It’s not just straps that you can change on your watch, and while bracelets can be a little fiddlier to put on, the range available is still phenomenal. Often brands offer… let’s say less inspired metal options. Not so third-party makers, who tend to have a penchant for cool, retro slants and vintage inspirations – something a marked design step up from your painfully dull three-link number. Milanese mesh, two-tone cool, gloriously over-engineered industrial chic, whatever kind of multi-linked stretch of machined metal you’re after, you can find it here. The best aftermarket metal bracelets for your wristwatch.
Zuludiver Seabrook Diver’s Watch Bracelet, £88
If you’re looking for a versatile metal bracelet, the Zuludiver Seabrook is a five-link stainless steel with a robust construction and reassuringly chunky appearance. The inner links feature a combination of brushed and polished finishing adding an extra layer of contrast and flair to the piece, making it suitable for dressier watches as well as the adventurous divers it’s designed for.
It’s a great alternative bracelet for watches like the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M, which is a watch that itself toes the line between class and adventure. The watch bracelet measures a maximum of 175mm, and the solid buckle has 6 micro adjustments which enable you to size the bracelet to a comfortable fit on your wrist.
Geckota Diver’s Vintage Rivet Berwick Bracelet, £44
Trust the accessories experts at Watch Gecko to offer some seriously cool metal watch strap alternatives. This particular number draws inspiration from the two-tone Rolex Explorer for a solid, bi-colour number ripped straight out the 1960s and ‘70s.
A perfect match for something like the Oris Divers 65 with its retro shape and bronze touches, the Berwick has the industrial rivets that are both shorthand for solidity and the design ethos of many a vintage diver. It’s also more versatile than you’d expect thanks to six micro adjustments on the clasp. Sure, it’ll suit only a small sub-set of watches, but by god it’ll suit them perfectly.
Staib Milanaise Bracelet, €158 (approx. £138)
Staib have been specialists in mesh bracelets since 1922, based in the iconic hub of German jewellery Pforzheim. It’s the definition of a family run business having been helmed by the Staib family across four generations.
Their specialisation in chain- and mesh-style jewellery and bracelets has led them to being one of the foremost names in the industry with many watch brands themselves promoting them. For example, anOrdain recommend a Staib Milanaise mesh bracelet for the Model 1. Mesh bracelets are incredibly refined with tiny links in a similar style to beads of rice.
Forstner 9-Row Beads of Rice Bracelet, $132 (approx. £110)
Finding a genuine, vintage Gay Freres bracelet can often cost more than the watch you’d like to put it on – at least without a hefty repair bill to restore it. Instead consider this perfect, nine-link Beads of Rice number courtesy of heritage New Jersey maker Forstner. Finished with alternately brushed and polished links and a superb clasp, it’s one of the most stunning interpretations of that very particular vintage style we’ve ever come across.
And as it’s made with modern construction methods (it’s a lot more solid than it looks), it’ll stand the test of time as well. It’s also – and this is something that extends to all beads of rice bracelets – one of the most comfortable stretches of metal you’ll ever wear.
Georg Jensen KOPPEL Bracelet, £240
Everyone needs a good mesh bracelet. If you don’t think you do I’m sorry to tell you that you’re objectively wrong. The downside is that cheap mesh bracelets can easily fall apart, so it’s worth investing in – and at this price, Georg Jensen’s is definitely an investment.
Fortunately, for that price you’re getting plenty of Scandinavian chic; it’s minimal and sleek but with plenty of functionality. It’s meant for Georg Jensen’s own Koppel watch, but honestly, the bracelet’s better by itself, particularly when paired with a monochromatic diver. It’s also a tight enough mesh that you lessen the chance of getting your arm hair caught in it – a serious benefit with this type of strap.