A version of this story first appeared in Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today.
In the watch world, cool weather means it’s time for leather watch straps. They can be classic or rugged, but seldom both. Unless, of course, we're talking about the Bund strap — a standard two-piece leather strap but with an additional layer of leather sitting beneath the watch. The result is a band that looks like a full-leather cuff.
Though once a favorite of larger-than-life stars like Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, the Bund came from pragmatic origins: it takes its colloquial name from its issue to military pilots of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, or Federal Republic of Germany, in the mid-20th century. It was designed to protect the wrist from the watch’s metal case, which could become either too cold in freezing aircraft or scalding in the case of cockpit fires.With the cool factor that comes from military origins and the resurgence of ‘70s watch styles, there’s every reason for the Bund to make a comeback this season.
Handsome, crafted of world-famous Horween leather and unlined for a comfortable wearing experience, the Heaton strap is possibly the best Bund currently on the market.
Wear a larger tool watch on a Bund, or use it to help a small watch wear more prominently.
Bund straps look appropriate on watches like Stowa’s Fliegers, which were also made for German pilots.
Movement: ETA 2824-2 automatic; ETA 2804-2 or Sellita SW215-1 hand-wound
Water Resistance: 50m
You don’t take a Bund in the water, but dive watches look great on them, especially those with ‘70s vibes like Seiko’s classic “Willard.”
Movement: Seiko cal. 6R35 automatic
Water Resistance: 200m
Some of the most famous Bund wearers chose racing chronographs like the Yema Speedgraf, which fits the bill to a T.
Movement: Seiko cal. NE86 automatic
Water Resistance: 100m
If you're looking for a leather strap but a Bund is a bit much, check out these other options.