One-Man Band

As I was taking off my watch the other day I noticed that it may be time to give it a wash (pictured below). After further inspection it was clear that my favorite watch strap has seen better days. It is not at death’s door yet, but it is time to start thinking about its successor.
Shetland-Sweater-and-WatchbandWhen it comes to finding nylon watch straps the good thing is that you don’t have to look far to find some great inexpensive options. I always recommend the Central Watch’s 5 for $30 deal on their nylon straps, but there are also great options at O’Connell’s, J.Press, and J.Crew.

If you are looking for an actual NATO style band (They do have a military history, but it does not involve NATO troops.) I suggest checking out Smart Turnout. They have an impressive collection of regimental bands. However, If you have smaller wrists such as myself you may find NATO straps a little bulky due to the excess length which is why I avoid them even thought I love the utilitarian design.

O'Connells Grommeted band

The watch band that I have my eye on over at O’Connell’s. It has great colors, but I am not sold on the grommetts. 

I used to switch my bands out regularly, but over the past 2-3 years I have become a one-band type guy. I am not sure if this because I have begun to wear ties a few days a week and that satisfies my need for color or if I am just growing more boring by the day. Either way it won’t hurt to add another to the collection!

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

15 Comments on "One-Man Band"

  1. Jim says:

    I’ve personally had a good experience with (now there’s an unambiguous URL name) – they have several grades, starting at around $6, and seem to throw in coupon discounts, willy-nilly. I’m wearing a $18 Casio as my day-to-day watch, and have a hard time paying more for my strap that for the watch itself!

  2. M says:

    You should be able to fold the smart turnout straps back and double the end through the first loop if it’s too long. I have the same problem but this works for me. What type of watch do you have it on? I love these straps with inexpensive mechanical field watches!

  3. oxford cloth button down says:

    Jim – Thanks for the lead. I will check them out.

    M – The watch is a Timex T2N228. It is similar to a Weekender, but I think a little cooler even though it doesn’t have military time. It has a tachymeter. Here is one on Amazon:

    Doubling back the strap is what made the NATO strap too bulky for me. It wasn’t terrible, but I remember it that it kept getting caught on my shirt sleeve which annoyed me.

  4. James says:

    Hi Jerrod,

    I had a NATO strap on my watch and liked the look of it but didn’t like the way it sat on my wrist and also found that it didn’t look as good with smart outfits. I’ve got a dive watch on a stainless steel strap and a watch with a black leather strap, I find these very versatile combinations.

  5. NCTrad says:

    Looks like we have some of the same CentralWatch straps. I am a fan of those as well, except for not having a choice of buckle color. My watch is silver, but about half of my straps came with the gold tone buckle. Does that bother you? Perhaps I should just let it go…

  6. Todd says:

    Hi Jerrod,

    I’ve been purchasing my straps from a company off of eBay for several years, and the quality and dirt cheap prices cannot be beat. They are made in Hong Kong, so they do take a few weeks to arrive, but they have a large variety of color/stripe variations. Here’s the link:

  7. Hollywood Argyle says:

    That’s a nice-looking watch. I wish I could wear it! The problem with your Timex, as well as the Weekender (which I also like) is that both of them are too big for my tiny wrists. My current watch, with its 30mm diameter, is the top end for how big a watch I can wear before it starts looking clownish.

    Does anybody have any recommendations for a decent watch in the 25mm to 30mm diameter range? Something similar to the Timex classics that won’t break the bank, maybe?

  8. M says:

    Thanks! I have a weekender and love the design, but the ticking is so loud it’s distracting. I’ll check this one out.

  9. David says:

    i have a similar problem with the NATO bands being too long. I use a super sharp razor to slice the extra length off then carefully run a lighter across the cut end so it doesn’t unravel. It takes care and patience but if done well, no one will see the cut end.

  10. oxford cloth button down says:

    David – Good tip. I have a few NATOs that I don’t wear. I might have to try that.

    NC Trad – The mixing of metals here doesn’t bother me. Probably because I rarely notice the buckle throughout the day.

  11. Hollywood Argyle says:

    Brooks Brothers also offers NATO watch straps; $11 each at the outlet stores, as I recall. Stripes only, I think. They have grommets. They are narrower than 18mm, so might not work with all watches equally well.

  12. Conifer says:

    I was in New York a couple of weeks ago and went to Central Watch. Of course I walked through the main concourse of Grand Central Station, one of the great train stations of the world. From there, it is a bit difficult to find Central Watch; an easier way would be to enter GST from the 45th Street side entrance, but you would miss the grandeur.
    The owner was there and very helpful. They replaced two watch batteries, and the worn leather strap of a Brooks Brothers watch.
    Also, I chose ten new nylon watchbands, at the online price since I bought in quantity. I think one should change watchbands just as one changes ties or surcingle belts, so that they look right with what you are wearing. At Central Watch’s bargain price and high quality, anyone can have enough different watchbands.

    My wife says this may be a bit too preppy, but I think these watchbands are neat.

    Also in New York, and on another trip to New Haven, I noticed that the latest prep fashion is, of all things, SOCKS, with stripes like on ties, surcingle belts, and watchbands, or motifs like ducks and dogs. I have not seen that here in California.

    The other “new fashion” back east is a return to tie bars, not just gold or brass, but in preppy colors, navy blue, maroon, cream, pink and green. What will they think of next? A revolution in prep.

  13. oxford cloth button down says:

    Conifer – Very cool! Glad that you are enjoying your watchbands. Here is an older post that I did on striped socks (I have a thing for those, too):

  14. George says:

    Thank you for the tip on Central Watch’s six-for-30 deal. Just got my first six today, and my only complaint is with my own selection; I could have done better, and will in the future. The bands are fine for the price, and what I *really* like is that they are _not_ that “NATO” style. Just plain, simple, colorful, nicely sized bands. I’m grateful for the tip.

I would like to hear from you