A leather watch strap might be the single most common method of attaching a timepiece to a person’s wrist. Durable, comfortable, and capable of taking on a wide variety of different textures and appearances, leather has been the go-to material for straps since the very earliest days of the wristwatch. Although numerous other strap materials now exist, leather remains a highly popular option, and countless watches from a variety of different brands can all be found with factory-fitted leather straps.
With that in mind, Rolex is famous for its metal bracelet designs and over the years, leather straps have played an increasingly smaller role in the brand’s catalog. Given that leather is still the de facto strap material for dress watches and formal attire, those with classic tastes might be wondering whether or not Rolex still offers any models on leather straps.
Rolex Only Offers Leather Straps for the Cellini Collection
Up until several years ago, leather straps could be found on select Rolex models from the Cellini, Datejust, Day-Date, Daytona, and Sky-Dweller collections. Admittedly, by this point in time, the use of leather was exclusively reserved for premium editions crafted from solid gold or platinum; however, leather straps were still a core part of Rolex’s offerings. These days, the only standard-production Rolex watches that are still available with leather straps are the various models from the Cellini collection.
Among all of the different watches that make up Rolex’s current catalog, the Cellini is the only one that does not feature the brand’s waterproof Oyster case. Although the most recent generation does feature a screw-down winding crown, modern Cellini watches still only offer half the water resistance of other Rolex models and have an official rating of just 50 meters. Given that the Rolex Cellini is the brand’s dedicated line of dress watches, it only makes sense for it to be available with a leather strap, but a quick look through the rest of Rolex’s catalog will confirm that leather straps are notably absent.
Shown Above: Steel End-Link Leather Strap for Rolex GMT Master II
How You Can Get a Leather Strap on Your Rolex
Although Rolex makes some of the best bracelets in the world, not everyone likes wearing their watch on a metal band. In addition to significantly increasing the weight of a watch, a matching metal bracelet can sometimes make an otherwise understated timepiece feel a bit too shiny or ostentatious. Rubber and fabric straps make excellent alternatives, but these materials typically offer a more sporty and casual appearance. Additionally, Rolex doesn’t currently offer any fabric straps, and the only rubber ones that the brand produces are exclusively available for select solid gold models. So, what options exist for Rolex owners who simply want leather straps on their watches?
Countless companies sell aftermarket leather straps that you can attach to your Rolex, but most won’t offer anything close to an integrated appearance. With the exception of models from the Cellini collection, all of the modern Rolex watches that were originally designed to use leather straps also include lug hoods to fill the gaps between the ends of the strap and the case of the watch. Unless you find a leather strap with curved and fitted tips or one that includes an additional metal end-link (such as the versions we sell), those gaps will be visible and they can often detract from the refined appearance of the leather strap. Beyond that, leather is a material where cheap prices almost always equal cheap quality, and the difference is immediately apparent when comparing leather straps at drastically different price points.
A leather watch strap is a time-honored aesthetic, yet it has nearly become extinct within Rolex’s current catalog. While you likely won’t be able to get the specific model you want straight from Rolex with a leather strap, high-quality aftermarket options (like the ones found in our shop) make excellent alternatives and allow you to customize your timepiece to achieve the perfect look and feel.
Shown Above: Steel End-Link Leather Strap for Rolex Explorer II