Leather or metal watch band: which one should you choose?

When it comes to picking your next wristwatch, you will be inundated with different brands, features, designs, and functions to choose from. All these are important things to consider, however, we argue that nothing has as much gravitas as the band of your timepiece.

Leather or metal watch band: which one should you choose?

The band is a hugely important design feature of any watch, as most watch aficionados will tell you, it's the first thing people will notice ahead of the brand or other features and will hold most of the aesthetic appeal of your watch. Therefore, it is important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of either a leather or metal band, because if you’re going to invest in an everyday watch, it's a decision you want to get right.

Leather Watch Band

Leather straps are familiar territory for most people. They hold a classic, timeless appeal, and were infamously made popular by Rolex. They were first born out of necessity when men couldn’t stand to wear their jackets and vests in the hotter seasons to accommodate their pocket watches. Today, there is a surplus of options of leather bands for watches to accommodate everyday timepieces as well as sports and diving watches due to the material’s naturally soft and lightweight feel.


The leather we see in clothing and accessories is commonly made from cowhide, however, leather watchband styles also include alligator, calf, crocodile, ostrich, and shark hides. Each will have its own unique texture, pattern and beauty. Leather certainly adds a touch of sophistication to a watch and the added bonus is being able to coordinate your other accessories to match the leather, such as belts, shoes, and bags. They are also generally made with a solid buckle to prevent the watch pin from coming undone unexpectedly. 


However, you do have to consider that it's necessary to care for and clean the leather to avoid cracking and help maintain the band’s elasticity. What’s more, it is a given that the leather will wear out over time, meaning that the small strap hold could break or become stretched, causing change to the fit of your watch. Also, while leather straps are available in a diverse range of colours, some may find that while the colour compliments the watch face, it may not pair well with all outfits, making it restrictive at times.


However, you can easily replace a leather watch band more than once throughout your watch’s life, and it has a pretty long life span so you wouldn’t find yourself replacing it often due to wear. Also be careful of getting your watch wet as due to its nature, leather can stain and smell when exposed to water. It is advisable that you remove your watch when washing dishes or swimming. Keep in mind that the same effect can be caused by sweat, so it's best to remove your watch when performing any high-intensity exercise. If you do get your leather band wet, lie it flat and leave it out to dry in direct sunlight. 

Metal watch Band 


Metal Watch Bracelet


Metal straps are the most popular watch strap of choice on the market. They are suitable for many sporting activities, including diving, as well as being the more formal choice for a dress watch. The metal strap also has its ties to Rolex, as they appeal to a more luxury style watch that in turn generally gives it a higher price tag than leather bands. 


The tough and durable nature of metal bands provides its wearer with a sense of assurance in the watch’s stability. They are built to be strong and are unlikely to break from day-to-day wear. They also perform extremely well underwater and do not damage as easily as leather when exposed to water and sweat. 


However, some find that metal bands are too weighty for everyday wear and while they look great for formal occasions, they don’t have the same traditional chic as a leather band. What’s more, due to metal’s sensitivity to temperature, you may find the strap to be itchier on hotter days due to sweat being trapped under the metal, which can be unpleasant. 


The metal is also prone to scratch marks if hit forcefully and it is also possible for the clasp to become undone unexpectedly. Depending on the price point of your watch, you can buy watches that combat this. For example, more luxury watches manufacture straps with a positioning clasp with safety. Also, tiny scratches your metal band endures can be polished out so they are not always there forever. You can also adjust the fit of your metal band by having links either added or removed until the length is suitable. 

Leather vs metal watch band: pros and cons

Let's take a closer look at both straps, comparing the pros and cons to each:





The design suits formal wear

Irritable on the skin when wet or sweaty

Easy to fit alone

Wears out over time

The soft strap allows for comfortable everyday wear

Colour may not suit all occasions and outfits

Unlikely to come undone suddenly

Leather will stretch out over time with wear







Difficult to fit alone


Prone to coming undone

Easy to clean

Retains temperatures - can be hot/cold in extreme temperatures

Luxurious appeal

Gathers dust and dirt if not cleaned regularly

Which one should you choose?

As you can see, both leather and metal watchbands boast their own strengths and purposes. If a classic and timeless style is important to you, a leather band will ooze sophistication for years to come. However, if sport plays a big part in your life, you might find you're better suited to a metal band as it will accommodate your lifestyle with much less issue.


Either band is suitable for everyday wear, and much of your decision will likely come down to personal style, and lifestyle. It is a good idea to browse both leather and metal band watches so you can discover which is more appealing to you. At Wallace Allan we have a huge variety of watches to choose from so that you are guaranteed to find either a leather or metal band watch that meets your personal requirements. 


You can browse the full collection of watches at Wallace Allan here.

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