Monday, August 26, 2013

Watch Primer: Shopping for Shorter Straps

One continual challenge I've faced as a watch enthusiast is finding straps that accommodate my wrist's 6" circumference.  The most common "short" strap length, usually 75mm by 105mm, inevitably proves to be at least one hole short of the right fit.  I've punched an extra hole (with mixed results), and shopped around for extra-short length straps, only to find that they're something of a rarefied breed these days, with major watch strap suppliers like Hirsch having discontinued "short" lengths altogether for their products.

The two sources I've found for extra-short straps are both German.  My favorite is Nomos, who in addition to being perhaps the best deal on the watch market for those looking for in-house movements also utilize Horween Shell Cordovan in the vast majority of their straps.  Shell Cordovan is made from a particularly pliant and durable section of horse hides, and those who frequent men's sartorial sites and forums will find that many pay a premium to have their shoes crafted from this special class of leather.  Nomos's cordovan straps are unlined, making them suitable for dress watches and all but the beefiest sport watches.  I pair their dark brown strap with my Speedmaster Pro, using the excellent 18mm RDH deployant from  A small tip as to strap widths:  click on the link for the Zuerich model for 20mm lug width straps, and the Tangente model for 18mm lug widths.  Both taper down by 2mm at the buckle end (or 18mm and 16mm widths, respectively).

Another source for extra-short straps is Stowa.  Two of their 20mm straps are offered in "short" lengths that measure 100mm/70mm, which should be just right for around a 6" wrist.

The difficulty with sourcing shorter-length straps is one of the reasons I generally prefer bracelets, which are often designed adjustable enough to accommodate even wrists under 6".  Another option for those hellbent on leather straps would be to have one made to order.

The final solution I've found is the NATO-style straps that Timex has famously paired with its Weekender series of watches.  They are noticeably shorter than genuine NATO straps, and fit my wrist perfectly.  I strongly recommend it to anyone with a smaller wrist who likes the NATO strap style but dislikes how long most of them are.  My picks are the Blue-with-Gray-Stripe and high visibility Red.

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