If you are a vintage watch enthusiast you will eventually wind up buying watches on all sorts of bands. Not everyone is flying by private jet to Geneva to bid at a major auction house on a vintage Patek on a priceless Gay Freres bracelet. Ordinary mortals who like vintage watches are more likely to pick up a watch on a moldy leather strap with bits of wrist dandruff falling off, or a Speidel expansion bracelet that is more efficient at removing arm hair than Nair For Men.
So then you go on the watch internet and buy some nice straps worthy of your watch, perhaps some Italian calf leather or even American-made Horween. Eventually you decide that you want to get a vintage bracelet but the bracelets are either very expensive, impossible to find, or never existed in the first place. Now that summer has come, your arm sweat is ruining that expensive leather watch strap. Do you have to participate in an anachronism by throwing a NATO strap on your watch which was made before the North Atlantic Treaty was signed? Consider getting an aftermarket beads of rice bracelet instead.
Ordinary mortals who like vintage watches are more likely to pick up a watch on a moldy leather strap with bits of wrist dandruff falling off, or a Speidel expansion bracelet that is more efficient at removing arm hair than a customer in a Nair commercial.
Made famous by the 11-million dollar Patek 1518 in steel, a beads of rice bracelet is exactly what it sounds like. A number of small links are connected together into a bracelet, with each link small and looking like a bead. I am not sure why it is not a “grains of rice bracelet” or a “bead bracelet” but I suppose someone likes beads and rice, perhaps it is a Swiss delicacy. Anyway, here you go.
Things to ask…
- Does it come in the lug width of my watch? Beads of rice bracelets come in 7 rows wide and 9 rows wide versions with the 9 link version being wider.
- Does it come in matte to match a brushed finish, high polish to match a high polish, or semi-polished with alternating matte and polished links?
- What is the diameter of the actual band? Will there be a gap between the attachment of the lugs compared to the diameter of the band?
- Will it fit my wrist? The band may have limited microadjustments. Can the seller remove links if necessary?
Budget Friendly Options
The Curated Wrist
Thecuratedwrist.com offers two beads of rice bracelets. The standard 7 row version comes in 18 or 20mm lug width with a brushed or polished finish. It fits wrists 6.5-7.25 inches in circumference. The “upgraded” version is also 7 rows and has a 16mm diameter with an adjustable spring bar and end link to fit lug widths of 16-21mm. It fits a 7-9 inch wrist.
Those Watch Guys
Thosewatchguys.com has a 7-row beads of rice bracelet that comes in a 18mm and 20mm lug width. It is fully polished and fits up to a 7.75 inch wrist. The 18 and 20mm lug widths come with a standard 18mm diameter bracelet.
Beads of rice bracelet $85.
Premium Beads of Rice Bracelets
Mr. Beads is a seller on eBay and Etsy who offers a 7 row beads of rice bracelet for $113 which has a 16mm wide bracelet and can be sized to fit lug widths of 17-20mm. They also sell a 9 row beads of rice bracelet for $134 which is 18mm in diameter and can be sized to lug widths of 18-22mm. All their bracelets are offered in matte, polished, or alternating finishes and can be custom sized as well.
Bulang and Sons
Bulangandsons.com offers a 9 row beads of rice bracelet in a 22mm lug width with an alternating matte and polished finish. It also offers a 7 row bracelet in 18, 19, and 20mm lug widths with matte, polished, or alternating finish.
Theo & Harris
Theoandharris.com sells a 7 row beads of rice bracelet. It comes in 17-20mm lug widths in a polished or brushed finish.
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