swapping out heavier leather and steel for something else can get your watch and wrist ready for summer. To that end, we have a few options new this year from Suigeneric and Crown & Buckle.
First up, let’s talk Suigeneric. Matt just reviewed a set of these not too long ago, and I of course had an initial review even before that. As I noted in that earlier review, these are indeed one of the thicker NATO-style straps that you are likely to run across (now measuring in at 1.5mm thick). The straps themselves are a bit longer now, coming in at 10.5 inches long (they were 9.5 previously) which will give a wider range of fitment.
So, you might be wondering, why would you want a heavier cotton strap like we have with the Suigeneric? That lies with the “waxed” portion of things. When you have a waxed fabric (like we have on the Suigeneric straps) you actually have some waterproofing built in. No, these are not straps that you probably want to swim in, but they should be able to hold up against the occasional splash, or even your own perspiration.
For this round with Suigeneric, we were sent two radically different styles. The first, which is blue with a white pinstripe, definitely had more of an office-ready feel to it. This was, in large part, due to the fact that I have a shirt for work that has a similar pattern to it. And, in fact, it worked rather well with that shirt (as well as others) when I headed into the office. For something a bit more casual, we also saw a red, white, and blue that has a sun-faded sort of look, perfect for more casual outings in the summer. As with my earlier reviews, these are straps that take some time to conform to your wrist – but once set, they’re comfortable, and definitely robust feeling. In other words, these feel like tough straps that are ready to take on summer with you. Which is good, considering that the Suigeneric waxed cotton straps run about $35. Not expensive by any means, but something you definitely want to last a good long while.
On the other hand, you might prefer something a bit more lightweight – literally. While the Suigeneric straps came in around 18g apiece, the new perlon straps from Crown & Buckle actually clock in at 3g. These straps are made of a braided nylon, and C&B have been making them for about a year now, and feel they have a reliable factory turning them out. These type of straps have a a great vintage tie as well, given that they are from the same era that saw rubber tropic straps come into being.
For the modern watch-wearer, the braided nylon has a few great qualities that make it a good choice for summer. First off, given the use of nylon, it makes for an extremely light strap, as I noted previously. Second, with the woven nature of the material, you actually have a strap that’s a bit more breathable than a solid nylon would be. After that, it becomes more a matter of style preference. I personally like the texture that the weave gives, and if you mix in some bold colors, well, then you’ve got an eye-catcher of a strap.
We were sent two straps to check out, both in 20mm (also available in 18mm and 22mm). The one in orange was a perfect fit to the Seiko Orange Monster, and the charcoal one was paired to the Michelsen Arctic Explorer. At least, that’s how things started out. The great thing about nylon straps like this is how easy they are to swap, and swapping these between watches was done as well. I found the straps to be rather comfortable (not soft, but not scratchy either), and with it’s woven nature, you get a perfect fit.
What I mean by that is that you are not restricted to preset holes for the buckle to align to. With the braid, you just adjust the tang to where you want the fit at, pop it through, and off you go. So, if you have troubles with strap fitment (first hole being too tight, but the next one out making the strap too loose), the Crown & Buckle perlon could definitely work out well. In terms of length, these clock in a 10.5 inches as well, but are only 1mm thick.
As I mentioned, we received two different colors in for review. It did seem to me that the charcoal strap was slightly narrower than the orange one, but it still worked fine both watches. And frankly, with prices for the straps falling under $10, picking up a few different colors (of the 12 on offer) seems like a great way to go. You can swap things around as you see fit, and give a much different look to your watch. And I did not count the colors available, but there are a lot – there are likely 2 or more that would work for whatever watch you have in mind.
As you can see, getting some upgrades for your watch does not have to be an expensive proposition. Whether you find yourself drawn to the waxed cotton of the Suigeneric or the lightweight nature of the the Crown & Buckle options, you’ve got a quick and easy way to add some color to your watch, and sets it up for easy changes throughout the summer as you wish. Just be careful – once you start picking up a variety of straps, odds are that you’ll need another box to keep them all in. Let us know in the comments what some of your favorite summertime strap options are.