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The Cheapest Way To Get The ‘New Watch Feel’ With Your Old Watch

A simple little trick to make your watch feel like new again

Whether you own one or ten watches there comes a time when you’re bound to become a little bored with them.

In some collector’s case they simply sell the watch, buy another and life continues as per usual. However, if you’re like me and have limited time and money then having a plan to give your watch a new lease on life requires more creativity.

It’s called a new strap.  

Why It’s A Strapping Good Idea

Three years ago I purchased my IWC Big Pilot. After about 12 months of looking at the classic Santoni leather strap with the four metal circles it dawned on me that everyone had the same watch. It was time for a change.

Enter the IWC Big Pilot Top Gun strap (in black calfskin). Not a massive difference, but it gave the watch a sleeker sporty appearance rather than the classic aviation inspired leather strap. I instantly fell in love with the watch again. It felt and looked completely new. 

It’s totally psychological, but damn it, it worked.

Fast forward to last week and once again there’s opportunity to change. Why? Because Summer’s coming in Australia and we spend most of our time in the water. Why not make the most of the watch all year round and in almost any condition. 

This time I’m opting for a black IWC Aquatimer strap. The strap has a very light argyle texture to give it some life. 

Our point here is every time you change the strap it feels like a brand new watch. It looks different, feels different and to the novice will look different.

The most astute collectors will know you’ve given your watch a facelift others may think you’ve picked up the watch in Bali on a recent surfing trip… but f*** them.

Panerai have long been known for this. Buying a Panerai offered customers a choice of leather and rubber straps to change based on their mood or season. More recently Apple with their Apple Watch with their endless straps and bracelets. Think of this as the Nokia 3210 experience for the watch collector.

So what are your options when it comes to new straps?

Nato Straps

Nato straps have risen to popularity in recent years thanks to their simplicity and affordability. They’re available in both nylon and leather in a variety of colours and are pretty easy to change. These range from $15 all the way to $150.

Leather & Calfskin Straps

For more dressy occasions we would recommend calfskin and shell cordovan straps. They’re rich in colour and are the perfect way to give your watch a high end feel…even if it’s a cheap watch. Expect these to cost upwards of $175.

Rubber Straps

If you’re in the water a lot then we recommend rubber straps. They come in a variety of colours and are durable in all conditions. The only downside is they’re not exactly black tie appropriate, so you’ll need to change it occasionally depending on the event. Rubber is on the cheaper side at $50.

Vintage Straps

If you’re a fan of the old school then vintage leather and suede straps will be suitable for you. They give the watch a worn and well loved appearance without you having to go to war. These are about $100 and come in many variations. 

Crucial Tip: Our advice is to measure your current watch strap to ensure the any new strap fits correctly.

A Toolkit For Fitting Your New Strap

Keep in mind that you will need the correct tools to change the strap, otherwise your local watchmaker can do this for you. It’s important you don’t scratch the case with a careless slip of the tool. You can buy watch tool kits online on eBay or any watch retailer. A kit like this will set you back about $15.

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