In the 1900s wristwatches were made mostly for women and were considered just a passing fad, but this changed during World War I. Pocket watches proved to be difficult to use while in the field and it was a lot easier for soldiers to wear the watches on their wrist. The war ended, but the popularity of the wristwatches continued long after.
During the war, soldiers would attach their watches to their wrist with a leather strap, but watchmaking companies soon added bracelets and straps.
The bracelet of a watch is made of metal and, as a general rule, has a deployment clasp. The metal used for the bracelet is usually the same as the metal used for the case of the watch, but there is also the possibility of using one metal for the case and a combination of that same metal with another one for the bracelet. The most commonly used metals are stainless steel, gold or silver. To wear a bracelet watch you only slip it over your hand and adjust it to your wrist with the clasp.
A bracelet will last a long time, but while some metals such as stainless steel are more durable, others such as gold can scratch easily. Be aware that some people are very sensitive to metals and can have an allergic reaction if it stays in contact with their skin for a long time.
Straps have a buckle that can easily be adjusted to your wrist (although some may have a folding clasp). They don’t last as long as metal bracelets, but can be easily replaced. The most elegant straps are made of rare leathers, but there are also regular leather straps that mimic oyster, crocodile or snake skin. PVC straps are a good option for sports or diving watches because they are strong, resistant and flexible and can be cleaned regularly, but some people may also be sensitive to the material.
To choose the best strap or bracelet for your watch you must consider your lifestyle and the use you’ll give to your watch. If your watch will be under water often, then a stainless steel bracelet or a rubber strap is your best choice. If you want it to function as a classy and elegant timepiece, then a metal bracelet or a rare leather strap is perfect.