This Is the Bracelet for Real Vintage Watch Nerds

American company Forstner has brought back the iconic "ladder" watch band.


Modern watchmaking seems to get deeper into the legacy of the 1960s and 1970s by the day. Brands are relentlessly unearthing forgotten models to reissue, funky colors and design elements to appropriate — and even resurrecting some bracelet styles that, while iconic among collectors, had disappeared over the decades.

One of those is the "ladder." It's comfortable and quirky-looking, known for its association with the famous Zenith El Primero watch — but now, you can get a lovingly executed recreation of it from the American company known as Forstner.

This particular variation of the "ladder" is based on one made by Gay Freres, and if you're a vintage watch nerd and you know one historical maker of bracelets, it's probably them. Gay Freres wasn't the only company making many of the bracelet styles they became known for, but they were often the choice of many illustrious brands from Rolex to Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin — and the "ladder" style itself is best known for the bracelet Gay Freres made for the El Primero.

Forstner, on the other hand, has been bringing back old bracelet styles from the "Komfit" to the "bonklip" to much enthusiast excitement, so it's no great surprise to see the "ladder" join their collection. Intuitively nicknamed, it's basically like a traditional Oyster bracelet but with wide gaps between the center links. This reduces its weight (by using less metal) and allows for greater airflow to your wrist. That means it should be comfortable — but perhaps more importantly, it just looks strikingly different from most bracelets made for men's watches today.


The Forstner Ladder bracelet has a fully brushed finish, and its straight, rolled-steel end links will fit a wide variety of watches. It's also available in 18mm, 19mm, 20mm and 21mmm sizes — the odd sizes will be particularly appreciated by those who plan to put this bracelet on actual vintage watches. Tapering to 16mm at the clasp, it also includes micro adjustments so you can get just the right fit.

The Forstner Ladder bracelet is available directly from the brand online, and is priced the same as most other Forstner products at $125.


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