Strap Check: A Perfect NOS Milanese Bracelet For My Studio Underd0g Mint Ch0c Chip
Have you ever bought a strap or bracelet thinking it will be perfect for one watch, but it ends up working so well on another that you can’t seem to swap it out? Well, that’s essentially what happened here. I picked up this vintage new-old-stock (NOS) bracelet thinking it would go on my Speedmaster. Oh boy, was I wrong! In fact, I didn’t even get a chance to put it on that watch. The day the bubble envelope containing the bracelet arrived, something else was on my wrist; it was a fun and funky chronograph from a young brand that I was reviewing at the time. I give full credit for this combination to the quick-release strap on said watch and the fact that my Speedy was on the bracelet. Sometimes, the path of least resistance is the way to go. And this combination is living proof.
The watch in question, as you already know, is the Studio Underd0g Mint Ch0c Chip chronograph. Its 38.5mm steel case, with its delicate chamfered lugs, thin polished bezel, and rectangular pushers, has the perfect vintage lines to work on a vintage strap. This is why the wonderfully tapering OEM goat-skin strap from The Strap Tailor works so well. It is also why a genuine vintage steel Milanese bracelet also works! The moment I fitted the strap to the Studio Underd0g, I knew it was a perfect match. That’s something which was confirmed on Instagram, when Richard, the brand’s creator, contacted me about the bracelet after I posted a picture of it. He loved the combination and even decided to swap out one of his own watches to a similar Milanese he had in his strap box.
Studio Underd0g meets Milanese mesh
I didn’t mean to skip over that, but having a box of straps is a sure sign that someone is a true watch enthusiast. You can probably all relate, and the fact that Richard even had a Milanese… Kudos! But besides the retro look of both the watch’s case and the Milanese bracelet going hand in hand, why does this combination work so well? I think it’s because of how the all-steel minimalism of the case and bracelet allow the dial to shine. If this was a black-dialed chronograph with white markers (with peace and love to the Speedmaster) it just wouldn’t work as well. The Mint Ch0c Chip’s 38.5mm size is also perfect for the slim and delicate nature of this particular Milanese. I think that on the Speedy, it would disappear next to the case, and the watch would become top-heavy and uncomfortable.
You should also know that I’m not the biggest fan of mesh bracelets. I find that most of them don’t feel good on the wrist, and the clasps that you find on the majority are just not nice to look at. The clasp on this particular Milanese bracelet is something from another time, yet a clasp that I think deserves to return. On the outside, a simple brushed shell hides both the stamped elements as well as the length adjustment system. As you can see above, inside the clasp there is an articulated flap, which can be opened using a spring bar tool or a screwdriver. When lifted, the end of the strap can slide in and out freely. When closed, a protruding element sits into the grooves on the inside of the mesh, allowing its length to be adjusted on the fly without the need for micro-adjustment.
Is the bracelet flimsy? Absolutely. Off the wrist, it rattles like a wind chime in a tornado. However, thanks to the fact that the bracelet is NOS and its closures are still nice and tight, while on the wrist, it feels as solid as anything. I can report no sharp edges or hair pulling, which for a fairly cheap mesh bracelet is already high praise. For me though, the true highlight is just how well the bracelet matches the watch. It’s a combination that is not going anywhere any time soon. And for you fellow owners of Studio Underd0g Watches, make sure to get your hands on a nice mesh bracelet. It’s the perfect complement for this watch. I do hope that Richard will someday offer an OEM option, but until then, there are plenty of options out there on eBay and others.
What do you think of this combination? Do you think it’s a match made in heaven? Or does this dog need to be taken to the pound? Let me know in the comments below! And before you ask, no, I don’t have a link to this exact bracelet. It seemed to be a one-off sale of a vintage bracelet in NOS condition. That said, if you have caught the Milanese bug, there are plenty of options for sale. I would especially recommend the options available from Staib, which manufactures OEM bracelets for a number of big Swiss brands.
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