The heroism unleashed each time you fix your favourite timepiece onto a “bund strap,” has to do with its highly pragmatic origins. Issued to German aviators during WWII, the underlying layer of leather insulates from exposure to either extreme cold or to heat, as in the event of a cockpit fire or crash. Its double layer design has roots in the type of straps worn by officers in the trenches of WWI and used to wear retrofit pocket watches for the wrist. Various versions of the bund strap were adopted by different militaries around the world through out the 20th century, including the British RAF and can feature a straight edge for the backing layer, or a contoured edge that follows the outline of the watchcase perfectly.
The most high profile civilian champion of the bund strap was none other than Paul Newman, who wore his “Newman Dial” 3 colour Rolex Daytona reference 6241 on one throughout the majority of his life, and in particular behind the wheel during his highly successful endurance racing career. His choice of a straight edge style probably had something to do with it aiding access to his watch crown. Says Rolex historian James Dowling, “Because the 6241 had pump style chronograph pushers the watch was not water resistant. So Newman simply left the watch’s Oyster crown unscrewed at all times so he could easily wind his watch.” The luxury bund Strap's popularity has reached an all new apogee of popularity with the rise in interest in vintage military and tool watches as well as the success of brands like Panerai whose military origin seems perfectly suited to this kind of accessory.