rubber watch straps

The Persona of Rubber Watch Straps for Outdoor Activities

A simple strap as a great companion to take your watch in the water

Date Published
Oct 28, 2021
Gnomon Watches
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Rubber watch straps are great and a perfect companion for certain activities. Talking about the material itself, having a rubber strap is definitely resilient, flexible, and rubbery. It creates a simple, casual, and sometimes sporty style that mostly comes in diverse colors for you to choose from. But rubber is rubber. It wouldn’t be a good pair for attending formal activities, such as office meetings or dinner. However, when the weekend is around the corner, it will be the best rubber watch straps as a perfect diving or poolside item.

Rubber is also a less common material used for high-end watches. It is commonly designed for athletic wear. Because of its flexible materials, it doesn’t require much maintenance. Therefore, a rubber strap would be a great fit when engaging in physical activities that may cause damage to the watch.

A brief history of rubber watch straps

The sport of scuba diving in the 1960s could be considered an important event that made the urgent need for robust strap watches for water usage come into place. However, the material used to make a rubber strap still lacked advancements and it created uncomfortable wearability.  Tropic strap was the first brand that took the initiative to fulfill the needs although they used soft plastic composites instead of rubbers. For sure, plastic wouldn’t give a sense of durability and comfort. 

Changes and innovation are kept continuing to make new inventions. Until Hublot was the first that managed to bring the concept of comfortability with its rubber strap named “Art of Fusion“. They spent years doing the experiments that cost them lots of money with a purpose none other than to offer comfort with sleek style, water resistance, and clean lines for strap option.

Types of rubber watch straps

Talking about types of rubber straps, they can be divided into two categories named natural and synthetic rubber. The natural one is made from Latex from plants.  Although it is called natural, it still has synthetic components during the manufacturing process. The material needs to undergo a vulcanization process that would make the rubber much stronger, rigid, flexible, and resistant to harsh conditions.

Meanwhile, synthetic rubber is made of petrochemicals in chemical plants. As such, it could perform stronger and more stable compared to natural rubber. One of the most popular synthetic rubber is a silicone that can be easily shaped and colored. In addition to silicone, PVC rubber is also a synthetic rubber that is unfortunately often identified as being cheap and plasticky feeling. PVC could be something suitable for a field watch where a few scratches wouldn’t look too bad on it.

Throughout the development of rubber straps, other synthetic rubbers have been made from petrochemical bases to provide better wearability, such as durability and comfortability.

Style of rubber watch straps

Although a rubber strap is not common with formal attire, it is inevitable that it also displays a stylish look for casual activities or even strap the overall look for your underwater hobbies.  It doesn’t lose its style. They are also introduced in several styles that you can choose.

A waffle style with the embossed texture that would remind you of a waffle iron. First introduced in 1967, this style creates a rugged and sporty look to your timepiece. This is one of the popular strap styles to stay classy and stylish on any occasion.

In addition to that, a rubber strap mostly comes with a curved end of your watch lugs. Not only that it provides clean integration with the case, but a curved end style also attracts attention to the watch-head. I am personally a fan of the curved end style as it gives a more simple appearance. 

The last one is the tropic style that became the style pioneer of rubber straps paired with professional divers back in the ‘60s. However, it was made of soft plastic composites instead of rubber. In the current collection, the Tropic strap makes a recollection of that era but without the plastic material as back then.

The reliable rubber watch straps

It might be true that there isn’t a lot of elegance in rubber straps. However, considering its practical function, such as in dive watches, a rubber strap could serve you optimal functionality when you need to take your lovely piece in the water. 

Squale Tropic Rubber Strap - Type I - 20mm
Squale Tropic Rubber Strap – Type I – 20mm

Exceptional durability that exudes the sporty look, take a look at the Squale Tropic Rubber Strap. It is specifically made for diving techniques that will provide both comfort and high strength for underwater activities. The material is also made to withstand the corrosion of salt and UV rays, so you don’t need to worry about how long it would last to be paired with your diving timepiece. Talking about the design itself, it is equipped with a continuous flow of air that can keep the skin dry. This black rubber watch strap could be a perfect fit for all Squale models with 40mm in diameter or watches with a lug width of 20 mm.

Bonetto Rubber Strap Ref. 306 Blue Classic Rubber Strap - 20mm
Bonetto Rubber Strap Ref. 306 Blue Classic Rubber Strap – 20mm

Trying to look for a rubber strap with a lively color? The Bonetto Rubber Strap Ref. 306 Blue Classic Rubber Strap could be one of your choices. It is made of natural rubbers to create a strong, supple, and water-resistant rubber strap. Despite giving a sporty image, the Bonetto Blue Classic Rubber Strap is a classic style rubber strap with 5mm thick and tapers to 4mm at the ends. And definitely, its blue color perpetuates the same nuance as the color of the ocean — a nice companion for your diving activity.

Final verdict

I personally consider the overall idea of rubber watch straps is well-balanced between the benefits and shortcomings that they comprise. Rubber straps might look usual — or too simple for some people — but that’s the unique point of them as they are born out of necessity. But, we could see how rubber straps have evolved and made out the best rubber watch straps, be it from the wearability and the design. Everyone’s preference is indeed different but for me, a rubber strap is my way to go for any water activity.

Gnomon Watches first opened her doors for business online in early 2002, founded by bona fide horology suitors who share a profound passion for watchmaking and fine craftsmanship.

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