If you're looking to shake up the appearance of your watch, changing the strap is a great way to do so. Pairing an old watch with a new strap can give it an entirely new lease of life, changing the look in drastic ways.
But it doesn't always have to be a big change. Recently, the good folks over at Christopher Ward launched their Consort bracelet. That's a five-link bracelet – similar to the jubilee used on Rolex models – instead of the traditional three-link bracelet design, and is manufactured using 316L stainless steel.
I've been lucky enough to get hands on with one – and I think everyone should have one in their locker. Let's dig into why.
First things first, this is an absolutely stunning bracelet. Compared to the three-link bracelet which comes as standard, the Consort is much more akin to a piece of jewellery. Where the three-link is sturdy and functional, this is svelte and elegant.
The construction also allows it to flex around the contours of your wrist with ease. It's one of the most comfortable watch straps I've ever used, in fact – half the time I found myself feeling like there was nothing there at all.
That comfort is the second thing I love about this bracelet. There's a real air of weightlessness about it – the kind of thing you might get with a non-metal strap, for example. And it really has no business feeling that way. Weighing 95g before you adjust the size to suit your wrist, it's certainly not a weightless bit of kit. But it manages to feel that way, which is really rather impressive.
On the underside, you'll find a butterfly clasp. That's engraved with the words Christopher Ward, and looks really elegant. It's certainly not perfect though. See, while that butterfly clasp looks brilliant, it does mean you'll have to sacrifice the micro-adjustment found on the three-link version.
It wasn't too much of a problem in my case – I was still able to get a decent fit – but I like the micro-adjustment for use throughout the day. Your wrists are likely to swell and contract as you heat up and cool down, and being able to accommodate for that on the fly is handy.
Still, it feels like a harsh reason to mark this bracelet down. Butterfly clasps with micro-adjustment are as rare as hen's teeth, so it's not something you'd expect. The links are smaller than regular three-link bracelets, too, making it easier to tailor the strap to size.
All in all, though, the experience has been remarkably positive. The brand currently offer two versions of the bracelet – one for their 36mm models and one for their 39mm models.
Both are priced at £225, which is not cheap. But I do think it's worth it – particularly if you're looking to dress your watch up a notch. On a traditional sports model like mine, it does a perfect job of creating a hybrid – dressy enough for all but the most formal of occasions, without losing the t-shirt-and-jeans charm that sports watches are revered for.
If you want to get in on the action yourself, you can pick one up on the Christopher Ward website.