If there’s one accessory every man needs to own, it’s a leather strap watch. It is a classic and versatile accessory piece that been trending throughout the ages. And owning a wristwatch with leather straps is one of the best timepiece investments you could ever make. A man’s wardrobe isn’t complete without one.
Apart from what it says of your personality and the swag it adds to your dressing, it’s a functional aspect of your outfit whether it’s at work or on the weekend. If you don’t already own one, this is a ‘must’ men’s accessory staple piece.
This article reviews the best men’s leather watches under 100 you can buy right now. We review each watch under different sub-headings to make it easy for you to make your choice. Trust me, if these cool men’s watches were to be sold based on value, they’d be worth over a thousand dollars.
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For most people, the fear of investing in leather band watches comes from associating good quality watches with high-cost. This shouldn’t be as you can get cool watches for men under $100. So, if you’re working on a tight budget and are looking to invest in a great watch, this article is for you.
We also discuss different types of leather watch straps and the things to consider when investing in a leather strap.
The Best Chronograph Men’s Watch Under 100
Fossil Men’s Grant Stainless Steel and Leather Chronograph Quartz Watch
This multi-functional leather chronograph watch, which tells the date, time and functions as a stop watch is quartz-powered, making it more accurate than automatic watches. For ease of telling the time, the watch has three separate dials to track the hours, minutes and seconds.
Beside the watch, there are three buttons. The middle button is the push-pull crown used to set the time of the watch, while the other two buttons are used to control the stop-watch. The button above the push-pull crown is used to start/stop the stopwatch, while the one below is used to reset it to zero.
Just take a good look at this Fossil watch. Imagine it on your wrist already. Don’t you just feel elegant matching it with your cooperate shirt and a nice pair of wingtip shoes?
Fossil Men’s Grant stainless steel and leather chronograph quartz watch has a case size of 44mm and is water resistant, but just for 165 feet. This means you can comfortably wear it in the bath or pool.
You’d find the round blue pated stainless-steel case and blue dial of the watch appealing. And guess what? It comes with giftable tins. This makes it easier to get the watch for someone as a gift.
- Round blue plated stainless-steel case with silver top ring
- Separate hour, minutes and seconds dial
- Brown leather band with buckle closure
- Stopwatch functionality
- Water resistant
The Best Weekender Men’s Leather Watch
Timex Unisex Weekender
Timex has never been the brand to compromise on quality men’s watches. With this wrist watch, they remind us why they are one of the best watch brands for men in the market.
This Timex Weekender is all about convenience and flexibility. An integral feature of the watch is its adjustable leather band. You can freely change the band to match any outfit you’ll be on. That’s why we recommend it as the best casual men’s watch.
Timex redefines time telling with their trademark Indiglo technology which makes telling the time in the dark as easy as doing so in daylight. The dial, face and numerals of the watch are cast in silver and black colours to help the eyes easily detect and tell the time.
This cool men’s watch is water resistant and comes in different sizes.
- Indiglo light-up dial
- Black dial with Arabic numerals
- Silver-tone 38mm brass case with mineral glass crystal
- Adjustable brown 20mm double-layered slip-thru leather strap
The Best Calfskin Men’s Leather Watch
Stuhrling Original Men’s Calfskin Leather Strap
If you are thinking about minimalist watches, here’s a great option. The Stuhrling Original offers a calfskin leather strap, expecting to last a long time.
As you may already know, calfskin leather has a smooth surface, is light weighted, abrasion-resistant and has a soft, fine feel. And that’s what the leather of this watch is made of. You may never want to remove this Stuhrling watch because of its feel against your skin.
The design of this leather strap watch is simple, making it effortlessly compatible with both your causal and cooperate wears. You’ll appreciate this watch better if your wrists are slim because it has an ultra-slim profile- just what your wrists would need.
The watch offers a 2-year comprehensive international warranty, something not many good watch brands can boast of. Apart from telling the time, the watch also tells the date.
