#TBT Why Vintage Watches Need More Green Straps
I was surprised by how versatile green straps are. I realized this morning, completely by accident, how rich in tones and diverse in styles my green-strap collection is!
It’s quite a special day today. For the first time in a long time — wait… the first time ever! — both our one-year-old and three-year-old kids won’t sleep at home. Yes, it’s a summer date night, finally! I pulled out a striking lemon shirt that my wife bought for me (and loves so much) to pair with my favorite olive-green knitted shorts. Dressed like a picture, I opened the safe and began my sacred daily ritual — selecting a watch.
A lineup of green straps
Quite unexpectedly, I lined up four gold watches, pondering which vintage treasure to choose. They all had black straps on them, and I called my wife over to help with my selection. “None of them. Take the “Snow White” Gallet. It fits perfectly, and it also has a green strap.” Her confident and immediate response struck me, so I took the Gallet out of the safe. I also started to pull out other watches with green straps. I laid one next to another, something I’d never done before. The beauty of the “strap still life” in front of my eyes impressed me so much, that I grabbed my camera, took a few shots, and started to type.
Green doesn’t have the best PR lately. I mean, there are so many green dials that there has to be a market for the color. On the other hand, the verdant dials popping up in every shop window make people joke about watch-related and green. Interestingly, and thankfully, green straps are exempt.
From black to green straps
From what we see, collectors mostly have tons of black and brown watch straps. And millions of shades of brown, mud, sand, wood, pecan, caramel, walnut, umber, coffee, chocolate, and cream. Only after that long list of “usual suspects” do some outliers start popping up. You don’t see blue, burgundy, or green straps often, do you?
Why are these “deviants” not commonly seen on our wrists? Well, there is a simple answer: they are not as universal as brown or black straps. I have to say, when buying straps, I go with the flow. I’ve never given it much thought, and my wild guess is that I have maybe twenty to thirty black and brown straps for each one in green, blue, burgundy, or gray. But is it true that our strap outliers are tough to pair with watches? Isn’t it just another prejudice that we’ve internalized due to years of mindless repetition? Having a look at my green lineup helped open my eyes.
Shades of green
The following is not a proven scientific fact, but rather an assumption based on my own observation: watch people live in a state of false belief that there are way more tones of brown that would fit their watches than green. The reason is that we don’t have many reasons or opportunities to think about it more deeply. My morning visual experience made me realize that I am way less confident in naming a variety of green shades.
When looking at them separately, I would call them all “green”. Looking at them side by side, I see five different green watch straps. I needed a bit of Google help to put emerald, laurel, Sacramento, pine, artichoke, and jungle in line next to moss, olive, and forest green.
Note to self: simply calling all my five straps “green” is limited, inarticulate, superficial, and even indifferent. Just like tones of brown, there seems to be a veritable multitude of green shades.
And now comes the best part: they are surprisingly easy to pair with a multitude of watches and outfits as well. Adding an unusual look and a bit of novelty to your life is a pleasant bonus. Let’s have a closer look at a few of them.
I liked this one, so I bought it a few years ago. I admit that I held off wearing this beauty from Two Stitch Straps because, initially, I found it too striking. After some time, I found the courage to strap it on, and it was a blast. I realized that it wasn’t even any more daring than any of the rich light brown straps that I have. I’ve paired it with a few watches for my #TBT photoshoots, such as the Sperina Counter and the Angelus Medical. I have to say, it has become one of my favorite straps since.
When someone says “green strap”, you likely see a NATO strap. But I bet that it’s not this shade of green. As I wrote in my review of the Citizen Alarm Date, I’d never intentionally choose this strap for it, neither sober nor drunk. But since it came like that, it was an instant hit. Anytime I spot it in the safe, I think it’s one of the all-time best and unexpected watch-strap pairings. I urge you to get some of these “cheapies” and try some of your vintage ’70s divers with them.
This is probably the most classy green strap you can find. But look at the pairing with this white-dialed Doxa. I always paired similar watches with a decent, smooth leather strap in a light brown tone. Until one day, that is, when I ran out of leather straps, and the only thing I had was this olive-green NATO. I found it a perfect match for the playful and creative Arabic numerals and the bright, lumed hands. This is another unexpected pairing that hasn’t left the watch since the first tryout.
Sage-green textured fabric
I know, it looks cheap in the picture… Until you turn it around and see the soft lining stamped with the G.L.C. Straps logo. It came to me in a pretty wild pairing with the Nivada Dato chronograph. I opted for a more subtle black leather for the Nivada, but this textured beauty found its way to my “Bond” Tissot PR-516 with a spectacular dial that reflects a range of different color tones.
This is a simple and perfectly flat strap in the most classic of designs from my favorite Italian maker, Torre Straps. Why does it look so fabulous, then? It’s because of the quality and color of both the leather and the thread. It perfectly matches chronographs with a bright dial. If there is a splash of minty green lume, you have the ultimate match.
What are your thoughts on green watch straps? How many of them do you have in your vintage-watch collection, and what is your best match with a green strap? Share your thoughts, and do not forget that green has plenty of shades too. Happy pairing!