Some say a Gentleman knows nothing about the grade of oil in his car's engine, as such information is the purview of his mechanic. Similarly, unless about to barter one's hair for a platinum chain (and so engender a tragicomic morality tale) how often should the means of securing a watch to one's person be of issue? At TimeScapeUSA we say: Often! The architects of horological style have a say over the appearance of case, dial, hands, and bezel – but for the true watch enthusiast, selecting a strap or bracelet can be a real joy. It's the intimate interface between him or her and that treasured timepiece and a recess of personalization. TimeScapeUSA maintains a large stock of after market Hadley Roma straps and bracelets, and is happy to advise.
As an aside, save your white leather strap for Sanibel. South Florida is nice this time of year, if one doesn't mind tourists or flies. But I digress. Strap material is an important consideration. Owing to its inherent fragility, rubber straps tend to be heavier and so matched to cases of impressive dimension. Wearing a rubber dive strap with a slender dress piece is a fashion faux pas that can't quite be forgiven. Similarly, the conscientious attendant will guide his client away from pairing an overwhelming sport watch with more rarified harness. There's an argument to be made that dive straps and canvas military issue have no place on a Gentleman's wrist. TimeScapeUSA stands aloof – one's own taste must be the final judge, and we are pleased to stock both varieties.
Metallic bracelets involve particular style risks. A man who enters the room sporting a half kilo of gold on his wrist is out to make an impression. Your author (in his capacity as public servant) must admit to certain conservative biases in forming two rules:
1) On a woman, a bracelet of any material can be attractive unless it is so large as to overwhelm the wrist. In such cases, the watch becomes little more than a bangle or ironic meta-comment, so be careful not to drop your can of Pabst.
2) Steel, platinum, and the paler precious metals are a lens to bring a man's personal style into focus. Gold, especially a lot of it, draws attention, and becomes the style. This is a prime example of the dictum that wealth serves to amplify personality.
Depending on design, a bracelet composed of several discrete linkages can fail at any one. Intermediate pins and screws should be removed and evaluated for wear as part of the watch's normal service interval.
Every joint in a complicated clasp has the potential for failure. With time, links will develop lateral play that cannot be repaired, so expect a full replacement of the bracelet and clasp within the lifetime of the watch. Obviously, this process is more rapid with gold components. Owing to their structural complexity, bracelets retain a great deal more dirt. It will eventually force its way between all of the moving parts, greatly accelerating wear. The only way to insure the health of vulnerable surfaces is through ultrasonic or steam cleaning – a chore that TimeScapeUSA or any other reputable dealer will be happy to undertake.
Finally, the parts affixing the the strap or bracelet to the watch case are entitled to annual inspection. Most often these are spring bars or steel pins, and they experience a great deal of stress. Luckily, such components are inexpensive and widely available. The hobbyist will discover that tooling for the installation of straps and bracelets is easy to find. One might consider practicing on a friend or relative's watch first. We at TimeScapeUSA carry these watch kits and an on-site watch studio that can accomplish all your needs on band, bracelet sizing, care and maintenance.