Rolex Rubber Straps Ultimate Guide
Rubber straps are one of the most practical ways of attaching a watch to your wrist. Lightweight, durable, and completely waterproof, rubber is an ideal material for watch straps, and it’s hardly a coincidence that rubber straps are the go-to option for everything from utilitarian fitness trackers to high-end luxury timepieces. Given that Rolex watches are known for their durability and water resistance, it would only seem natural to find rubber straps on many of the brand’s models. However, Rolex rubber watch straps are actually few and far between when it comes to the brand’s official catalog, and up until just several years ago, Rolex didn’t even make a rubber strap at all.
With that in mind, just because Rolex doesn’t officially offer a rubber strap for the model you own doesn’t mean that you can’t have one on your watch. High-quality aftermarket options make excellent alternatives and they also unlock a wide variety of different styles and colors that aren’t available directly from Rolex. To help you figure out the best rubber strap for your watch, we’ve put together this ultimate guide that breaks down everything you need to know about Rolex rubber watch straps.
Shown Above: Curved End Rubber Strap for Rolex GMT-Master II Ceramic
About Rolex Rubber Watch Straps
Rolex’s own rubber strap is known as the Oysterflex, and it is a fairly recent addition to the brand’s catalog, having only joined the lineup in 2015. Technically speaking, the Oysterflex is actually a bracelet since it includes a flexible metal core that is coated in black elastomer. Additionally, Rolex’s Oysterflex uses the same clasps that you will find on the brand’s various metal bracelet designs, rather than a more traditional tang-style buckle (like you will see on most rubber or leather straps). This means that although the Oysterflex is more-or-less a rubber strap, all of the current versions will feature large clasps made from solid pieces of machined metal.
At this point in time, the Rolex Oysterflex bracelet is exclusively offered in black - and more importantly, it is currently only available as an option for a handful of solid 18 karat gold Rolex watches. This makes Rolex rubber straps rather exclusive items within the brand’s official catalog, and the fact that Rolex chooses to only pair them with solid gold watches somewhat cancels out the inherent benefits of rubber’s lightweight composition. Additionally, rubber straps are ideal for scuba diving and wearing in the water, yet (strangely) Rolex doesn’t offer the Oysterflex on any of its dive watch models.
It’s also worth mentioning that while Rolex bracelets are famous for their fitted end-links that fill the gap between the edge of the case and the springbar, Rolex’s Oysterflex straps don’t offer a similar integrated design. Rather than being curved and fitted to the case of the watch, the ends of an Oysterflex are flat and stop right at the springbar. Therefore, to fill the resulting gap, many Rolex watches that have Oysterflex bracelets also feature metal lug hoods that extend from the sides of their cases. This means that if you install an Oysterflex onto a Rolex watch that wasn’t originally supposed to be fitted with one, it will lack an integrated appearance and leave gaps visible between the edges of the strap and the case of the watch.
The Advantages of Rubber Straps on Rolex Watches
When it comes to watch strap materials, rubber is easily one of the most practical. Compared to metal bracelets, rubber watch straps are quite a bit less expensive, along with being significantly lighter and more flexible. Additionally, rubber is completely waterproof (unlike leather) and unlike nylon or canvas, it will not absorb moisture and can instantly be cleaned and dried whenever it gets dirty or wet.
Since rubber can be molded into an incredibly wide variety of different shapes, rubber watch straps can be produced in styles and textures that would otherwise be impossible with leather or textile alternatives. A single piece of rubber can be shaped in a way that incorporates multiple different design elements that would need to be pinned, glued, or stitched together on metal or fabric versions of the same strap. Additionally, rubber components can be produced in organic flexible shapes that naturally conform to the ever-changing contours of the human wrist.
Beyond that, rubber Rolex straps can be created in a variety of different colors. This gives you the opportunity to switch up your watch’s appearance for different seasons and events, or even to match the colors of your favorite holiday or sports team. Personal preferences regarding comfort and aesthetics will always be the most important factors to consider when buying a strap for your watch, but from a strictly functional and practical standpoint, it’s hard to beat a well-made rubber strap.
