Not many put a lot of attention into their watch bracelets. The strap, however, also defines all of you—your character, your personality, your style. If a watch is an object of art, I would say a strap completes and enhances the beauty of the art. It can be an icon of its own. Trivial yet significant. Not only that it’s very vital to choose the best bracelet that fits your watch’s design but also the comfortable ones to be worn throughout your day. There might be a wide range of varieties but stainless steel watch bracelet may be the top choice that is most sought after. It has really made a name for itself.
Stainless steel is basically a steel alloy. Steel itself is an alloy of mainly iron and carbon. This alloy has turned out to be a significant part of our everyday lives including in the watchmaking industry. The earliest steel production can be traced back to the 13th century while the modern one began in the late 1850s. But, it was not used for watches until the 1920s as that was too hard to be formed.
Today, we’ll dig into stainless steel watch bracelet, the grades of steel, the reason why choosing steel, and some watch recommendations. So keep on reading the rest.
Grades of Stainless Steel Watch Bracelet
Stainless steel is further divided into several groups. The grades are categorized by the composition of steel and non-steel materials. Adding and taking out some metals, it has different types along with the distinctive character and utilization. And the watch band production mostly uses the 316L.
316L stainless steel is made of between 16.00% and 18.00% chromium, 10%-14% of nickel, 2% of molybdenum, and other metals such as manganese, silicon, phosphorus. The letter “L” stands for “low” which means lower carbon. Lower carbon is better to fight against any corrosion.
The 316L type is also common for products that require a lot of welding as it is more stable in high-temperature conditions. As such, 316L grade is more favourable for producing the most high end watches and watch bands.
Another stainless steel that is used in the watchmaking circle is the 904L. It is the high alloy stainless steel that is super austenitic. Does it mean the best? Well, it also comes with quite a down-side story as this type is quite pricey and more difficult to process.
It is, by far, mostly used for producing piping systems, such as pollution control, bleaching equipment, and heat. Plus also some manganese, copper, and silicon, all those right combinations ensure excellent resistance to acids.
In the watch industry, Omega experimented it first, but Rolex is the first wristwatch manufacturer to utilize 904L grade steel in its timepiece dates all the way back to 1985. The model is famously known as “Oystersteel”.
Stainless Steel Watch Bracelet Styles
Now that you’ve known the grades, let’s move to the style. I totally understand how watch enthusiasts are spoiled for choice as far as options for bracelets are concerned. Therefore, here I am to share some stainless steel watch bracelet styles that might pick your interests⎯the ones that don’t seem to be losing popularity.
In the late 1920’s, The Bonklip was first developed in the U.K. with a unique design in mind featuring size-adjustment that does give a singular allure at the wrist. Often identified with watches worn by British Royal Air Force pilots, this style was manufactured by prestigious bracelet makers such as JB Champion. After not being presented for more than 50 years, the legend returns to us today bringing a vintage reminiscent and more refreshed proportions for your stainless steel watch bracelet.
The Oyster is considered to be the most iconic watch band in 20th century wristwatch history, with many manufacturers making straps that are much inspired by it. The model was patented by Rolex in 1947 and then came to the market a year later. It’s a flat three-link design meant for typical sporty and casual looks. Moreover, the clasp is made to guarantee you during water activities like scuba diving. You can also consider Pablo Profundo VB-11 for this style with its vintage-inspired 316L steel bracelet.
It was introduced in 1945 to celebrate the Rolex 40th anniversary. Originally, the Jubilee was only available in solid gold and later emerged in two-tone and steel versions. It has a five-piece yet a semi-circular link design that appears to be more elegant. One says that the Jubilee is Rolex in an effort to dress their watches a little bit. The increased number of the links intended for catching the light beautifully. This stainless steel watch strap is now widely used by many brands, Steinhart Bracelet Jubilee for Ocean One – 22mm is one of them.
The Beads of Rice
The name says it all as its appearance reminds us of grains of rice laid side by side. The bracelet exudes elegance that goes well with any vintage watch. It’s Gay Freres, a company who’s crafted and supplied them to Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin in the 1940s and 1950s. They produced a large number of variations for dress watches, pilot watches, and sport watches.
The Milanese strap was produced in the 19th century in Milan and later improved in Germany in the early 20th century. It, however, with its busy, mesh pattern, and tightly weaved steel, won’t have any issue with resisting and hiding scratches. The bracelet highlights its mesh look that radiates a distinctive image of either robust or sophisticated look to watches. The small links, such as in the Mido Commander Icône Silvertone Ref. M031.631.11.031.00, made it comfortable to wear, especially smooth to your wrist, and easy to take the temperature of your skin.
