Genteel Handmade — How To Design The Perfect Watch Strap For Your Timepiece
Genteel Handmade is one of our preferred strap makers for good reason. Aside from the wealth of leathers, linings, and stitching options, there is always someone on hand to assist with the creation of the perfect custom strap. However, before you set about building your dream watch band, you need to get a feel for what kind of strap looks good with what kind of watch. Having been inundated with questions on this matter, Genteel Handmade decided to take the opportunity to provide followers with a more detailed response…
The importance of a watch in a man’s wardrobe cannot be understated. It says more about the individual wearing it than any other accessory. That expression of self can be intensified by pairing a beloved watch head with the right strap. It doesn’t just give the wearer a chance to play with color and texture to match a specific outfit or make the watch wear more appropriately for a specific situation, it also presents a further opportunity for experimentation or a flourish of personal style.
Watch collecting is undoubtedly an expensive hobby, but strap flipping (made all the easier these days by the ubiquity of quick-release straps) opens up many doors of opportunity. As a starting point, Genteel Handmade provided a short step-by-step guide of things to consider when designing your new strap or choosing from the “ready to wear” collection offered on the brand’s website.
Where to start
Start by focusing on the watch dial. If the dial is a neutral color, then there are few limits but those of your own imagination. If, however, the watch has a stronger, more defined color, your selection should be more considered.
Take, for example, a blue dial. It stands to reason that blue dials pair nicely with blue straps. Generally, it is advisable to choose a darker shade or at least one that isn’t too close to the dial color to avoid clashing tones. Conversely, a contrast color works nicely too. You can use a color wheel to ascertain which color sits on the other side of the wheel from that of your watch dial. In the case of blue, that color would be orange. Given the warm, earthy tones of orange, you will find that browns also work well with blue.
For paler dials of white, silver, or cool gray, darker straps tend to work better. This is so the whole watch doesn’t become too “washed out” on the wrist. However, a paler combination results in a more feminine look that might appeal to female watch collectors a little more, especially those with jewel-set timepieces. Bear in mind also your skin tone. If you have a darker complexion, paler straps provide a nice contrast. Similarly, if you have very fair skin, it is often preferable to err toward the deeper, richer shades for the same reason.
Matching with the accents
An alternate strategy that has found favor with the Genteel Handmade community, is to match the strap with the key accent colors of the dial (or occasionally case). The color you choose here could be the secondary or tertiary color, but it should be the color that is responsible for the watch’s character. You can also choose to focus on the hands or markers to find your preference.
A subtler approach…
An elegant alternative is to match that characterful color with the stitching of the strap. See the above Speedy Tuesday Ultraman? The rich orange/red detailing on the dial may well be a sparingly used color in the overall design, but it is the element that gives the overall package its “zip”. To continue that theme on the strap, look to color-match the stitching. One advantage of this technique is that the colors needn’t be an exact match. The distance between them and their minimal use makes going a few tones on either side no issue whatsoever.
For someone that prefers to keep life’s little luxuries for themselves, you could choose to color match the lining to the dial or accent colors. You might remember recently that I took this tack with my custom strap for my Fratello Minase. I took a blue-dialed watch and paired it with a brown strap (as per the first section) and then had it lined in a vivid red goat leather to reference the bright red tip on the seconds hand.
What shoes are you wearing?
That’s right! There’s no shame in matching your watch strap to your shoes. In fact, it’s actively encouraged in sartorial circles. Again, you can go for congruity or contrast. If you have a lot of shoes and fewer watches, choose the quick-release spring bar option so you can flip the straps out in a matter of seconds as you chop and change your choice of footwear on your way out the door.
Suits you, sir!
The same is true of your wardrobe, of course. If you tend to wear a lot of the same color, it makes sense to have a strap in that region. But the most important thing is to match it with your personality. “The rules are made to be broken” (with some exceptions), so go with your gut. If you like it, that’s really all that matters. Genteel Handmade is a veritable playground for watch lovers so enjoy it. And if you have any questions, you can get in touch with the team there via the brand’s official website here.