- Analog display
- Ultra slim profile
- Minimalist design
- Quick-set date window
The Best Dress Leather Watch
Seiko Men’s SNDC33 Classic Black Leather Black Chronograph Dial Watch
This Seiko SNDC33 chronograph dial watch is not for every man. It’s for men who dare to be exceptional.
If you’ll be attending a black-tie event or any formal or casual occasion, this is just the watch you need to stand out in a room full of people who would probably be wearing the same thing as you.
As a dress watch, its features are not bold. Yet, they stand out on your wrist.
The Seiko Men’s SNDC33 chronograph dial watch uses quartz watch technology and features Seiko’s trademarked Hardlex dial window which makes the face of the watch scratch-resistant.
With a water-resistant depth of 330 feet or 100 meters, this watch is suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but not scuba diving. This colour combination makes time-telling easy coupled with its luminescent dials. The watch employs Japanese quartz movement for accurate time telling.
It matches effortlessly with almost every outfit. From tuxedos to business formal, business casual and casual wears. But it’s not recommended as a sports watch.
You’ll absolutely enjoy using this wrist watch.
- Fixed gold-tone stainless steel bezel
- Silver-tone stainless steel case
- Hardlex dial window
- Luminescent dials
- Analog display
The Best Quartz Watch with Leather Strap
Hugo Boss Copenhagen Stainless Steel Men’s Black Watch
The first word that will catch your eyes when you look at this watch is ‘BOSS’, and that’s exactly what this watch will make you look and feel like.
Hugo Boss’s Copenhagen watch operates on quartz movement. The watch functions to give the precise time using an electronic oscillator and quartz crystals. So, it’s possible that you could walk into a room and be the only one with a precise timepiece.
To guarantee its durability, this Boss watch features an ion plating that’s 40mm thick and a mineral crystal face which is abrasion-resistant. It has also been designed to resist water up to 50m (165ft) deep.
You’ll have fun matching this wrist watch with any outfit colour or style, especially because of its black smooth leather strap.
- Analog display
- Durable mineral crystal
- Black smooth leather strap
- Grey brushed textured dial
- 40mm black ion plating case
The Best Leather Men’s Sports Watch
Fossil Stainless Steel Men’s Sport Watch
Fossil claims to be inspired by creativity and ingenuity. There definitely is no lie in that and this watch is a testimony of their claims.
The silicone strap of the watch which is waterproof makes it the best recommendation to make for the sporty gentleman. Engaging in sports activities exposes you to sweat and other humid conditions which when absorbed by the watch’s leather causes it to smell. You don’t want that. Since the strap does not absorb moisture, there’ll be less chances of having skin irritation often associated with damp leather.
Fossil is keen on promoting both beauty and functionality. The watch features a rose-gold tone plated stainless-steel bracelet guaranteed to last a lifetime! It has 3 sub-dials structured to track the hours, minutes and seconds and is up to 165 feet water resistant.
- Waterproof silicone watch straps
- 3 sub-dials to track hours, minutes and seconds
- Genuine blue leather band with buckle closure
The Best Aviator Leather Watch
Invicta Men’s Aviator Stainless Steel Quartz Watch
The Invicta Aviator Men’s stainless-steel watch is a mini-machine.
Aviator watches have their origin from the World War, when they had to be used by pilots. The watches had bold screens to help pilots quickly read the time.
For ease of telling the time, this watch maintains the bold screen design associated with aviator watches. In addition to that, the hands of the watch are luminous, dual coloured and propped against a grey and black dial to create a colour contrast.
The leather strap of the watch is made from calfskin for both quality and comfort. It’s also characterized by a push-pull crown which makes setting the time easy.
You could pair this watch with your less-formal outfits.
- Luminous dual-coloured hands
- Flame fusion crystal
- Grey and black dial
The Best Quick-Set Day-Date Leather Watch
Stuhrling Original Aviation Quick Set Watch
Ease of use + class = Stuhrling Original aviation quick set watch.
