If you want to go deep with your diver you'll want the right strap. Invest in one of these bands before beach weather arrives.

While they look great with a Jubilee strap and office attire, divers were made for the sea. If you're planning on going under, you'll want a bracelet with fewer pins, and definitely not leather. Here's a rundown of the best quick-dry and hydrophobic straps to match your water-resistant watch because even landlubbers have been known to get wet now and then.

 

NATO


The NATO is distinguishable by its single strap design. Developed for British Armed Forces, this strap made its debut in a November 30, 1973 British Ministry of Defence Defence Standard 66-15 publication under the heading “Strap, Wrist Watch.” It became known as the NATO or G10 as shorthand for the NATO Stocking Number it was listed under and the G1098 form required for its requisition. The original version had strict specifications: the woven nylon band was 20mm wide and only available in "admiralty grey" while the buckle and keepers were chrome-plated brass. Attached to the buckle was a shorter piece of nylon strap with a keeper at its end for the strap to be passed through once it had been looped behind the watch. This kept the strap snug and the case in place. Easily interchangeable, the NATO is sported by passing the canvas band between the spring bar and below the casing (meaning if one watch spring bar breaks, the other will keep the case in place). Lightweight and affordable, these straps are quick-dry and great for warm weather and water. Today they're available in a rainbow of colors.

 

Tropic


Made of vulcanized natural rubber, which is not only impervious but also resistant to the elements — the sand, sun and sea — as well as stretching and cracking, the Tropic band entered the market in the early 1960s as an alternative to more cumbersome steel bands. This iconic dive strap rose to prominence quickly, being the band of choice for early Rolex and Tudor Submariners. Tropic straps are easily identifiable by a basketweave texture and the perforations that run from lug to tip, making this lightweight waterproof strap actually breathable. Slim in profile, these straps are nonetheless longlasting. Don't fall for silicone substitutes (which attract dust and lint). Today there are many types of vulcanized rubber bands on the market, in a slew of colors and styles, with the same comfort and advantages of the Tropic.

 

Perlon


Also made popular in the '60s, Perlon straps are made of braided nylon threads and are a fantastic option for the summer months. The tight basketweave is breathable and features no perforations; yet the watch is endlessly sizable, with the buckle's prong able to slip through the weave at any point. The nylon fibers are quite abrasion resistant, so you shouldn't have to worry about fraying with extended use, and do not stretch when wet. They also dry quickly.

 

Shark mesh


Made famous in the 1970s when it debuted as the band attached to the Omega PloProf 600, a diver built for extreme depths. The chainmail band may not be as shark-proof as the advertisement claimed, but its unique design is made of intertwined loops — with no pins between links. This band is more rugged and flexible than the finer Milanese
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mesh and Oyster , President and Jubilee stainless steel bracelets. Heavy but breathable (thanks to all those loops) these bands can be adjusted by removing links. The classic shark mesh bracelets feature a clasp with male and female parts (latch plate and buckle) that clip into each other. Like an airplane seatbelt, the clasp is released by lifting the spring-loaded buckle, making it very unlikely to come undone by accident.

 



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