Watch Bracelets

I’ve been into watches since the 1990s and started Fratello in 2004. Ever since, I’ve seen a lot of different watch bracelets. It always amazed me that only a few watch brands are getting it ‘right’ with these bracelets. Some times, they look gorgeous but wear like crap. And other times, the looks aren’t very attractive but wear fantastic. It is a very personal and thus subjective matter of course, but let me share with you the best watch bracelets in my book.

Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

1. Rolex President

The King, euh, President, of all bracelets as far as I am concerned. Only available in precious metals like white gold, yellow gold, red (Everose) gold and platinum. It consists of three semi-circular links per row and a concealed clasp (with a Rolex crown). A super comfortable bracelet, elegant looking and masculine at the same time. It was specifically designed for the Day-Date models (introduced in 1956). Since a couple of US presidents wore the Rolex Day-Date (on President bracelet), the entire watch was nicked ‘Rolex President’ and for some, it still is the Rolex President. I keep it at Day-Date with a President bracelet, as it was also available with another bracelet (Super-Oyster). The President is leading the best watch bracelets overview.

Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

2. Rolex Jubilee

There is no single doubt in my mind that this is one of the best watch bracelets in the world. It combines looks and comfort and the most recent models have Rolex’ Easylink system to slightly adjust the clasp. Former models just had a couple of holes in the clasp, that you could resize yourself using a toothpick. Also worked fine. But the Easylink system is just genius. The Jubilee bracelet was introduced in 1945, for the lauch of the Rolex Datejust in that year. Meanwhile, the Jubilee bracelet also has been used for other Rolex models. This bracelet is like silk on your wrist.

Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

3. Rolex Oyster

This Rolex bracelet even goes further back in time, and find its roots in the 1930s. It is a very easy to wear bracelet, very comfortable and it doesn’t draw much attention. Three brushed links (in most cases) and a adjustable clasp (Easylink system) so you can shorten or extend the bracelet a bit, depending on the weather. This is probably also one of the most copied bracelet designs in the world. The Jubilee bracelet is more supple than the Oyster, but the latter is perhaps more versatile.

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Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

One of the most exciting bracelets to own and wear is one of the Royal Oak watches. I would even go a bit further and say that part of the fun in wearing a Royal Oak is the bracelet. It is well-made, beautifully finished, and very comfortable. When you look at the bracelet for the first time, you might think that it is a bit stiff and sharp. But that isn’t the case, it is a well-designed and engineered bracelet, with a stunning appearance. The brushed surfaces combined with the polished facets are beautiful. The clasp consists of the initials of this manufacture.

Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

5. Patek Philippe Nautilus

A bit more refined and smoother than the Royal Oak bracelet, but less outspoken. The double clasp with safety lock is easy to use. The larger parts of the links are brushed while the center parts are polished. People who can’t stand scratches should back away from it or live with the fact that it will get marks on there. The watch head and bracelet are integrated you could say, but not as nicely as on the Audemars Piguet. This bracelet does look a bit more sophisticated that AP’s one though. A matter of taste really. There is little to criticize on this level of watchmaking.

Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

6. Ebel Wave

I kid you not, I had to check whether this brand was still alive and active. Awkward. It seems they are now only producing ladies watches. However, back in the day, this was a cool brand in my opinion. I wonder how they could have messed it up so badly. Anyway, their Ebel Chronograph watches with El Primero movement were awesome. Even Don Johnson sported one in Miami Vice. The bracelets on the Ebel Wave model were something else, perhaps still are. The flat stainless steel bracelet with the wave pattern did not only look good, it was very comfortable as well. The downside used to be how it was attached to the case, with two screws from below.

Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

Image by Ashford

7. Mesh

Not entirely fair, as I am talking generic mesh bracelets here. But the good thing is, you can find them basically anywhere in different sizes, so you can add them to your watch. The mesh is so smooth and supple, that there no real reason not to own one of these bracelets. Besides, a couple of brands use these mesh bracelets (branded of course), like IWC, Omega, Breitling, Eterna but also lower-end brands like Skagen. The people at StrapCode for example, also sell a wide variety of them. Also Watch Gecko has a couple.

