Leather Vs Metal Watch Band: Which One Is Better

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When selecting a watch at a store, do you face a problem while choosing a band type? It might happen if you are confused about which strap material is superior – metal or leather?

Well, both materials have unique characteristics due to which they are used in watchmaking by the manufacturers. In this article, I will discuss the differences between leather and metal watch bands that would help you choose the correct type of strap. Let’s get started.

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Leather Or Metal Watch Band

Watches with leather straps are always highly demanded by people as they look far more attractive than a metal strap. These straps come in different attractive textures that have the ability to draw everyone’s attention towards them. Moreover, these straps let you wear the watch comfortably for several hours. However, it also demands care which means you need to clean it frequently and protect it from getting wet either by water or your body sweat.

On the other side, the metal strap looks more expensive and unbreakable, especially when you see them on watches from high-end brands like Rado, Rolex, Cartier, and many more.

If you are looking for a watch that can be worn with a formal outfit, suit, or casual wear then a leather strap will be a good option. However, it does not mean that a watch with a metal band cannot be worn with these outfits. It’s just that the leather strap has that extra style value that gives a unique touch to your entire look.

Now, let’s find out the difference between the two band types in more detail.

Leather Strap

Leather was one of the earliest materials used for making the watch straps. It is produced by tanning or chemical treatment of the animals to prevent rotting. According to a source, the leather straps were created out of necessity during the Boers War in 1899, a rebellion war by the farmers that took place in South Africa.

During the war, the weather of South Africa was too hot, due to which the warriors couldn’t wear jackets to accommodate the pocket watches. That time the leather strap came into existence.

Leather straps are comfortable, durable, and have rugged aesthetics. In fact, leather is considered one of the major reasons that the watches were able to become something more than just a timekeeping tool for men and women.

leather vs metal watch band

In recent years, there has been a lot of innovations in the watchmaking industry. For instance, initially, a watch with a leather strap used to have a closure buckle and a small leather strap holder. However, today you can find a leather strap watch with a deployment clasp or butterfly buckle same as a watch with a metal strap.

Metal Strap

Over the years, several brands have come up with attractive metal bracelets. Talking about versatility, metal straps are more versatile than leather straps. However, the metal straps can be really complicated at times, especially when one is trying to adjust it according to their wrist. It can be done by adding or removing links. That said, it doesn’t take much time to do so if you have the correct tool.

The metal strap can be a good substitute for leather straps as they are not easily breakable and are long-lasting. Also, they do not have the tendency to get stretched over time.

metal band

Below I have mentioned some of the points which can be good enough to bring out the difference between a leather strap and a metal strap.

Leather Vs Metal Strap Comparison

1. Comfortability

In my opinion, leather watch bands are more comfortable than metal straps. The leather straps are soft and do not cause any irritation to your wrist. It also comes with a closure buckle or a metal deployment clasp so that the watch can be adjusted according to the wearer’s wrist. Hence, you don’t have to worry about the fit when it comes to watches with leather straps.

On the other side, the metal straps can initially be a nuisance while you try to adjust them as per your correct fitting. Yes, these straps are more versatile and unlikely to break, making them long-standing. But, after a few hours, the hard metal might irritate your skin.

Moreover, the comfort of metal bands also changes with the temperature. For instance, in cold temperatures, the metal becomes chilly, and in hot temperatures, the material starts feeling hot on the skin, and this causes discomfort to the wearer. Therefore, I would suggest that leather bands are more neutral and are good to go in terms of comfortability.

2. Durability

Leather is said to be the most durable material. However, similar to everything else, the durability or longevity of the leather strap depends on the situations you put the strap through. Even an expensive watch with a leather strap can decay if you go wearing it to the pool or if you are sweating while working out. In contrast, the strap can last for several years if you take good care of it and protect it from getting moist.

Talking about the metal strap, I would say that it can be a great choice if durability is your top priority. These straps are water-resistant and can be worn in all kinds of weather and temperatures. However, it causes discomfort when the weather is at its peak.

metal watch band

Metal straps are usually made up of titanium, stainless steel, or gold. Stainless steel claims to be a durable metal at a lower price point. In comparison, titanium is on the expensive side as compared to stainless steel. And gold is the priciest material used by several premium brands.

3. Occasion/Attire

Leather bands can be worn on any occasion, and it goes well with all attires, be it a formal suit or a casual outfit. These straps come in different patterns or textures, which can perfectly complement any outfit. You can also get a watch with a leather strap that can match your leather shoes or belt. Nowadays, watches are not carried just for the time-telling purpose; in fact, it has become a fashion statement. So, there are several brands that came with the concept of detachable straps. Hence, you get to choose from a variety of leather straps and turn all the eyeballs towards you on any occasion.

leather watch strap

On the other hand, the metal bands are considered to be less formal. So, most people prefer not to wear a watch with a metal strap when wearing something formal. However, it’s not something that should be strictly followed. You are the one who has to take ownership and decide that which strap do you prefer.

Nevertheless, if you ask for my opinion then I would say that yes, a watch with a leather band looks great when you pair it with any type of outfit. On the other hand, the metal strap goes better with casual attire.

4. Water Sports Suitability

Leather straps cannot withstand water contact as the leather starts decaying if moisture gets into it. Also, after some time of getting wet, the leather material often gives out a bad smell. To be precise, leather comes out of an animal. Hence, similar to human skin it is incredibly penetrable, which restricts it from being completely waterproof. Moreover, water can also be the main reason for the leather band to get discolored or decay prematurely.

The divers or the people associated with any professional water activities generally prefer a watch with a metal band because it comes with a water-resistant feature. But again, not all metal bands can withstand water. For instance, stainless steel can develop rust if exposed to water.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of leather and metal bands.

Leather Strap

The Good
  • Comfortable/Easy to wear.
  • It does not come out quickly.
  • It goes well with any attire on any occasion.
  • It gives your wrist a soft feel.
  • If your watch has a detachable strap then you get the chance to add a strap that matches your outfit.
The Bad
  • It cannot withstand water or sweat.
  • The leather strap starts developing cracks if exposed to harsh sunlight.
  • The keeper can break if put through too much pressure.

 Metal Strap

The Good
  • Unbreakable and Durable.
  • It can be worn while playing sports, be it land sports or water sports.
  • It can be cleaned easily with a cloth.
  • It has a more premium look.
The Bad
  • Additional links are needed to be added or removed to get a perfect fit.
  • The metal straps cause irritation in extremely hot or cold temperatures.

Leather Or Metal Watch Strap: Which One Should You Buy?

Honestly, both the bands come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. The decision of which strap you should choose depends entirely on your taste and preferences. If you have a good budget and want to spend on a durable watch then a watch with a metal band could be a perfect choice.

However, if you have a limited budget and just want to buy a comfortable watch that can be worn every day then a watch with a leather strap is good to go for.


Leather Or Metal Strap Watch, Which Is More Durable?

Generally, a watch that has a metal band is more durable and long-lasting.

Leather Or Metal Band Watch, Which Is More Comfortable?

Leather straps have a soft texture that makes them more comfortable and easily wearable.

What Happens To The Leather Strap When Exposed To Water?

The leather band starts to release an unbearable smell if it's exposed to water or body sweat too often. It can also cause the strap to get discolored or decay.

Can Metal Band Be Worn In All Temperatures?

Yes, it can be worn in all temperatures, but you might feel a little discomfort wearing it in extreme temperatures. In case of scorching temperatures, it can give a burning sensation to your wrist while it can also give you chills at an icy-cold temperature.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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