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Summer Watch and Strap Combinations You Can Buy for Under $1,000

These five casual wristwear pairings will cover all your favorite summer activities.

isofrane strap navy
Chandler Bondurant

Summer heat kind of forces you into casual mode in a number of ways: your muscles relax from the cold, there are more outdoor activities, clothing tends to get shorter and more colorful...and the right watch and strap pairing will top it all off perfectly. "Casual" also denotes something on which you don't have to spend a lot of money or worry about, and thankfully there are great combinations that together still come in at well under a grand.

Whether it's sporty or summer chic you're after, and whatever activities you've got planned, here are some suggestions to get the watch/strap combo to complement your time in the sun.

Best for a Cookout

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Seiko 5 SNK809
amazon.com
$110.39
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B&R Bands Nylon NATO Olive
bandrbands.com
$11.99

The classic Seiko 5 SNK is awesome for its price, but the cheap strap it comes on sucks. This is one of those examples where the simple change of a strap will seem to suddenly manifest a watch's inner potential and make feel way more expensive than it is. With the SNK's petite dimensions of 37mm, a NATO strap will add bulk on the wrist and give it some welcome presence, and matching that black military dial to a green NATO strap like this one from B&R is going to make you love your watch even more.

Lug width: 18mm

Best for the Beach

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Baltic Aquascaphe
baltic-watches.com
€624.00
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ISOfrane Strap Navy
gearpatrol.com
$129.00

French brand Baltic's Aquascaphe collection offers a hell of a combination of style, quality and value. It comes on an appropriately retro Tropic rubber dive strap or beads-of-rice bracelet, but slap it on one of these from ISOfrane and it'll be kicked up a notch on the sporty-coolness scale — we think the navy blue would complement the black dial well, but other colors might also fit the bill. Go ahead: jump in the water, lay on the sand...it's what both this watch and strap are both made for.

Lug width: 20mm

Best for a Hike

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Medium Diver's Automatic
marathonwatch.com
$900.00
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B&R Bands Original Bond
bandrbands.com
$24.99

Marathon is one of the few watch companies that actually outfits the military with timepieces, so you know something like its Diver's Automatic is ready for anything. The 36mm version has the wrist presence of a field watch, but is rugged and water-resistant enough for diving, super legible with tritium gas tube illumination and sized as not to get in the way. Pair it with one of B&R Bands' NATO-style straps made of seatbelt-like material and it'll be even more comfortable — especially this particular version, which might make you feel like James Bond.

Lug width: 18mm

Best for a Road Trip

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Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto
hamiltonwatch.com
$945.00
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Crown & Buckle Checker Melange Perlon
crownandbuckle.com
$16.00

For summer clothing or watches, the lighter and more breathable, the better. The Hamilton Khaki Field is an absolute classic, but here in lightweight titanium — and also featuring an automatic movement and elevated case finishing — it takes on a more refined personality. Pairing it to one of Crown & Buckle's breathable perlon straps will give it an air of casual elegance perfect for a road trip, beer garden or a summer night out. This Checker Melange variant should match particularly well with the titanium case as well as the dial's gray color and pale lume.

Lug width: 20mm

Best for a Picnic

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Seiko Prospex Alpinist SPB121
hodinkee.com
$725.00
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Those Watch Guys Beads of Rice Bracelet
thosewatchguys.com
$80.00

The Seiko Alpinist was originally made in the 1960s for Japanese "mountain men." You could surely take it camping or hiking, but it's also got enough style for daily wear and more relaxed outdoor activities, such as a picnic or day at the park. Its retro design just calls out for an equally retro strap pairing, and a vintage-style beads-of-rice bracelet like this one from Those Watch Guys should do the trick.

Lug width: 20mm

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