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OmegaMeshbracelet

8. Cartier Santos

The Cartier Santos with bracelet I am talking about was introduced in 1978. It was the first true all stainless steel watch for Cartier. All Santos Dumont models were only in gold or platinum. The bracelet underwent some changes through the years, but only on the inside of the bracelet. The typical screws remained. Then, Cartier introduced the Santos Galbée. A similar design, but a slightly bend case and slightly domed links in the bracelet. In 2005, the Galbée XL was introduced, with similar design, but bigger. This was the last execution of the Santos. It is now discontinued, only the Santos 100 is still available, but without bracelet. Because the bracelet is so typical, with its screws, I love it. Where I lived as a kid, there was this local diner, and the owners had ‘everything’ Cartier. Including Santos watches, with these bracelets. Love them.

Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

Image by George Cramer

9. Breitling Rouleaux

I believe it is out of production since a while, but if you’ve ever watched the Seinfeld show. You know it. According to Breitling Source, it was also named ‘Bullet’ bracelet. It can still be seen once in a while on an older Chronomat you’ll come across. It was used on the Windrider series by Breitling, of which the Chronomat was just a model. Now, the Chronomat is a collection of its own. It just looks very camp, but very comfortable as well.

Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

Image via https://www.collectors1946.com/

10. Omega Seamaster Pro

The last one in my best watch bracelets overview, but certainly not a bad one. You either love them or you hate them, the Seamaster ‘Bond’ bracelets. Admitted, they look very 1990s with their array of links, but they are very sturdy and comfortable. They are also a bit more outspoken than the Speedmaster (style) bracelet. A little diving extension is there to wear it over your neoprene suit. Micro-adjustment is not possible though. A heavy bracelet I think, but also available for the titanium models. There was also a version that consisted of Titanium, red gold and tantalum.

Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets

Image via http://jamesbondwatches.com/

Your Best Watch Bracelets?

These best watch bracelets are, of course, my own favorites that I’ve tried and experienced over the last two decades or so. You might have a completely different opinion of course. Funny thing is, that Rolex is taking 3 positions in my Top 10 best watch bracelets overview. Although I love and collect the Speedmaster watches myself, I’ve never been a fan of their bracelets. I think the older models are at least better than the current one(s). The mesh bracelets are a bit generically mentioned in my article, but I think you catch my drift. They are just very comfortable, although I am not always a fan of their appearance. It heavily depends on the type of watch you put them on.

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It would be very interesting to learn about your favorite steel bracelets, so if you have any, please list them below in the (Disqus) comments.

Robert-Jan Broer
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Robert-Jan Broer

Founder & Editor at Fratello Watches
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, watch collector and author on watches for over a decade. Founder of Fratello Watches in 2004.
Robert-Jan Broer
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  • Guy Lammar

    In my eyes, the IWC Pilot Watch bracelet is one of the most comfy bracelets to wear ever. Rolex and PP bracelets are all great, no doubt. The AP Royal Oak bracelet might be interesting and well made, but in my opinion, it is extremely stiff with cutting edges all around, so not really a comfortable one to wear… but as I said, probably a matter of opinion….

    • Thanks Guy! The IWC Pilot is without a doubt a very nice bracelet as well.

  • Guy Lammar

    In my opinion, the IWC Pilot Watch bracelet is one the most comfy bracelets ever – not even talking build quality and easy adjustment. Rolex and PP bracelets are all great, no doubt! The AP Royal Oak bracelet however might be interesting and well made, but in my opinion is extremely stiff with cutting edges all around, what makes it quite uncomfortable to wear, but as I said before, probably a matter of opinion….

  • Monochrome

    Good list of comfy bracelets, Robert-Jan, although I find the new AP Royal Oak bracelets quite stiff and they do not follow the curving of the wrist as well as the other listed bracelets.

    • Hi Frank, I also believe this is a matter of wrist size. I have fairly large wrists, and the AP RO 15202 bracelet snaps on like a glove. I can imagine though, with smaller wrists (or even bigger wrists) that it might become tricky regarding the curving. I guess I have the perfect Royal Oak wrist 😀

      • Monochrome

        I do agree, wrist size is important. Or some years (or decades) of wearing… the bracelet of my old 5402ST is sublime, and perfectly hugs the wrist.

