As I stated on my most recent post, I’ve begun searching for the proper bracelets or straps for each timepiece that crosses the workbench. Prior to the 1960’s most watches were sold with simple leather watch bands although some brands (Hamilton springs to mind) designed metal bracelets for their watches during this period and those bracelets were tailored to the timepiece. From the 1960’s forward, it was not uncommon for stainless steel watches to come with stainless steel link bracelets. Many of these bracelets have not survived the test of time and if you can find a 50+ year old timepiece with its original leather strap you almost certainly want to replace it!
One of my earlier repairs was the Bulova A-11 Hack Navigation Watch. This watch was produced for the US Army around the time of the Second World War and was originally issued to a serviceman with a simple olive drab canvas watchband. When I completed my service of the timepiece I wasn’t really thinking much about the watchband. Recently I pulled it from the safety deposit box and realized it was time to find the proper strap for it.
This turned out to be surprisingly easy. I found a watch band that was a perfect match through WatchDoc’s Vintage Timepieces on eBay. There were multiple options to choose from; I elected an original American Strap Company poplin watchband- extra long since bulkier wrists are the norm today. The price was reasonable and the watchband arrived in it’s original cellophane sleeve.
The aroma was all vintage but the band is as good as new. It perfectly compliments the A-11 and is a great improvement over the NATO band I had before.