The watch features luminous multi-colour hands which makes time-reading easy. The calendar function of this Stuhrling men’s watch is also easy to access even in the dark as the days of the week are clearly written out in luminous print and a red light is used to indicate what day of the week it is.
Stuhrling Original aviation Quick-set watch features a button by the side- the push/pull crown. This button is used to set the time and date of the watch. When you pull out the crown, you’ll notice there are two stops. The first sets the time, while the second sets the date.
The edgy style of this men’s aviation watch is what attracted me to it, while its ease of use made me pay.
- Luminous hands, numbers and markers
- Push/pull crown
- Date function
The Best Leather Watch with Roman Numeral
I by Invicta 90242-001 Stainless Steel Watch
If ‘authority’ was a watch, this would be it.
This watch by Invicta features a black premium leather strap with buckle clasp and mineral crystals to protect the entire dial of the watch. The hands of this Invicta men’s watch give off light to make it visible in poor lighting conditions, while Roman numerals are used to clearly mark time.
You’ll love to match this wrist watch with a suit or tuxedo. A tuxedo, preferably.
Not sure of the difference between a suit and a tuxedo? Check here.
- Roman numeral
- Mineral dial window
- 44mm stainless steel case
- Japanese Quartz movement
- 3 sub-dials and a date window
The Expedition Leather Strap Watch
Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch
As a watch that draws inspiration from vintage military watches, it’s sturdy and withstands tough conditions.
The Timex men’s expedition field chronograph watch is not your regular watch. It features a tachymeter for measuring speed, a stopwatch and a calendar. The date window is placed at 4 o’clock and unlike some top men’s watches, you don’t have to set it after every 24 hours.
This timepiece is powered by a lithium metal battery and has a strap made of authentic leather.
Time reading in poor light conditions is made easy, courtesy of its Indiglo technology. Indiglo technology works by uniformly lighting the surface of the watch using blue electroluminescent lighting.
You’ll love the different colour combinations Timex makes this wrist watch in. Check them out!
- Black dial
- Date window
- Indiglo technology
The Different Types of Leather Watch Straps
Let me give you guys a little expo.
If you want your time piece to look brand new, just change its leather strap.
Here’s what makes leather-strap classic watches better than others- there are many options to explore.
In this section, we’ll be discussing different types of leather watch straps and you’ll be surprised to learn how many different types of leather watch straps there are.
Generally, there are only two types of leather: genuine and faux.
This is the product of animal skin and hides that have been chemically treated. Hides from different animals are used as leather. Animals such as deer, calf, alligator, crocodile, cow, pig, goat, etc.
On the other hand, faux or synthetic leather is an imitation of original leather. It’s a petroleum-based alternative to genuine leather and is manufactured in factories, while genuine leather is processed in tanneries.
Sometimes, leather is made from pineapple leaves, apple peels and other fruit wastes. Such leather is called vegan leather.
But leather wrist watch straps are not classified as genuine or faux. They are classified based on designs.
Therefore, below are the different types of leather watch straps.
Stitched Leather Strap
Stitched leather watch straps are probably the most common, especially because stitching is an easy way to beautify the leather while helping to prolong the service life of the leather by keeping the edges intact.
It’s important to pay attention to the quality of a stitching, as that would determine the life span of the strap. Aesthetics is also important. The beauty of stitched straps is usually complemented with hardware such as buckles, clasps, rivets, staples, etc.
Stitching and gluing are traditional ways of creating double-thickness straps. The leather could be hand-stitched, machine-stitched or both hand- and machine-stitched.
Stitched leather straps go well with a lot of watch heads.
NATO Leather Strap
NATO straps were designed for British Army soldiers in the 1970s and were originally characteristic of nylon straps, not leather. They are your serious, but not too serious kind of leather strap design.
NATO straps are versatile and blend with any tone of outfit. They can be used for both casual and business outfits. They go well with a wide range of watch heads. Unlike other types of leather straps that are sometimes projected to go out of style/ fashion in years to come, the NATO leather strap won’t. This could be courtesy of both the functionality and simplicity of the strap.
