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Bund Watch Straps: Origins, Features and Style Revival

By on Tue 03 October 2023

Bund Watch Straps: Origins, Features and Style Revival


If you’ve ever been asked for a Bund Watch Strap and didn’t know what it was, then read on! Bund Straps are enjoying a style revival and look great paired with a larger tool watch or to help a small watch wear more prominently. Also, they’re a practical solution for anyone who has a metal allergy.

What is a Bund Watch Strap?

A Bund Watch Strap is a standard two-piece leather strap with an additional layer of leather sitting beneath the watch. It has the appearance of a leather cuff. The strap is fed through a wide pad which forms a protective shield between the wrist and the caseback of the watch.

How Did the Bund Strap Get its Name?

Although some wristwatches were worn on leather cuffs as early as the 1920’s, it wasn’t until their military deployment in WWII that their use became widespread. Issued to the pilots of the German Defence Forces or Bundeswehr, the “Bund” strap as it was nicknamed, had a practical purpose. The protective pad shielded the pilot’s wrist against the bare metal of the watch case, necessary for comfort due to the extreme temperature changes in the cockpit of a fighter aircraft. Also, in the event of fire, it kept the case away from the skin to prevents burns.


When did Bund Straps Become Popular?

Away from the cockpit, masculine Bund straps became particularly popular in the 1970s. Bold and rugged, they were the perfect partner for a Dive Watch or Vintage Chronograph. Iconic Hollywood actors including Steve McQueen, Robert Redford and Robert Newman famously wore watches with Bund straps. McQueen wore his Hanhart Pilot’s Chronograph on a Bund strap. In Three Days of the Condor, Robert Redford wore a Doxa SUB 300T Sharkhunter dive watch on a black Bund strap. Similarly, Paul Newman also wore his Rolex Daytona on a black bund.


What Types of Bund Straps are there?

Broadly, there are two types of Bund Strap: a rectangular leather cuff that wraps around the entire wrist and a tapered strap that is shaped around the case often ending just past the lugs. These days, the shaped version is much more popular. The rectangular cuff has excess leather that can sometimes get in the way of shirt cuffs. The shaped version is more comfortable and user-friendly.

Bund Revival

In recent years luxury brands such as Montblanc and Tudor have fitted some of their new watch models with Bund-type straps. We’ve also seen the Limited-Edition Seiko Prospex Alpinist 1959 Recreation on a brown bund. However, Bund Watch Straps remain quite niche. You don’t see them everywhere, but that’s really part of their charm. They’re a conversation starter. 


What other types of Military Straps are there?

Apart from the Bund in either its tapered or wide cuff form, the most widely used military straps these days are the Military Nylon and Military Leather strap. Characterised by their one-piece design, the strap passes through the spring bars of the watch case. This design provides added security, as even if one spring bar fails, the watch will still be attached to the strap. Nylon Military straps have the added benefit of being water-resistant, making them suitable for water-related activities. For a military strap with oval, heavy-duty hardware, the Zulu Strap is also available in both Leather and Nylon options.


Selling Bund Straps

Bund Straps look amazing paired with chronographs and dive watches particularly vintage models: completely transforming the look of a timepiece.

At LBS our fantastic new range of Bund Straps are made from soft, premium leather. Available in four sizes from 18mm-24mm, they’re offered in four heritage shades: Dark Green, Tan, Dark Brown and Black.

Having a small selection of Bund straps in stock means you can offer them as an option to a customer who perhaps hadn’t considered one when they first walked in. They can feel the quality and get a good idea of how their watch could look on a Bund. No need to stock every size or colour: as an LBS customer, you can order the size you need for next day delivery. The strap you need is always just a call or click away! If you’re not currently an LBS customer, why not apply for an account?

Happy selling!