Parts of a Watch Band

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A bracelet watch.
A bracelet watch. (Image: Jonathan Kantor/Lifesize/Getty Images)

The watchband comes in all styles and shapes and colors. Although most people refer to the watchband as a unit in itself, the industry term is actually a strap and bracelet, depending on the materials. At the end of the strap or bracelet is the mechanism that secures the watch to the wrist, called the buckle or clasp.

Straps

Straps are typically made from cloth, nylon, leather, alligator, lizard, rubber, plastic or any other non-metal material. The textures of the strap are hide-faced padded, which are a favorite on large men's watches; hide-faced flat for a slimmer look; or molded plastic or rubber. Straps are interchangeable, as long as the width is the same as the distance between the lugs of the watch. The strap is secured to the watch with pins. When changing the strap, it is advisable to take the watch to a jeweler who has the correct tools to securely fasten it together. A very small number of high-end watches have straps that have to be custom-fitted by the watch manufacturer.

Bracelets

The bracelet watch band is made of metal materials, such as stainless steel, gold, gold plated or titanium. Many bracelet bands are integrated into the watch itself and cannot be changed. To change the bracelet, the lugs on the watch need to be standard size.

The Watch Clasp

The watch clasp or buckle fits at the end of the strap or bracelet and secures the watch to the wrist. There are three types of claps. A deployment clasp inside style is hidden from view once it is secured on the wrist. It is a more elegant look and is popular on custom watches. The deployment style outside is the most common clasp and can be seen once the watch is on the wrist. The Tang-type buckle is the most common on strap bands and are exactly like a man's belt buckle.

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