This leather strap is what you want to find yourself wearing in hot and humid weather conditions.
NATO straps are best suited for small watch heads. They equally have a watch keeper strap which ensures that your watch case stays firmly on your wrist.
- Single-piece construction
- Watch keeper strap
Aviator or Pilot Strap
When aviator straps made their debut behind watch faces on the wrist of German soldiers during WWII, they were incredibly long and for a good reason- there was need for them to fit over the pilots’ flight jacket. To help this time piece stay strapped, one or more rivets were added just below the lug.
After the war these straps remained functional and in demand, but they had to be modified for its new users. So, its size was greatly reduced, just as the watch face it was used with. However, the rivets remained for the sake of beatification and not function.
This strap goes well with chronograph and aviator watches such as the Invicta Men’s Aviator stainless steel quartz watch we earlier reviewed.
- Large rivets below the lugs
Rally Leather Strap
Rally men’s leather straps were influenced by motor sports and vehicle technology generally. They were designed to provide comfort for drivers and navigators.
You’ll notice that rally leather straps have big cut-outs. These cut-out help dissipate heat generated in racing cars and cockpits. The leather is better used with big watches and chronographs. It will look overwhelming on small watches.
- Big cut outs
- Colourful stitching
Bund Leather Strap
This strap design is speculated to have originated in Germany. As a matter of fact, ‘bund’ is the German word for ‘band’.
Bund watch straps have broad backing straps, usually made of leather as well, to which a watch head is attached. Bund straps could be two-piece or one-piece and are secured using rivets, tabs or spring bars.
Bund straps should be used with Aviator and military watches to keep the large onion of such watches from digging into the skin. You may find bund straps uncomfortable on hot days.
- Broad back straps
- They’re usually two-piece
Padded Leather Strap
Padded watch straps are straps that have two pieces of leather glued and stitched around a core. Different materials are used for padding leather straps such as cardboard, neoprene foam, cotton wadding, fibreglass-reinforced synthetic and sometimes leather.
Padding gives the strap a contoured profile while adding to the beauty of the watch. You’ll find that padded straps are thicker than non-padded wrist straps.
- Padded leather straps are usually thick
- They’re padded by stitching and gluing
- They have a contoured profile
Zulu leather straps
This strap bears a semblance with NATO straps because they were inspired by it. There are, of course, certain features which mark the difference between both strap types, first of which is the thickness of the material. Zulu straps are thicker than NATO straps. They also have larger and more rounded hardware to accommodate their increased girth.
Remember we earlier said NATO straps have watch keeper straps, Zulu straps don’t have that as a basic feature. Some do, others don’t.
Because Zulu straps are thick, they do not fit into the spring bars of most watches. This makes them better suited for big watches.
- They are available in both 3- and 5-ring configurations
- They have large dimensions
- Thick leather
Leather Double Ridged Watch Strap
The concept of a double ridged strap is simple. It’s achieved by inserting a padding inside the strap which makes it protrude. The inserted padding makes the strap look like a ridge, that’s why it’s named thus.
This strap is mostly used with small-face watches.
- They have a protruding outlook
Before we move on to the next section, let’s talk about how the different types of leather watch strap overlap.
You must have noticed that most straps share common features with others.
For example, we first talked about stitched straps. But apart from the basic stitched strap, double ridged straps, bund strap and padded strap are stitched too. You’d also notice that we discussed padded and double ridged strap as two different kind of straps.
You may be tempted to group them as the same. However, if you carefully study what’s been written about each strap, you’ll notice that although most straps share similar characteristics, they each have their peculiar features.
Things to Consider Before Investing in a Watch with Leather Straps
If you want to get the best out of your leather watch, you should know the necessary factors to consider when investing in one. Some of factors for the best leather watches are discussed below.
How to Determine What Watch Size You Need
This is simple and important to avoid getting over-sized wrist watches.
Wrist watch sizes range between 34mm- 47mm. Watches less than 34mm are considered small. Those 34mm-38mm are midsize. 39mm – 42mm are standard. 43mm – 46mm are large. While 47mm sized watches are extra-large.
