The Strap Swap Series showcases how easily a watch's appearance can be altered by modifying or swapping the watchband. It includes before and after photos or digital mockups of iconic and everyday watches.
One of the most affordable things a person can do to customize a watch is to replace the wristband that came with it. There are many strap options available to modify the character of the watch. One can let a little bit of his or her personal taste show that may not be in the original watchband that it came with (and everyone else has).
This episode of Strap Swap stars the Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 Titanium Limited Edition Chronograph Automatic Watch. It is an amazing watch that will be detailed in future MEET THE WATCH SERIES. Below is the stock Victorinox image showing the included titanium bracelet. Stop drooling and keep reading....
|Photo credit: Victorinox Swiss Army|
The first thing I did when I acquired this watch was remove the titanium bracelet and put it in a safe place. I will swap it back onto the watch for special occasions, but I wanted to use a daily strap that would show less wear.
Titanium is strong and light, but is not necessarily scratch resistant. Victorinox chose to use a bead blasted semi-matte finish for this limited edition model. That gorgeous surface quality is nearly impossible to touch up at home if scuffed. Scratches and scrapes can reduce the value of a used watch so the strap swap is a way of protecting its value.
|The Swiss Army black rubber dive strap was not bad, but I wanted something more...|
I wanted to enjoy the watch without worrying about marring the bracelet with "desk diving", and besides, I wanted to customize it. Since it is a legit dive watch capable of withstanding depths of 500 meters (1640 feet!!), I first tried using a borrowed 22mm Swiss Army rubber strap from another Dive Master 500 that I own. It worked, but it was kind of a snoozer...
I randomly came across an alternate option for a rubber watchband from Tsovet.com, a California-based watch company with cool timepiece designs and lovely straps. The one in particular was a marked down $50 olive drab rubber dive band on sale for $10.
|Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 Fantasy Concept with Tsovet Olive Dive Band with Gun Metal Buckle|
The clincher was that Tsovet offered buckles in a gunmetal finish that would closely match the look of the watch's titanium. Before I bought the 22mm strap for this watch, I made a digital composite from available images and came up with the custom watch below.
|Digital Rendering of Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 Titanium LE + rubber Tsovet Strap|
Conceptually it worked and I now had a one-of-a-kind custom watch unlike any of the 332 other owners that were lucky enough to grab one of these limited edition chronographs. However, I thought there may be yet another option that would work better to tie the dominant dial components to the band creating a more cohesive unit.
|The lume is different colors and puts on a deep sea light show of luminesence|
Where the olive drab Tsovet color was an attempt to capitalize on the subtle green present in the lume, picking a cream colored watchband might match better and emphasize the geometric shapes on the dial more effectively.
I digitally worked up several watch+strap concepts from watchbands for sale online and on eBay. Each one gave a different personality, and it was an extremely difficult choice. There were no wrong answers here... only differences of opinion. I can't tell you how many times I second guessed myself and even now, I think I might have made the wrong choice by picking the second strap from the top.
|So many choices... too many choices.|
|I chose this one and I hope it was the right one... seen here as a virtual rendering.|
UPDATE: Here is the actual Dassari Heritage Beige watchband. I think it looks great, but this exercise shows that the color of watch bands that you find for sale online are rarely accurate. Expect a little of the unexpected. Sometimes it works better than anticipated.
|The final choice looks different than anticipated, but the transformation makes me want to eat the watch more.|