The worst watch straps for summer
Most people pick the totally wrong type of watch strap for summer wear.
I live in Florida, and it gets hot here. At the time I write this in April 2018, it already feels like Summer even though Spring isn't over yet. Summer technically doesn't start until June 21 this year.
I've already had to switch over to a warmer-weather-friendly watch I own, the Casio G-SHOCK DW9052V-1CR, pictured above.
I'll explain why it's a really good summer watch, but before I get into that, let's list off the worst first.
The worst watch straps for summer
Whether it's real or fake leather, this is a sweat magnet. The outside of the strap heats up real easy, and since the material doesn't breathe at all, sweat happens even when the sun isn't directly shining on it.
This is one of those materials that sounds nice but in practice is terrible. Suede reacts terribly to moisture, so of course it's a terrible strap material for summer. True, it's softer and will wick sweat quicker, but that also makes it stink quicker. And have you ever tried cleaning suede? Not fun.
This is in reference to any resin strap where the only holes present are for sizing at the buckle post. All resin straps of this kind regardless of watch price act similar to leather. The strap will heat up and sweat collects underneath because it's a material that doesn't breathe.
Non-ratcheting metal bracelet
A ratcheting metal bracelet similar to the Rolex Glidelock (I'll talk about this more in a moment) is one you can adjust on-the-fly without tools of any kind, where you can adjust size with a few ratchet clicks.
The vast majority or wristwatches with metal bracelets aren't like this, so what happens is that unless you wear a bracelet loose, the wrist expands in the warmer weather and the sweat makes the metal stick to the skin. Yes, it can be easily cleaned off, but the fit is terrible.
The best watch straps for summer
Dirt cheap, easily available and breathes well.
2. Thick nylon
My G-SHOCK as mentioned above has this, and another Casio I own also has it, the SGW100B-3V. Not a G-SHOCK but still a very good watch with 200m water resistance.
3. Ratcheting metal bracelet
This search on Amazon will show you the ratcheting bracelets available that work similar to Rolex Glidelock. If you own a Seiko SKX007, SKX009 or SKX011, you're in luck because ratcheting metal bracelets are readily available that are direct-fit replacements from that search.
It's not a cheap bracelet as they start at around 60 bucks, but it is the best possible upgrade you can put on a Seiko diver, as the weakest point of the watch is the bracelet.
4. "Breathable" resin or silicone
This basically means a rubber/resin/silicone strap with perforations so sweat collects less, like this one:
These are cheap straps with a lot of holes in them, and yes it really does work well to combat summer heat.
Rich's pick: Thick nylon
Diver watches are usually over 100g in weight, so I don't really like wearing them. NATO I can do on a few timepieces I own, but I don't like the extra bulk of that strap...
...which leaves the thick nylon. And that's fine because Casio does actually make a well-made thick nylon strap for the DW9052V and SGW100B-3V models I own.
As an example of how good these straps are, this day I wrote this it was very humid and the air was super thick. No way could I put on a metal bracelet watch without it sticking to the wrist from sweat moisture, so that wasn't happening. I strapped on the DW9052V. At one point of the day the air was so thick that the normal size for the strap I use was actually making the watch stick to the wrist too much, so I loosened the strap one notch, and the watch was comfortable to wear. Later on when the humidity went down, I was able to tighten it back to the normal size. No problem.
The thick nylon strap handled the sweat with ease, and also rinsed off super easy too in the sink afterward since it's a G-SHOCK that can obviously get wet and handle it.
For me, the best summer watch is the G-SHOCK with thick nylon strap. It is the one material that's actually breathable, wicks sweat properly and washes clean without issue...
...but that's not to say the other choices of NATO, ratcheting metal bracelet or breathable silicone are bad. I just prefer the thick nylon.