Replacement Citizen watch strap that won't break the bank?
July 5, 2013 7:15 PM   Subscribe

I have a Citizen Eco-Drive watch that I received last year, and I love it. But the leather strap is coming apart, and the only "real" replacement straps I can find cost $70. Are there any straps that will fit the watch's curved case without costing an arm and a leg?

The watch is a Dress Chronograph, model #H500-S049628. I headed right to Google and came up with one place that offers a couple of choices: brown or black. I would be willing to look at metal or fabric or rubber or anything if I didn't have to pay seventy bucks!

The lugs are 22mm apart, but they sit a bit out from the case -- which is why the factory strap extends past the lugs and is curved to fit the case, as shown in this image. (Which, I mut admit, looks pretty good.)

Is this really a "thing" with Citizen, that I have to buy their straps? Or can I buy any old 22mm strap and jam it in there? (The stock strap is really thin leather, and about half its length is filled with stuffing, ending in a block of clear resin where the pins pass through. That cheapness makes their demand for so much money really outrageous!)

Thanks for any advice!
posted by wenestvedt to Shopping (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Pretty sure, not positive, that you could buy any strap and jam it in there. Crown and Buckle is one place that sells 'em.
posted by box at 7:20 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Amazon has 22mm leather straps for under $15. In your place that's what I'd get as a starter to try. If that works out you could splurge on a nice one.
posted by anadem at 9:01 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Get a NATO strap or two! This is an opportunity, believe me.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:03 PM on July 5, 2013

Any 22mm strap (leather, NATO, or otherwise) should work, according to this picture of an OEM strap. One caveat that you've noted is that it looks like the original leather strap is curved around with the watch face, making it look seamless with the rest of the watch. The result with a regular replacement will look like this. I'm afraid a third-party form-fitting strap will be fairly costly, too.
posted by zer0render at 9:05 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'll add that one plus with a NATO strap is that it hides the gap between the lugs and the watch face (and also saves your watch from falling off if a spring bar fails), so if that's a consideration, you might want to try that option.
posted by zer0render at 9:11 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, unless there's something unique about the Citizen strap aside from the curved ends (I agree that looks nice), you should be able to use standard 22m straps. I used to read some watch forums for a while and remember seeing posts about people replacing curved straps with regular straps (I can't seem to find a relevant link about it at the moment, unfortunately).

[On preview, nth-ing what's been said above!]

If you're really concerned about the new strap not aligning well against the case, look into one-piece straps such as the "NATO" style (normally nylon, but there are leather versions as well). The NATO style in particular is made thin so that you can slide the strap over the spring bars and underneath the back of the case. A couple of things I like about one-piece straps: they're easier to change, and if one of the spring bars fails, you won't lose your watch (as zer0render said). You should be able to find these one-piece nylon straps for a lot less than $70. Nice watch, btw!
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:23 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I might just be ultra cheap, but...

Go to goodwill/value village/other large thrift store and look through the watches. I've seen several citizen/tag heuer/other nice brand watches in there for $7-20 or so and some of them had super nice straps on them.

I'm talking like the kind that you flip over and it says "Genuine lizzard" or full grain italian leather.

Most of my watches, and my entire pile of extra watch stuff is from thrift shops. This has shocked people before because you can get such nice bits for cheap if you don't care about the watch the band is attached to being junk or damaged/broken.
posted by emptythought at 10:51 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

("standard 22m straps"? Maybe if you cut them down to 22mm...sorry about that...)

Thrift stores are a great idea. And for more examples of the NATO-style straps, you can also check out various videos on youtube to see them and similar styles.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 11:24 PM on July 5, 2013

I have a navy grey NATO Zulu five ring strap on m Ecodrive. Cost me ten bucks on eBay. Can't imagine using anything else now.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:51 AM on July 6, 2013

When you're replacing the strap, it's usually a good plan to replace the pins too. They get weakened by old straps, then the new straps break them and the watch falls off (always at the wrong time.)
posted by anadem at 8:53 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the good suggestions! I will consider a NATO strap, probably in black. Off I go!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:55 AM on July 6, 2013

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