  • Kent Kochheiser

    I’d also add the VC Overseas bracelet to that list. For my wrist it’s actually more comfortable than my AP 15300.

  • ahmedh1005

    I can vouch for the Omega ‘Beads of Rice’ Bracelet from their 60’s seamasters/constellations.
    And the Jaeger Le Coultre beads bracelet too on their Reverso.
    They both just drape around the wrist like fabric, but with the strength and heft of metal. And they are fairly breathable too.

  • TrevorXM

    I would think that the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms X-71 and the Damasko bracelet would appear on this list. Am curious how Vacheron Constantin’s new interchangeable Overseas bracelet is.

    • Timestandsstill

      Agree 100% that the Blancpain X-71 should be on this list. I was going to suggest it yesterday but you got it!

      I have a VC Overseas bracelet on order for the just replaced OS and am looking forward to seeing how it compares with the BP X-71

  • CoSim

    I agree with you about the Ebel bracelet screws, Jan. In 2015 my E-type auto lost both screws from one end of the bracelet and fell on the floor. Ouch. Ebel agent was only interested in supplying a new, non-matching bracelet for £600. I found an independent repairer (authorised Rolex repairs!) prepared to look at it (Robin Martin, Portsmouth, UK). Kevin tapped out the tiny holes to clean the threads using a tap one size larger and put in temporary brass screws. He also told me the existing screws at the other end were too short and did not reach the bottom of the hole and make use of all the thread – in fact, only about 2 full turns. Then found another watch maker (Bernard at Perfect Timing in Chichester, UK) who had the correct longer screws. He also put them back in with Loctite thread sealant requiring heat to dislodge them! In the past I had lost 1 screw from each end and had them replaced by LVMH as part of a full service, but they we not Loctite-sealed then, either.

  • chesirecat77

    I feel IWC Ingenieur’s bracelet to be great!

  • John Kennekam

    IMHO the new Oyster bracelet with glide-lock is the best there is. So comfortable and easy to use. You can adjust it at any time during the day without needing tools.

    As far as the Omega bracelets are concerned, I much prefer the Speedy bracelet over the Bond type. They look less busy. I am very keen to try one of the new clasps with micro-adjustments. It might just unseat the Oyster 🙂

  • benjameshodges

    Great summary of bracelets here, especially the Oyster. I agree I don’t like the current Speedy Pro bracelets and much prefer the look of the pre-pro 3 link bracelets. I think the Glashütte Original Senator Observer on bracelet looks incredible. I also have a soft spot for riveted bracelets and applaud Oris and Tudor for bringing back the style.

  • Velo_Vessel

    I really am enjoying the Apple Watch Links Bracelet. The clever band interchange, removable links and flush fit clasp show a refreshing level of innovation. And the Marc Newson design really complements the ID of the watch body. The finish work is surprisingly good: Unless you knew otherwise, you might think if made by european career craftsmen.

  • Nikola Dorev

    Hi! I try to be very laconic: from theese ten models for elegant watches I like Rolex President bracelet in white gold and platinum. For sport watches (understend dive models) I like Rolex Oyster and Omega Seamaster Pro bracelets. In this sequence.

  • Green Dean

    I believe that the longines hydroconquest h-pattern bracelet is very comfortable too………

  • Spangles

    Good article topic!

    I’d like to join the grains-of-rice gang.

    You see grains of rice bracelets on PP and FPJ and they look great!

    Another bracelet topic I’ve never seen addressed by a watch journalist is “bracelet stretch” in precious metal bracelets. People pay a lot for these bracelets and to don’t know that many of them develop looseness in the pins and show gaps between the links which eventually make the watch unwearable. Some can be repaired, some high end watch bracelets can only be sold for scrap! Kind of a big deal, I’d like to see it addressed.

  • I think Rolex oyster and Omega Seamaster are best among these watches. Rolex President also seem quite luxury watch. I have my own blog watch blog as well Atomic watch for men I will post about these watches on my blog too