Opinion: More Velcro Straps, Please

As a young lad growing up in the ‘80s, a set of velcro strap shoes were a core part of my wardrobe, which also consisted of a sweet Robin Yount shirt and a set of corduroy overalls. Quickly throwing these bad boys on and hitting the door was all the freedom I needed, and I get the same quality (along with a touch of nostalgia) today with watches that use this stuff on straps. It’s flexible, infinitely adjustable, and comfortable, so why aren’t we seeing it used more often on watches at all price points? I can sense a tide turning here so consider this my own little nudge to get the idea over the hill. 

The first encounter I had with a velcro, or hook and loop fastening, to put it more accurately (VELCRO is a trademark brand of products), on a watch strap was seeing a colleague’s Grand Seiko affixed to a black Rubber B unit with a velcro fastener. I initially recoiled at the thought, but after a closer look, and more importantly, trying it on, I quickly came around to the concept. There’s also something undeniably charming about mixing a high luxury such as a watch, with such a utilitarian material normally associated with stuff like backpacks, trapper keepers, and furniture cushions.


Side note: nowhere has that contrast more striking than the Greubel Forsey showed off on our podcast by Steve Hallock, which was affixed to a branded and color-coordinated leather strap with velcro fastener

This may or may not be a ‘hot take’ but I find crocodile straps quite objectionable, even aside from the moral dubiousness of sourcing, I just don’t care for the way they look, even on formal watches (especially on formal watches). A velcro bound strap is the antithesis of a traditional croc strap in my mind. I know, I know, one is a material and the other is the fastener, but what they each represent feels distinct. Why do I have to dress up a nice watch? Greubel Forsey gets it, and so do brands like Tudor, Omega, Zodiac, Vero, Louis Erard, Formex, Bell & Ross, and Bremont – each of whom have made an OEM velcro strap option for one or more of their watches in recent years. And they’ve all been pretty stellar. 

The Tudor FXD, the Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein, and the Formex Field are three watches in particular that show how the velcro strap is more than just a ‘fun weekend option’ but can be fully fleshed out, high quality, and every day usable. The Louis Erard and Formex take a route similar to what we see on the Apple Watch (also a great Velcro strap), while the Tudor FXD has a single pass strap that folds back on itself, using a hook and ladder fastener. The Tudor in particular does a good job of dampening the typical (unpleasant) sound that we typically associate with velcro coming apart. It’s also soft to the touch.

Most of these examples lean into the sporty, tool watch category, where the material feels a bit more at home, but where are the velcro strap options for the Grand Seiko’s of the world? Or A. Lange & Sohne? Or Nomos? If Greubel Forsey, arguably the apex of high end independent watchmaking can make one work, surely there’s room for more variety here. 

All this to say nothing of the practical benefits offered by velcro or velcro-like solutions. Sizing is precise, it offers a wide range of strap configurations, it’s relatively inexpensive, and there’s no annoying break in period that never seems to end when it comes to some stiff leather straps. I’m not here to say that velcro straps should replace everything else out there, but I’m ready for a wider range of acceptance and more commercially viable options when it comes to these things. 

Quick release strap solutions are very much on trend with many of the mainstream brands these days, and the ones I’ve had the chance to test are all very good. Paradoxically, I don’t see many new strap options offered alongside these innovations. Now that more of us have the ability to easily change straps, I need to see more of these brands willing to flex some creative muscle when it comes to their strap options. That needs to change. And while we’re at it, when is corduroy making a comeback?

Drop your thoughts on velcro straps below and let us know what you’d like to see more of when it comes to straps, strap materials, and strap fasteners.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.