First thing you need to know is your wrist size. Measure it so you can easily match it with the size of the watch. If the circumference of your wrist is about 6-7 inches, go for 38mm, 40mm and 42mm watch cases. If it’s about 7.5-8 inches, your eyes should be set on 44mm to 46mm watch cases.
How to change a Leather Watch Band
You may want to switch up things by trying a different strap as earlier advised. Here’s a simple guideline on how to do this. Kindly note: you’ll need a spring bar tool.
- Set up your work space by clearing it of any object
- Insert the forked end of your spring bar tool in-between the strap and the watch’s lug from the back side of your watch
- Gently apply pressure inwards and downwards to cause the bar to pop out
After you’ve changed the strap, you’ll want to insert the spring bar with the new strap back on the watch.
- Insert one end of the spring bar into the hole on the watch’s lug
- Use your spring bar tool to depress the other end of the spring bar. This will cause it to slide inside the watch lug.
- Voila! You’re done.
How To Clean A Leather Watch Band That Smells
Leather isn’t a breathable material, so it can easily smell especially because of sweat and other humid conditions. A simple way to clean a leather band would be by;
- Detaching the leather strap from the watch
- Use a dry cloth to wipe off both sides of the strap
- Dampen a jewellery cloth and apply a tiny drop of mild soap or leather watch cleaner on it, then in gentle circular motions, tap over the surface of the leather
- Use another soap free damp material to gently wipe the leather clean
- Allow the strap to dry, then condition with leather oil before re-inserting the strap back to the watch.
Periodically use leather watch cleaner and leather oil for strap treatment to keep your leather in top form.
How to Soften a Leather Watch Strap
Leather watch straps/ bands are usually stiff initially but softens over time. However, you can hasten the breaking-in process. The following tricks would suffice.
- Curve the band back and forth firmly, while imitating the look the strap will have if placed on the wrist. The downside of doing this, however, is that it could cause the leather to crack. A better alternative would be to
- Apply a small amount of leather oil on a piece of cloth and use it to rub both sides of the stiff leather to create a softer leather. Keep the leather in a properly ventilated placed to dry. When it does, your leather strap will be ready to serve you less stiffly.
How to Punch a Hole in a Leather Strap
With the right tool, creating a new hole on your leather strap will be easy. Use a strap hole punch tool to create new holes on the watch. Most strap hole punch tools come with two round hole punches- 1.50mm and 2.0mm. The tool is simple to use.
- Place your strap on the acrylic plate
- Position the tool against the part of the leather you want to punch the hole on
- Press the tool down. It immediately creates a clean cut
It’s advisable to place an acrylic plate under the strap when punching a hole so the tip of the tool doesn’t get blunt.
The next question is,
Are Leather Watch Straps Waterproof?
Generally, leather isn’t waterproof. It can only resist water to a certain degree. If you go through the reviews done earlier, you’d notice that different watches are able to resist water down to a certain degree.
Therefore, no. Leather watch straps are not waterproof. They can however, be waxed to make them water-resistant.
Advantages of Leather Watch Strap
Most people who use leather watches agree that it has the following advantages:
- It has a cosy feeling against the skin
- People seldom react to leather watches, unlike metal watch straps
- There’s this elegance it adds to your personality that other watch straps don’t
Disadvantages of leather watch strap
- It wears out fast by cracking and peeling
- It requires extra care, else it will smell
We’ll be ending this article with the timeless argument-
Leather or Metal Strap, Which One is Better?
You see, there’s no absolute way to answer this. Knowing the pros and cons of both straps may help you reach your decision faster. Same as knowing what you want out of a strap.
If I need a strap that will last longer and does not require special attention to maintain, I’ll go with a metal strap. But if I need a strap that always feels cosy against my skin and is a perfect fit for both my formal and casual outfits, I’ll go for a leather strapped watch.
In other words, it boils down to you. What do you want?