Some of you might recognize this: for years, you have been admiring a certain watch, and when you finally get it, you are very excited only to realize after a couple of weeks that you are not wearing it as much as you should. This might have nothing to do with the watch itself but more with the wearing comfort provided. If the watch has a strap, this is often an easy fix, yet it is a whole different ball game when fitted with a bracelet.
I feel that some brands still underestimate the strength of a well-designed bracelet, both aesthetically and for wearing comfort. To some extent, this is a commercial decision. Developing a new kind of bracelet is quite expensive and relatively challenging. Such cost will mean that either the price of the watch will go up, which might make it less competitive in the market, or cut into the brands’ margins. After all, the watch industry is still a competitive and commercial endeavor. For some smaller brands, developing a bracelet of their own is so costly that it is simply unwise to dedicate a large number of resources to it. This makes it that, in particular, the classic three-link bracelet remains prevalent.
Of course, we as consumers also have something to do with this, and we always say that we like new stuff, but the reality is that we don’t want it to be too different from what we already know either. So being conservative pays off for the brands. That being said, when they do invest in a new bracelet design, and the market receives it well, it will also reflect on the watch it’s on. In fact, it can further fuel its success. Good examples of this are the so-called Bond-bracelet on the Omega Seamaster Professional and the bracelet of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. In both cases, they are significantly different from what was otherwise available on the market, contribute to the watch’s identity, and are very comfortable to wear. Also, that superb bracelet that IWC offered on their Flieger- and Doppelchronograph is one of which I have fond memories.
Bracelets like those above elevate the watch as a whole, increasing their wearing comfort and good looks. While it might not be easy, I wish that brands put more focus on creating bracelets just like that. I know it is an investment, but mechanical watchmaking is an artistic process, and the bracelet should be part of this.
What is your favorite bracelet on a watch, and why? Tell us in the comments!