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The Next Hour Neuchâtel
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SWITZERLAND

It’s not always about buying a new watch. Change the strap and you’ve got an entirely new model. In spirit of the festive season, discover a selection of our favorite watch straps that will bring a renaissance to your staple timepiece in the new year. Thank us later. 

Watch straps are largely misunderstood and overlooked. I say this because for a long time, I’ve done so myself. Picture the scene where Andrea Sachs is stood smirking at two cerulean blue belts in the offices of Runway Magazine in The Devil Wears Prada. “It’s so hard to choose, they’re both so different,” offers a member of staff, holding each accessory in one hand. 

If you know the scene, you’ll know the epic monologue that follows, rendering you frozen on the spot at the peril of Miranda Priestley. But for those unfamiliar with the nuances of two belts, both in a shade of blue and unable to remark their difference, picture it like a watch strap. Every single one is different, from stitch to fabric. Keep the dial, but switch the watch strap and you’ve got an entirely new watch. 

The strap is what frames the watch, the pièce de résistance that brings together the enigmatic beating heart of the – the bit that does the ticking known as the movement – and its scope to mould and inform the personality of the watch is paramount. It’s like hanging a painting on a wall, are you deep-set, floating, gold, engraved? Limitless choices.

While a watch is a reflection of our identity, the strap isn’t to be disregarded in the process – it speaks to who you are just as much. While I was ignorantly conditioned to believe they were either just metal or fabric, my eyes were broadened by the manifold categories of watch straps. You’ve got: the OG Metal bracelet: Most common, but there’s nothing homogenous about a metal strap, the leather strap (think croc, but not the shoes), rubber straps, silicone straps which can even be infused with scent (we’re screaming), nylon straps, canvas straps, mesh straps, and one that might have gone over your head, the NATO strap, a design first attributed to the British military, and its popularity in today’s watch community is ever-growing. Their original purpose was to prevent a service member from losing their watch if a spring bar let loose.

Hermès

Hermès made history in early 2016 with the announcement of its Apple Watch accessories. While orthodox horologists may have punched the air, it marked the next chapter of traditional horology joining the advancements of the modern world. But fear not, Hermès watch straps aren’t exclusive to the powers of Steve Jobs. Pictured above, is the Heure H watch strap in a smooth calfskin, fitting a 17.2 x 17.2 mm watch, long size,  with a 10 mm steel pin buckle and 13 mm lug, deriving from the Hermes H watch collection which made its debut in 1996.

Price: $390

Horus

While the Hermès strap might be exclusive to the house, if you’ve ever seen the orange camo watch strap on Meek Mill and wondered where on Earth it’s from, Horus is the answer. Founded in 2014, Horus aims to reinvigorate the watch industry with bold, yet ergonomic designs that position comfort and aesthetic in equal measure. Designed to perfectly compliment Swiss manufactured watches such as Audemars Piguet, Panerai, Rolex, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Bell & Ross and more. Pictured above, the strap is designed to be fitted with a tang buckle, this yellow style is made from durable, waterproof rubber and compatible with an ‘Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore’ reference.

Price: $235

MONTBLANC

Designed to be worn with Montblanc‘s ‘Summit’ smartwatches, designed to scale your mind and body to new heights and elevate personal goals, the strap is a neat reflection of style done subtly but well. If you only happen to reach the summit in name and not by mountain, this fabric iteration, made from blue and white nylon (the name is a big giveaway) with a stainless steel pin-buckle fastening. Hats off to those who guessed, it’s a NATO watch strap. Should that ever come up in a pub quiz, you’ll know what to do. 

Price: $180

Ralph Lauren

This might be a specific one, but we couldn’t not share our love for it. Made from fine silk twill and lined with French calfskin, this signature tartan strap is designed to be interchangeable with Ralph Lauren’s limited-edition Polo Bear watch collection, released in 2018 to commemorate Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary. Understated, but certainly far from plain, dubbed Macpherson Tartan, the french trap, measuring 20mm at the lugs and 18mm at the buckle is enough to make me want to actually buy the watch. A real return to watches as bracelets. 

Price: $335

Lac Crado

Fear not, there’s a strap for everyone and every watch. At LAC CRADO, a Singapore-based brand, the emphasis is on individuality and promising quality, worth, and happiness. In homage to the cerulean blue belts, we’ve opted for this Blue Crocodile leather strap, made upon request. And the good news? It can be fitted to a Panerai, a Rolex, an Audemars Piguet, a Cartier, and even an Apple Watch. How’s that for flexibility? And if blue’s perhaps a little too bold for you, feast your eyes on their rainbow of colors. You will meet your match.

Price: $179

Montmartre

Let it be down that not all watch straps need to break the bank and cost ⅓ and then some of the watch. Introducing these striking Limited Edition Montmartre two-tone watch straps combine hand sewn two tone soft Italian leather with French styling. Elegant Chestnut Brown Strap with bright Hot Pink lining and loop, featuring a Yellow Gold Buckle, not all the attention lies in the dial. The strap deserves some spotlight too.

Price: $40

Votch

And last but by no means least, if 2021 – the hangover of 2020 – has taught us anything, it’s to do better and be better. Heading the words of Greta Thunberg and the world’s sweetheart, David Attenborough, time might be on our wrists, but when it comes to the planet, it’s certainly not our friend. While vegan straps have trickled onto the radar of the watch industry, is 2022 the year for domination?  Pictured above is a 16mm Votch watch strap, made from highly durable, vegan friendly leather and fitted with quick release pins to make them easily interchangeable. Strap materials are free from PVC, heavy metals, flame retardants and have no added antimicrobial chemicals. They are produced with low VOC emissions and also incorporate recycled and renewable content. 

Price: $39

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Scarlett is a writer, editor, and creative consultant specializing in art, fashion, culture and digital strategy. Drawing on her work from previous titles including Dazed, LOVE Magazine, The Perfect Magazine, AnOther and 1 Granary, as the Editor-in-Chief of The Next Hour, Scarlett is leading the editorial vision toward new territories providing an alternative lens of social commentary to recontextualize the world of watchmaking for the next generation.