Is the band an integral part of the replica Breitling watches… or an accessory? Ask ten people the same question and you’ll receive five answers in one camp and five in the other. The first will be of the opinion that a watch can function perfectly without its band, which is therefore just an accessory. The others will reply that it is an integral part of the Breitling Chrono Avenger replica watches and sometimes highly technical – and is therefore in no way just a “simple” accessory, but inseparable from the timepiece. Witness the fact that a wristwatch without a strap or bracelet can no longer be worn!
A vain semantic quarrel? Not to the extent it might seem. A look at the recent investments made in 21st century bands gives some idea of their importance to customers – and thus to the brands themselves. This fundamental trend is part of a lineage that goes back three generations.
Generation I and II: the Pioneers
The number one trend, after leather and steel had asserted their supremacy, was to simply extend the main material used on the case. This saw the birth of bracelets made of titanium or ceramic. Rado, Chanel and more recently Ralph Lauren feature amongst the many representatives of ceramic used for bracelets.
Chanel’s J12, an iconic ceramic bracelet.
Nevertheless, the jewellery companies had long anticipated this approach with the aim of extending the case material to the bracelet. Richly set feminine timepieces have always been interpreted in rivière-style models with bracelets that are equally set. The most frequent case is a diamond-encrusted case flowing into a bracelet set with the same stone. Recently, jeweller Graff revealed its aptly named “Fascination”, a piece with a pear-shaped case and integrated bracelet, both entirely set. Chopard is also ahead of the curve in this regard with its “Heure du diamant” collection.
These companies make up the second generation of artisans of the modern bracelet. They are the ones that have abandoned traditional leather, steel and gold to offer alternative materials. But it is now well and truly a third generation that is currently emerging.
Generation III: the Conquerors
This freer and more creative wave consists of brands using cutting-edge technologies to create combinations of original materials. During the most recent SIHH, it was Roger Dubuis for example that stood out with the first bezel in gem-set rubber. This is a unique combination that one could expect soon to be extended to straps… This would bring a breath of new life to the “casual chic” straps that were born in the 1970s. At Baselworld 2015, the Manufacture Ulysse Nardin also launched its Marine Perpetual model equipped with a similar bezel. Gem-set rubber could thus become one of the next trends in fake Breitling Chrono Avenger watches UK bands.
The rubber bezel of the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon by Roger Dubuis, a development that paves the way for exciting potential extensions to the strap.
© Roger Dubuis
Hysek has also just revealed an exciting new option. The Manufacture has developed insertions into rubber straps, with decorative inserts of steel, titanium and gold, picking up on the letter H for Hysek. A rotational axis is also added, along with swivelling lugs, at the far end of this H motif, in order to enable optimal adjustment on the wrist. This strap is part of the Abyss collection and is notably used on the new Abyss 44mm Chronograph.
Hysek has developed a new strap on which the H inserts (steel, titanium or gold) are fitted into a rubber structure.
In the same vein, Bell&Ross has developed a strap for its BR-X1 Tourbillon that is made of FKM (highly resistant, high-tech rubber) with three slanted buckle holes and a reinforcement on top, as well as alligator appliques stuck and sewn onto the rubber. A similar process was developed by Montblanc on the strap of its Timewalker Extreme DLC. Its black vulcarbonized rubber base provides extreme robustness and flexibility. The leather sewn on the upper rubber surface undergoes an impregnation treatment, which coats the leather and becomes inseparably bound to it, so as to increase its natural resistance. This leather treatment process results in very high-performance material that effectively protects the leather from scratches, water and fire.
Close-up view of the strap of the Montblanc TimeWalker Extreme Chronograph DLC, with a new ultra-resistant leather treatment.
From the chain bracelet to the two-in-one strap
It is nevertheless not necessary to be in the forefront of advanced technology to develop new combinations of material… or shapes. This is an area in which Richard Mille stood out at the most recent SIHH with an impressive 100% gold bracelet sculpted like a chain bracelet. This sturdy, imposing, incredibly 1980s – and therefore contemporary – model will be used exclusively for two ladies’ Breitling Chrono Avenger watches For Sale: the RM 07-01 and RM 037.
Richard Mille’s new chain bracelet, for an exclusively feminine public… at least in theory.
© Richard Mille
Finally, Jeanrichard has come up with a very successful – and ingenious – initiative. The most recent edition of its Terrascope collection which has just been launched at Baselworld features a reversible vulcanised rubber strap. One side features a black alligator print, and the other a sporty striped motif. The idea of “two-in-one straps” is both appealing and persuasive. The only reservation is that it lacks a quick-change system which allows the owner to choose which side to wear uppermost. Currently, a trip to the watchmaker is required, which strongly limits the possibility of playing at whim with this nonetheless very clever reversibility.