Sailcloth watch straps have been making waves among horology lovers and casual enthusiasts alike. Combining a sense of adventure with the necessary durability to see those adventures through, sailcloth makes for a distinctive and resilient accessory.
If you’ve seen the sailcloth hype, and are still stuck somewhere between curiosity and confusion, we’re here to help. Let’s explore the origins of sailcloth watch straps, their longevity both as practical accompaniments and as style statements, and find out whether they’ll fit into your wardrobe.
So, What is Sailcloth?
While sailcloth watch straps don’t use canvas taken from the sails of ships, it’s close enough. The nylon watch strap material is woven and reinforced in much the same way that cruise sails are. This gives sailcloth watch straps their distinct naval charm, and a hardy resistance to saltwater (and freshwater too, for that matter).
Just How Durable are Sailcloth Watch Straps?
You know that material used to make bullet-proof vests; kevlar? Well, it’s a type of reinforced nylon known as nylon polyamide….
The Blancpain Effect
Around 1970, a renowned Swiss watch company, Blancpain, added a nylon polyamide kevlar strap to their equally renowned Fifty Fathoms watch. Intended for divers, this strap had to be tough and long-lasting, with no chance of breakages that would see a prized Blancpain sinking to the bottom of the sea. However, there also needed to be no chance of discolouration or fraying that would prevent the watch from being worn to the deck party that night.
Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms reinforced nylon watch strap was the inspiration for sailcloth watch straps as we know and love them today. Given that you can still find 1970 Fifty Fathoms with their original straps, we’d say they’re pretty durable indeed.
Are Sailcloth Watch Straps Uncomfortable?
Given that reinforced nylon isn’t particularly known for its lightweight, flexibility or soft touch, you’d be forgiven for thinking it wouldn’t make the most comfortable watch strap.
At the Thrifty Gentleman, we know not every watch-wearer intends to trek through the Andes before taking a brisk dive to the depths of the Pacific. Sometimes, you just want to wear your watch on a camping trip without worrying about losing it in the middle of a field. That’s why all our sailcloth watch straps have a leather-lined back.
The touch of leather between the sailcloth and your wrist means no irritation, even when wearing your watch for days at a time. However, the other benefit to this leather-lined back is that it allows the sailcloth nylon to mould and move with you. After a while, sailcloth watch straps will feel as much a part of your arm as your hand.
How to Style a Sailcloth Watch Strap
Given the inherent outdoorsy feel of sailcloth, it’s a given that it’ll look right at home with casual clothing. Khaki cut-offs, distressed jeans, neutral tees, base layers, and waterproof garments all match with sailcloth’s rugged aesthetic.
However, that’s not to say that sailcloth can’t be dressed up. Depending on the case and dial of your watch, a carefully selected sailcloth watch strap can elevate vintage elements, create a cohesion of hardware, and add an air of sea-faring sophistication to your overall ensemble.
What Colour Sailcloth Watch Strap is Best?
Finally, let’s find you your new sailcloth watch strap. The Thrifty Gentleman sailcloth watch straps are available in a range of colours, so don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, with quick-release spring bars, you can switch out your sailcloth watch strap as and when you want to.
- If you want to add durability to your favourite watch - grey is a perfect match.
- If you’re trekking by day and networking by night - black is the new black.
- If you favour light clothing but don’t mind getting muddy - khaki is best.
- If you want to capitalise on sailcloth’s history in the modern world - it has to be green.
- If you’re making a statement/need to be seen - orange is the colour for you.
- If you want to stand out but remain refined - try the red sailcloth watch strap.
On Dry Land and Gathered Waters…
At The Thrifty Gentleman, our watch straps work for you no matter where you find yourself. To view the full range of affordable and original watch straps, click here.
If you’re struggling to choose the perfect sailcloth watch strap for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here.