Comparing Leather vs Metal Strap Watches – The Pros & Cons

Which is a better strap for your watch?

A leather or a metal one? 

Each strap style has advantages and disadvantages.

It’s for the best to know these before you purchase a new strap to match with your watch.

Why Leather Straps?

Who doesn’t love leather?

It’s soft, natural, and a pleasure to touch.

The material is also often associated with luxury and elegance, which is why it’s often seen partnered with classic watches.

If you frequent formal occasions, a classic watch in a leather strap will perfectly match your leather belt and shoes.

Leather straps look more stylish and smart-looking when partnered with a dress or formal wear.

Compared to other strap styles, leather straps rarely come undone, thanks to the pin buckle system that secures the watch strapped to your wrist.

Leather straps aren’t meant for high-intensity activities like sports.

Sweat will be absorbed by the strap, weakening the material and causing it to break after prolonged exposure.

Leather straps are more prone to stains, so cleaning them at least once a year will extend its life.

Still, they’ll eventually wear out after years of use and will need to be replaced.


  • Works best with formal wear
  • Snuggly fits your wrist
  • Soft and pleasant to wear
  • Unlikely to come undone due to its pin buckle design


  • Not good with water or sweat
  • Color fades over time
  • May crack from frequent use
  • Strap color may not fit some outfit

Why Metal Straps?

Metal straps are made of stainless steel materials ideal for sports activities.

They’re durable, resistant to stretching, and virtually unbreakable, making them the ideal partner for timepieces designed for rugged activities.

They’re resistant to sweat too, so you won’t have to worry about compromising their sturdiness.

Stainless steel straps are also very versatile.

They can look more expensive, especially when they’re attached to an Omega or a Rolex body.

When you buy a watch with a metal strap in a physical store, you can ask the shop to adjust the links for you for optimum sizing.

However, you have to do the adjustments yourself when you buy the watch online.

One of the downsides of a metal strap is that the clasp can get undone when it’s hit or get caught on something.

Some brands have reduced this problem by having elaborately designed clasps such as the deployment clasp popularized by Rolex.

Metal straps are more resilient to stains compared to leather straps.

But dirt can still accumulate on the clasp or in between the links. 

Although the color of the stainless steel straps doesn’t fade, it becomes less lustrous as time passes by.

Cleaning and applying special polish will prolong its sheen.

Since metal is a good heat conductor, steel straps tend to get too cold or too hot when brought to places with extreme temperatures.  


  • Lasts longer compared to leather straps
  • Versatile and stylish
  • Can be submerged underwater without any problem
  • Provide a more luxurious appeal when paired with high-end watches


  • Tricky to adjust on your own
  • Clasp lock can get undone easier compared to that of a leather strap
  • Absorbs ambient temperature
  • Grime can accumulate between the links


If you are looking for the best watch brands for men then you will have the choice between having a metal or leather strap depends on the purpose of the watch.

Dress watches are partnered with leather straps because of the added classy appeal.

On the other hand, stainless steel straps are used on sports watches because of their durability and water resistance.

Aside from metal and leather straps, there’s a whole array of other strap styles to choose from, such as Nato, Perlon, and Zulu.

If you’re confused about which to buy, use the stock strap already attached to the watch and get a feel on how comfortable it is to wear it.

From there, you can decide whether to try a new style or stick with what you have.