Watch enthusiasm is often marked with periods of restlessness. A desire to expand a watch collection can lead to either a sense of achievement or sometimes regret. Before taking the plunge, it is also worth considering a colorful watch strap to mix up the look of your existing collection. It could save you thousands.

It has been muggy here in Sydney lately, with summer-like storms lingering and periods of relatively high humidity. Something about the fickle weather has had me in a funk. Sometimes when I get this way, I will start looking at new watches more, like window shopping to keep my restless mind occupied. Having come out of this process, my advice is to look into a much more affordable method of mixing things up. If you are in a funk, get a colorful strap instead. And are you looking for a fun watch? Get a fun strap instead! 

Colorful watch strap Tudor Oyster yellow leather

Yellow watch straps could be good for your happiness

Studies have examined how color can be connected with a sense of joy. One survey study published in Science, which looked at our response to the color yellow, found that people further away from the equator were far more likely to connect yellow to joy than people who lived much closer to the equator

I am not exactly sure how this research applies to us Sydneysiders who seem to get a fair bit of sun. In fact, for those of us lucky enough to live closer to the coastline, sunbathing and general sun-worship are a bit of a thing. It seems, however, that if you live close to the equator where the sun is strongest, you may not necessarily feel the same about yellow, the color associated with the sun, as someone in ice-bound Finland, for example. 

Colorful watch strap Certina DS-2 Tropic-style strap

Colorful watch straps are a good thing

It should come as no surprise that colorful straps can make us feel differently about the watches we love. Luckily for me, the Fratello Shop has an array of colorful options. These include some attractive suede straps in different shades of blue (one of my favorite colors for straps). A standout for me, however, is the Fratello Tropic-style strap, which suits many Doxa watches and the Certina DS-2 I’ve paired it with in some of the photos here. Tropic-style straps are worth looking into if you have a water-resistant watch and want to bring a vintage vibe to the table. You can see some images of these straps doing their thing in the gallery below.

I would be curious to hear from you, dear Fratelli; what colors do you tend to veer toward when it comes to watch straps? I quite like the blue Fratello Tropic-style strap, which looks great on my Doxa Sub 600T Pacific as well as the Certina DS-2. The great thing about rubber straps is they particularly suit colors. To me, it seems there is something more natural about pairing a colorful rubber strap with a dive watch than a colorful leather strap with a dress watch. Perhaps it is because I associated dive watches with outdoor fun in the past.

Colorful watch strap IWC blue goatskin

Try a watch strap outside your comfort zone

But that trend for me has changed this year. Beyond the offerings in the Fratello store, I recently had the chance to get a few watch straps from Fluco. For those who don’t know, Fluco is a German strap manufacturer that we have covered before here on Fratello. Recently, the company has branched out with even more color options than before, and I just had to try some of the ones that are less common among strap makers. 

These Fluco Biarritz Summer straps use goatskin for comfort and come in a range of bright colors. However, if goatskin straps are not what you are after, once again, I recommend checking out the Fratello Tropic-style straps for colorful, waterproof options.

Colorful watch strap Longines Conquest lilac goatskin

Having a point of reference

I’ve often perused the Fratello strap shop as a reference point. It doesn’t have to be the Fratello strap shop, of course, but it is always good to have a central reference point when matching different colors to different watches. I find, for example, that blues of various shades suit pale-dialed watches. That means anything silver, white, or eggshell. The blues can be dark, like a Prussian blue, or light.

By contrast, multicolored NATO-style straps can work well with a dark-dialed dive watch. When paired with a lighter-dialed watch, these busier, patterned straps can start to look a little too busy.

Colorful watch strap options

Here in Sydney, I waited for a sunny day and invited my partner out for a photo session in a local parkland. I wanted to try to capture how different colors can play with a watch. Technically, I was there to help teach her manual photography, but she kindly stood in as my wrist model for this shoot. 

Colorful watch strap Zodiac chronograph yellow goatskin

Mixing it up

Pairing a bright yellow (or similarly bright) strap with a rather serious-looking chronograph or matching a light blue strap with my grandfather’s IWC dress watch adds a whole new dimension to these timepieces. With the Zodiac chronograph above, the yellow accentuated the dark features on the dial. Rather than draw attention to the strap, yellow seemed to draw more of my attention to the watch, which I found surprising. The Zodiac also has a red seconds hand, which works nicely with either yellows or reds on the strap front. 

Trying less common colors

Experimentation doesn’t have to end there either. A green or blue strap on my Tissot Seastar made the watch pop so much. That watch has a silver dial, and I find that silver dials tend to work well with brighter colors. In addition to the green and blue straps, we also tried pink, red, and lilac. My partner’s favorite is lilac, which looks great on her olive skin.

The blue straps were much more subtle, but they really accentuated the bright, silvery tones on the vintage IWC in particular. Silver or even cream and ivory are really good colors to pair with light blue, it seems. My colleague Mike recently showed off a vintage King Seiko on a light blue strap. As you can see in his article, it is a killer pairing and reinforces my point.

In the spirit of mixing up things further, I took some shots of my vintage Seiko 6309 on a “Bond” NATO strap. As you can see, it is not the most offensive look in the world, and it is a little playful. Perhaps this article can serve as inspiration to look into your unused strap collections and whip out something quirky and unexpected. 

Getting joy from experimentation

The whole purpose of this exercise was to experiment with colors that I rarely wear. In doing so, I’ve come to realize how much fun this can provide at a minimal cost and how it can be a great way to spice up your existing collection. In the gallery below, for example, you can see me experimenting with an orange rubber NATO strap, the Bonetto Cinturini 328, from Holben’s Fine Watch Bands.

Adding color to these watches also dialed up the fun for my partner’s watch-wearing experience. Given that one of the best aspects of this hobby is encouraging new members to join, this is a special by-product of the whole process. So colorful straps can not only lift your watch game by bringing new looks to your collection but can also make the hobby more intriguing and attractive for others. That’s a real bonus!

Final thoughts

So, there you have it — my brief journey with some colorful straps. They can truly breathe new life into a timepiece, and science seems to suggest they could even make you feel a little happier (depending on your proximity to the equator). The best part of this hobby, I would argue, is bringing in new people and sharing a sense of community.

Watches and horology can seem like a bit of a male-dominated hobby at times, so it was truly an unexpected but welcome bonus that, by embarking on this experiment with colorful straps, the hobby became more approachable to my partner. Thanks to Maddie for being my wrist model this time around. She liked the lilac strap so much that it will stay on the Tudor Oysterdate for a while yet.

Dear Fratelli, what is your favorite colorful strap option, and do you have a favorite color combination? Please let me know in the comments.