The President stainless steel watch bracelet was announced by Rolex in 1956 equipped with a folding clasp. It got its name when US President Lyndon Johnson wore a yellow gold Day-Date. That’s why it’s made specially in prestigious metals. This refined and exclusive bracelet boasts semi-circular three-piece links. Thus it looks particularly harmonious with its rounded bar running across the middle.
Why Stainless Steel Watch Strap?
A stainless steel watch bracelet offers a bunch of advantages that won’t disappoint you. This alloy has characteristics such as:
The foremost reason for using stainless steel is its anti-corrosive nature that makes it outperforms other materials in watch manufacturing. Not only that it shows off its good quality but it holds a value of adding the look to the watch. As such, you will have your watches last and shine longer as you do.
Stainless steel is an alloy and it contains a minimum chromium content of 10,5%. What does this mean? The chromium in this alloy reacts with the oxygen in the air and creates a layer that protects stainless steel which results in a high oxidation resistance and makes your watch won’t turn black easily.
This is undeniable that stainless steel has a good hardness strength. The bracelet can withstand to the external force that might damage your watch such as an extreme temperature.
A watch band with stainless steel materials has been proved harmless. Therefore, it certainly won’t irritate your skin or even cause allergies. There might be some cases where some people suffer from nickel allergy. But don’t worry because watchmaker experts have a way to help those people by using special stainless steel grades.
With that being said, it proves that this material is durable. A lot of high end watch brands use stainless steel for their watches mainly to offer their consumers the quality that they are looking for. So, if you are new in this field, having a stainless steel watch for your first timepiece is something that you won’t ever regret. If you need some recommendations, here are my collections you may want to take a look at.
Steinhart Ocean One 39 GMT Blue/Red Ceramic 2
So do you hunt for a Jubilee stainless steel watch bracelet? Steinhart Ocean One 39 GMT Blue/Red Ceramic 2 might be the one you look for. Be surprisingly pleased with the elegant strap of 20 x 16 mm 5 links that has been entirely brushed and featured with the case that is made from 316L stainless steel.
This series already features a GMT function through the ceramic bezel and the fourth hand. It comes to us with a good grip for easy bezel operation as well as clear and deep markers that make it visible even at a glance under all lighting conditions. That makes Ocean 39 GMT may be your great partner for diving as it also serves you with 300m of water-resistance.
Aristo Flieger 42 Blue Chronograph 4H174M – Sapphire
A mesh band, some may hate it and some may highly love it as it gives your watch a unique look. Flieger 42 Blue Chronograph 4H174M – Sapphire comes to us on a curved-end link Milanese strap which is meant to boost the Chrono’s elegance.
While you’re enjoying the “mesh”, you also get a plus from its chronograph function just in a single display. Presented with hand winding capabilities, this watch is designed with a full legibility in mind as it is inspired by instrument clusters found in fighter planes. Not to mention that The Aristo Flieger 42 Blue Chronograph 4H174M-Sapphire is made with a domed sapphire crystal. This watch might be meant for you.
Seiko Marine Master Professional 300M “Iriomote Island” 140th Anniversary – Ltd Ed 3000pcs Ref. SBDX043
It’s limited to only 3000 pieces, so make sure you get a Marine Master Professional 300M “Iriomote Island” 140th Anniversary – Ltd Ed 3000pcs Ref. SBDX043! This one is considered for the best Seiko stainless steel watch strap. That’s because its solid 20mm strap has been polished by traditional Zaratsu technique. Making the watch looks just completely fine.
This series also offers you 300m water resistant, LumiBrite, and sapphire crystal. Special for their 140th anniversary, this limited edition comes to us with a dial inspired by a Japanese seascape. Without a doubt, the journey of 140-year in the watchmaking industry has yielded success and trust to present a high-quality watch for us.
Marathon Stainless Steel Bracelet for WW194014, WW194018 & WW194021 – 22mm
Or, if you already have some pieces of time-teller and want to remove their bands into stainless steel, you can try Marathon Stainless Steel Bracelet for WW194014, WW194018 & WW194021 – 22mm. This durable bracelet is made of high quality 316L with a total of 14 solid links and has a great finish in a fine satin. Could be a best fit for diving activities as it features a diver’s extension underneath the clasp. It can also be easily adjusted using the 5 micro adjustments on the signed clasp.
Vollmer Polished Mesh Bracelet – 20mm, 22mm
Looking for another one? Vollmer Polished Mesh Bracelet – 20mm, 22mm comes in Milanese style that matches for vintage look. The strap is currently available in two sizes of 20mm and 22mm. Made in Germany, this bracelet appeals in polish finishing.
With its polished finish, shiny, and resistance to oxidation, stainless steel is currently favoured in watchmaking materials. Besides, its looks are undeniably appealing. So next time you check out your timepiece, try to also consider and pay attention to how this stainless steel watch bracelet could be a good fit for your watch.