Strap culture If you will indulge me, I'm going to go slightly off topic for a moment (wags out there will likely be thinking, "When is this column ever 'on' topic?"). I wanted to touch briefly upon the subject of Jurassic World and how incredibly good it is. Like many, I was sceptical about whether they could top the magic of Jurassic Park, but it seems they spared no expense to create a hold-onto-your-butts adventure with Indominus rex the ultimate clever girl. Or something.
Anyway, lame attempts to shoehorn in Jurassic Park references aside, I've probably dwelt too long on dino-related movies, so I'll crack on with the watches. This week we'll look at three timepieces with very different straps. "Why straps?" I can hear literally no one say. Well, even men with a passing interest in watches will have noticed that straps have become very important, central even, to the fashion side of the watch business, and that happened long before that tricksy designer Marc Newson came along and turned the strap game on its head.
Straps these days tend to come in three distinct types: traditional leather and the variants on that; sporty rubber straps found largely on diver watches; and the nylon Nato strap, which has become, sadly, ubiquitous. We won't mention the Nato as it has been done to death, so we'll start with leather, glorious leather and the strap for the Ball Watch Engineer II Green Berets (right). This rather militaristic-sounding watch features a vintage leather look strap in tan with lovely heavy duty stitching. The strap fits perfectly with the masculine nature of the watch, which is sized at 43mm and has a titanium case. Other features include the automatic movement, 100 metres of water resistance, a date window and the Ball Watch patented mini gas tubes that glow in the dark. The Ball Watch Engineer II Green Berets is priced at HK$15,180.
Next we have the Bremont Oracle I (right), which for those in the know is the watch specially created for the America's Cup holders Oracle Team USA. Now Bremont is a quintessentially British brand, but it seems to have extended its largesse to its American cousins to create a nifty sports watch. The strap, in the eye-catching colour of the Oracle team, is heavy duty rubber, designed to function in extreme conditions. As for the watch, well it ticks all the boxes necessary for a seaworthy timepiece, including water resistance to 500 metres, COSC-certified chronometer and a clear dial face. Other dive watch features include the helium escape valve and unidirectional bezel. The steel case is sized at a chunky 43mm. Prices for the Bremont Oracle I are available upon request.
Finally, we have the motor racing leather strap found on the Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph (top). Straps for watches associated with the sport have traditionally featured large holes to dissipate sweat and nowadays to provide a more edgy, vintage and dynamic look. As the name would suggest, the watch is a tribute to Healey, that classic British car marque. The design is again a tip of the hat to watches of old, with a chronograph with two sub-dials. The steel case is sized at 42mm. Prices for the Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph start at HK$25,900.