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Metal watch bracelets: more than steel

Bracelet watches continue to thrive.

More casual than leather straps –hence, appropriate at a time when formal events are at an ebb – and easier to clean when you get home after a grocery run, bracelet watches continue to thrive. And, this time, we’re not just talking about steel.

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Parmigiani: Tondagraph GT

Usually associated with finely executed, dressy timepieces, Parmigiani is not impervious to the ongoing craze for sporty steel bracelet watches. Hence, its latest sports models – the steel Tondagraph GT watch with a chronograph and an annual calendar and the simpler, time-and-date Tonda GT in steel or rose gold. A newly designed bracelet – designed from scratch, along with the watches – is complemented by high-horology accents, including a fluted bezel and traditional guilloche on the dial.

 

Breguet: Marine 5517

What’s the next step after a luxury watchmaker presents its recent sports timepieces on titanium bracelets? It moves on to precious metals. Last year, Breguet presented the Marine 5517, along with two other new Marine models, in full titanium with an integrated bracelet. This year, it updates the same models with cases and matching bracelets in white or rose gold. Paired with details such as the wave guilloche on the dial and brightly polished moon-tipped hands, these timepieces redefine sporty elegance – with an emphasis on elegance.

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Montblanc: 1858 Geosphere

When creating the new mixed-metal bracelet for its signature 1858 Geosphere watch, the brand used a mix of titanium
and steel links to give it a certain heft, says Montblanc head of watches Davide Cerrato. The combination of polished steel “beads of rice” centre links and brushed titanium end links also reflects the mix of metals used in the 42mm dual-time watch; its titanium case is topped with a steel bezel with a blue ceramic insert.

 

Blancpain: Fifty Fathoms Automatique

In the 1960s, Blancpain was one of the first to use titanium when it created nickel silver cases and titanium casebacks for a series of watches for the US Navy. This year, it equips the new Fifty Fathoms Automatique and Fifty Fathom Grande Date – 45mm dive watches that were previously only available on sailcloth Nato straps – with titanium bracelets. Using a patented system, the satin-brushed links are connected with transverse pins, while screws are placed on the back instead of the side of the links, so the bracelet edges look and feel smooth.

 

Breitling: Chronomat B01 42

One of our favourite recent takes on the bracelet trend isn’t actually new. When it revamped its Chronomat watch this year, Breitling brought back the Rouleaux (French for rollers) bracelet found on the chronograph timepiece of the 1980s and 1990s. Distinctive in form, the cylindrical polished steel links of the 42mm steel watch are accented with rings in polished steel. Another option that we like: a two-tone variation using red gold – as seen on the timepiece below.

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