If there is one genre of watches that we might all agree are strap monsters it would be dive watches. And in particular, vintage-inspired divers that were endowed with strong 1960/70s skin diver vibes. These watches were de facto delivered on straps and meant to be paired with all sorts of two-piece watch accessories given that the space in between the lugs is straight instead of curved. This means whatever straps you put on a skin diver will sit flush against the case and create a seamless look. Because of that, in this strap guide, we’re going to pair a modern vintage-inspired skin diver, the Fleux FLX001, with a wide selection of two-piece straps and one single-pass from no other than WB Original and Jelsdal.
To make things simple, we’re going to first look at two straps from Jelsdal before getting deep into the greatest variety of straps I’ve ever paired with any watch from WB. As the saying should go, “There is a strap for every occasion” and I believe that this guide will easily demonstrate that.
Brown Vintage Leather from Jelsdal
There is nothing that screams “vintage” more than a good brown leather strap. What makes this Brown Vintage Leather strap old school is the slightly aged texture that shows signs of wear as if it had been worn for a few years, minus the actual wear. This is my favorite type of leather straps because they tend to be thinner than modern ones (which come with padding) and this one has a color that works with about any watch. Handmade in Germany with genuine Italian leather, this Jelsdal measures 114/82mm and has a 16mm polished stainless steel buckle to match the dramatic taper. (A 4mm taper means the strap will contour your wrist in a natural fashion.) Contrasting and rugged stitching add gentle accents of colors, and functionality is top notch thanks to Swiss Made quick-release spring bars.
Khaki Upcycled SEAQUAL Fabric Strap from Jelsdal
If leather is not your thing but you nevertheless wish to have a strap that is versatile and comfortable to wear, then I would recommend the Khaki Upcycled Seaqual Fabric Strap. Seaqual is an innovative material made of up-cycled marine plastic which, for once, is made in a way that is pliable and soft to the touch. (Straps made of recycled materials tend to be stiff.) The black lining on the back is made of apple fibers and feels like leather, meaning it’s soft and comfortable to the touch. In other words, this strap looks and feels like a quality leather strap whilst being good for the environment. The Khaki color is dark and mimics that of leather which makes it versatile to wear. This strap measures 114/82mm and comes with the option of a polished stainless steel buckle or gold one.
Black & Orange Two-Piece NATO from WB Original
Let’s move on to WB Original and a selection of five straps that each give a different character to the Fleux FLX001 skin diver. First things first, and perhaps the most original strap I’ve seen in a while is the Black & Orange Two-Piece NATO made of a 3mm thick, yet very supple, seat belt nylon paired with brushed hardware and black stitching. This strap exudes black-ops vibes which I’m not used to but which I quickly became a big fan of. And this two-piece NATO seems to have been made for the FLX001 given the orange line running in the middle which matches the old radium accents found on the watch dial. The strap measures 120/75mm and does not taper. It is available in the following lug widths: 18, 20, and 22mm.
Green Premium Sailcloth Strap
Whenever I think of dive watches my mind immediately goes to sailcloth straps. Although they are not the most water-friendly straps due to having a leather backing, they do work in many adventurous situations given the nylon’s tight construction and natural waterproofness. The Green Premium Sailcloth is made of a special nylon that takes a bit of time to break-in but once it’s done, it will retain its shape. The strap measures 125/75mm and comes in three lug widths (18, 20, and 22mm) which are paired with a buckle that is 2mm narrower. There are five options for buckles from brushed silver to polished rose gold and the eyelets are reinforced by a piece of leather to prevent fraying.
Orange Tropical Rubber Strap
Staying on the theme of waterproof straps, there is no better match for a diver than a Tropical Rubber Strap. This new model from WB Original is made of Fluoroelastomer, a synthetic rubber commonly referred to as “FKM” which is known—and sought after—for being highly resistant to extreme temperatures, chemicals, and sweat. This means this is the toughest strap you could pair with the FLX001, or any tool watch for that matter. The bright orange color adds an air of fun to any watch you would strap it to and it works particularly well here given the dark orange accents of the FLX001 lume. The strap measures 130/80mm and comes with a 3mm thickness throughout. It also has a gentle taper from the quick-release spring-bars to the tails of each end. It is available in 20 and 22mm lug widths and comes with brushed silver or matte black buckles that are 2mm narrower.
Vintage Brown Leather Strap
If you want to dress up your favorite diver then I recommend this Vintage Brown Leather Strap. Darker in shade than the Jelsdal we talked about earlier, it surely will elevate the look of your watch thanks to its soft and slightly vintage-looking Tuscan leather that is both soft and extremely pliable. This is the type of strap that will gain in character the more you wear it which will eventually make it look unique. (A bit like tropical dials found on vintage Rolexes.) This strap measures 115/75mm and comes in five lug widths—18, 19, 20, 21, and 22mm—and with the option for a polished gold or silver buckle. Note that the buckle on the 18/19/20mm versions is 16mm wide and 18mm on the 21/22mm versions.
Grey Premium NATO Strap
Last but not least, a strap guide on a diver wouldn’t be complete if it were not to include a single-pass NATO-style strap. This Grey Premium NATO is made of seat belt nylon which is both very soft and lustrous given its subtle sheen. This shade of gray is perhaps the most versatile of all gray straps one could find and works with virtually any watch. I particularly like how it matches the utilitarian undertones of the Fleux and how the soft nylon wraps perfectly around the wrist. The strap measures 280mm and comes with a meager thickness of 1.2mm which means it’s thin and won’t create bulk on the underside of your tool watch. It’s available in 18, 20, and 22mm lug width and the choice of brushed or polished silver buckles.