I was looking around for a good digital watch that had a conventional strap or bracelet, as you know I have thing about “bands” as they are sometimes called. The reason being that too many digital watches that may well feature a good functions set, invariably come with, and in my opinion let down, by having a bespoke rubber/resin/PU style fitted band fitted and some are even integral to the case.
And when looking at pre-owned digital watches that are for sale, the strap/band or whatever, is usually a replacement from possibly another watch in the series. The original more often than not became brittle, split and then replaced. Trouble is the watch is now obsolete, the strap is not available or if it is, all too often at an inflated price – hence an alternative is found and fitted as best you can. And that’s the big problem with these, apart from the fact although you love the watch, you might not actually like the band too much, or it may be too long, too thick, hard on the wrist or whatever – you’re stuck with it.
So I tend these days to look for a digital multifunction model that has standard lugs and pins every time, because then straps are never a problem. Of the big two, Casio and Timex, fortunately the latter has quite a number of models that feature just that – a conventional strap fixing system – not bespoke. So that’s good, certainly for me, as in general I find Timex digital function settings and operating modes more intuitive than Casio. But that’s maybe just me.
With your everyday daily beater, the ability to have easily changeable straps is even more important, so again I prefer to have a standard lug and strap/bracelet fitting. You might, for example, fancy a change of look and would like to fit a NATO style or G10 military strap, as they slip under the pins and are easy to fit to any size wrist. But though very successful even these have issues. They often can be rather long and not easily or neatly shortened and I well remember in the old days, cutting the strap then using my lighter to “seal” the end to prevent fraying). Also fastening can be awkward with the strap rings and often you have a double strap between the watch and the wrist making the watch effectively thicker. I used to cut off the “loop” so only one strap was under the watch.
Silicon deployment straps on the other hand are a great favorite of mine as they are very comfortable and fast to wear. Of course they need to fit to a watch with the conventional lug and pin arrangement and I often use them to replace the supplied straps or bracelets. The issue of course is that to fit them to your wrist, you have to cut the silicon rubber strap at set points along the strap, so it would not suit someone else if they had larger wrists for example. However, not a problem for me as if I sell the watch on, I simply replace the original strap. The advantage to the new buyer is he gets a brand new unused and original strap with his new purchase.
But for sheer ease of use and practicality the Velcro Fast Wrap strap is to me one of the absolute best solution to everyday watch wear.
It seems to me that Timex maybe pioneered to the mainstream the idea of the next generation of NATO style straps by introducing the oh so simple Fast Wrap and in particular my favorite, the Velcro Fast Wrap. Incredibly easy to fit to standard lugs and will fit instantly to any wrist, regardless of size. And this is a perfect fit, none of this between holes situation as with a conventional leather or PU strap with buckle and pin. It simply feeds through the lug pins, pulled to fit and smoothed down – job done – every time! And let’s see a pickpocket steal that! Because it takes a sustained pull to part the Velcro with that well known velcro riiiiiip sound!
So what I’m saying is for those daily beater situations a good cheap Velcro Fast Wrap strap beats them all – conventional leather buckle strap, the bracelet, the deployment and clasps, the pull through, Butterfly and the NATO – all of them.
I show here one of my Timex vintage models with it’s original Timex Fast Wrap Velcro and also the much larger Aeromatic with an independent “Sports” Fast Wrap Velcro strap which made that watch so much better to wear than the original.
The supplied strap was far too hard, stiff and uncomfortable – but as the watch had standard lugs and pins – this was easy to replace and now this watch gets a lot more wrist time than ever before.
Note – that as in fitting a NATO strap, the strap fits under the watch case and often with 2 parts of the strap. If you feel this makes the watch too thick on the wrist, you can depending on the strap, cut this loop part off –
See the image of my Aeromatic above which shows the back of the watch (the one on the left) – note the black part above and below the case, but the part against the case back is green. This is because the double part or the black part that should be there has been removed, cut off, as it was not required. The Aeromatic model has a fairly thick case to start with so I simply cut that loop out.
To “wrap” this up (sorry!) here are a few images of Fast Wrap Velcro straps that are available – and there are lots around at very reasonable prices. There is no doubt that the Velcro Fast Wrap is a very practical solution to straps and bracelets that maybe don’t work for you – BUT – you must have a model that has the conventional lug and pin arrangement.
However to find a digital watch today that has that convention is becoming harder, as the after market sales of these bespoke straps are terrific (and cynical in my opinion) money earners indeed to the watch company. However standard lug/pin fit watches are around. (I have 8 of them). Now of course not all 8 have been changed to Fast Wrap as the supplied straps of some are fine, but those that weren’t quite so good – were changed to either silicon deployments or increasingly Velcro Fast Wraps and they work every time!