Of all the materials used for watch bands, natural or synthetic rubbers are the most durable and versatile. Earlier on, rubber straps were a non-breathable, sticky, and uncomfortable item that could crack and were the norm for watch accessories. Now things have changed.
Due to the continuous improvement of materials and manufacturing techniques, watch straps have become more durable and stylish. The beginning of the rubber watch band era was when Hublot introduced its luxury watch bands. Rubber watches are very versatile and can be worn in various ways.
History of rubber straps
The rubber strap for watches – a brief history
Watch straps have been around since the 1960s, and they were initially used for diving. Quality and comfort were often variable. Some straps were criticized for their poor durability and comfort, while others were lauded for their innovative design.
Initially issued as a cheaper alternative to metal bracelets, the Tropic became a worldwide trend in the 1960s and 1970s.
Other watches with Tropic-equipped cases during this period included the Blancpain’s F1 and the Tudor divers. They found their way onto other watches due to their super-compressor cases and complimented the stainless steel bracelets.
The rise of rubber straps was widely seen during the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the most notable examples were the Aquastar Benthos 500 and the Precimax Super-Dive. The trend continued to gain momentum with watches such as the IKEPOD, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore, and the Eterna KonTiki Diver.
Bonetto Cinturini started as a tire-tread-textured black strap manufacturer in the 1980s. Their product line has since expanded to include a variety of rubber watch bands. Be assured you will find the perfect accessory for your wrist from the top manufacturers in the industry.
Rubber strap options are usually included in the brochure of most self-respecting dive and sports watches. Most of today’s watches are equipped with rubber straps that replicate the distinctive tread patterns of the 1960s Dunlop racing tires. These days, rubber straps are often found in the water. They are also used for helmets and wetsuits.
Types of rubber used for watch straps
There are various types of rubber, including;
In the past, most natural rubber straps performed poorly. But until recently, things have taken another twist, and vulcanized nitrile rubber used for watch straps is used worldwide. Aside from its type, rubber also has various other characteristics that determine its performance. These include its structure, composition, and processing.
This material is typically not used for high-quality watch straps. Notable exceptions include Sinn, who offers silicone rubber bands for their various models.
Silicone is a flexible material that can be shaped and colored. It has a reputation for being sticky and can tear and attract dust and lint.
It is a more durable plastic that can be used for high-end applications. Although it lacks the characteristics of NBR, it is still desirable.
urethane rubber is another type of rubber with elastic properties. It is linked by a chain of organic materials called urethane links. They are durable, very functional, but they are not as comfortable and natural rubber.
Importance of rubber watch straps
Various factors such as composition, usage, additives, time, among others, are involved in the performance, durability, and comfort of straps.
Although some 1960s rubber straps were criticized for their durability, genuine rubber straps have proved relatively durable. Some of the benefits of investing in rubber strap for Omega Seamaster, among other rubber straps, are;
- Resistant to UVA radiation
- A wide range of colors and textures is available
- Non-toxic and non-allergic
- Easy cleaning
- Non-conductor of electricity
- Has broad adjustability and secured fitting
- Cheap and readily available for replacements
- Light in terms of weight than steel bracelets
- Resistant to scratches
- Stylish and classy
Which rubber band should you choose?
Different variables determine the type of watch strap that you choose for your watch accessories. Personal preferences are reflected depending on the natural or synthetic polymer rubber selected for the straps. What do you prefer, the bright and fancy colors or the affordable and cheerful watches for different occasions? Any selection suits your diverse needs.
People have different straps requirements. For example, the deep-sea divers working in subsea engineering will go for comfortable and durable straps for prolonged use. There are always straps that meet their needs, like isoprene, among others.
The other question is what type of watch do you want? The digital or analog watches? What kind of straps should they have? Depending on the choice made, you may be lucky enough to get an original of all, which means prolonged life for your watch and straps.
The latest rubber watch bands in the market are very affordable, like modern NATO straps; hence, you can experiment with different watch styles and colors.
How to care for rubber watch straps
These bands are more durable and are less prone to staining than leather. They are also more versatile and are an excellent alternative to leather.
The NBR compound straps are made with a pleasant Vanilla scent. It is specially formulated to hide the unpleasant odors associated with sweaty straps.
If you want to use your rubber-strapped watch while swimming, ensure that the spring bar pins are not wet for an extended period
Cleaning rubber watch straps
Start by removing the straps from the watch and detach the small springs from the straps to prevent them from getting wet. The economical and most uncomplicated cleaning procedure is using the washing liquid on a moist piece of cloth. Then rub the fabric on the straps in circular motions, and eventually, you will notice the dirt or marks start to disappear.
In conclusion, most rubber suppliers are the best in the market and supply microbrands through their online stores. They provide high-quality products at fair prices and are often run by watch and strap enthusiasts. There is a wide selection of quality watch straps to suit every style and budget. Clean the watch straps constantly to remove any dirt particles that may make the watch straps look presentable.