The world of fashion and its neatly ordered collections, broken down into seasons upon seasons, can make the style tribe appear a fickle bunch, always captivated by the new and next. The judgement couldn’t be further from the truth though, as shown by the flock’s current fixation on classic leather watch bands (to wit, there was nothing random about Apple’s choice to work with Hermès to create classic bands for its watch of the future).
“A leather band is timeless. It goes with anything, is dressy without being over the top, and is one of those rare materials that actually looks more charming as it ages,” fashion writer Christina Perez mused. She thinks our click-obsessed culture is behind the resurgence too: “Leather bands have an old-world vibe that feels comforting in the face of such a rapidly changing, tech-focused culture.”
To echo Perez, rich, buttery leather in any form always adds a luxe feel—the effect is just as true via a loop around the wrist as a handbag or heel. Consider too the accessory’s history when puzzling out the way the globe’s most fashionable have maintained allegiance: Men adopted the style as a must for planning attacks in battle, while women were the ones treated to an ornamental version that lived on the wrist (Queen Elizabeth was thought to have received one of the first as a gift from her lover). From the onset, it was regarded as jewelry, not a workhorse piece.
Today’s watch really gained prominence in the 1950s, with the still covetable Rolex leading the way. “A wristwatch looks a bit more traditional and understated on a leather strap, which coincides with today’s trends nicely,” explained Michael Groffenberger, The Real Real’s Senior Director of Fine Jewelry and Watches. Watch devotees can also think of their timekeeper as part of an accessory stable: with bands now mostly interchangeable, it’s possible to invest in one quality watch and switch bands for fresh new looks. “The change isn’t that complicated and can allow you to really personalize your watch. They’re easy to replace and relatively low cost in comparison to the overall value of the watch,” Groffenberger added.
A classic that can adapt with the times? Very 21st century.