Shown Above: Curved Rubber Strap for Rolex Submariner Ceramic Deployant
What Rolex Watches Come With Rubber Straps?
When Rolex first introduced the Oysterflex bracelet back in 2015, it was exclusively available for the solid Everose gold Yacht-Master and only offered in black. Even after more than half a decade of production, black remains the only color option and Rolex still only offers the Oysterflex on certain full gold versions of the Daytona, Yacht-Master, and Sky-Dweller.
Below is a complete list of all the different Rolex watches that are available with Oysterflex bracelets (as of February 2022):
- Rolex Yacht-Master 37 ref. 268655 - (18k Everose Gold)
- Rolex Yacht-Master 40 ref. 126655 - (18k Everose Gold)
- Rolex Yacht-Master 42 ref. 226659 - (18k White Gold)
- Rolex Daytona ref. 116518LN - (18k Yellow Gold)
- Rolex Daytona ref. 116515LN - (18k Everose Gold)
- Rolex Daytona ref. 116519LN - (18k White Gold)
- Rolex Sky-Dweller ref. 326238 - (18k Yellow Gold)
- Rolex Sky-Dweller ref. 326235 - (18k Everose Gold)
Given that the only Rolex watches that originally come with rubber straps are all made from solid 18 karat gold, the minimum price to get a Rolex model with one is quite high (assuming that you can even find one available at retail). The least expensive Rolex watch with a rubber strap is the mid-size version of the Yacht-Master in Everose gold, which costs $23,850 (as of February 2022). With that in mind, should you want something a bit larger and more complex like the Rolex Sky-Dweller, the lowest retail price for a model on an Oysterflex bracelet jumps up to $40,000 for the full yellow gold version.
Additionally, Rolex won’t sell you an Oysterflex bracelet unless you already own one of the specific watch models that is supposed to have one. Therefore, if you have a Rolex like a stainless steel Submariner, Daytona, or GMT-Master II and you want to purchase an Oysterflex bracelet to put on it, Rolex will simply decline to sell it to you. Furthermore, even if you do manage to source an Oysterflex bracelet on the open market (which will likely cost you a serious premium), a clasp won’t be included, which means that you will need to use the one from your existing Rolex bracelet. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem at all, but since Rolex’s Oysterflex straps will only work with certain clasps, there is always a possibility that your existing clasp will not fit properly on the Oysterflex components.
How to Buy a Rolex Rubber Strap
If you own a Rolex watch that was originally sold on an Oysterflex bracelet and you now need to buy a replacement, you can purchase a new one directly from Rolex. With that in mind, you will first need to bring your watch to your local authorized retailer or submit it for service so that Rolex can confirm you actually own a watch model that is supposed to have an Oysterflex bracelet in the first place.
Assuming that you are allowed to order one, replacement Rolex Oysterflex straps cost $290 per side ($580 total), but this does not include the price of any type of clasp or buckle. Replacement stainless steel Rolex clasps can cost several hundred dollars by themselves - and again, Rolex won’t sell any of these clasp or bracelets parts to you unless you already own the watch that corresponds with them.
All things considered, trying to buy a rubber strap directly through Rolex can be rather expensive, and there is also a good chance that you simply will not be able to purchase what you need directly from the brand. Therefore, many Rolex owners opt for high-quality aftermarket rubber straps (such as the ones we sell), which offer exponentially more options and in many cases, a superior fit for your specific watch.
Shown Above: Curved Rubber Strap for Rolex Oyster Perpetual - Image: @ilikerolexes
Different Types of Rubber Rolex Straps
Generally speaking, there are two main types of rubber straps that are available for Rolex watches. Both will attach to the case in an identical fashion, but the main difference is how the two types of straps close around your wrist.
Rubber Strap - Tang Style Buckle
Rolex rubber straps with tang style buckles are the type that use a traditional metal buckle with a pin that goes through a small hole in the opposite side of the strap. Simple, reliable, and easily adjustable, straps with tang style buckles are the variety that is most familiar to people, and they are perfect if you are buying a strap for a Rolex that is missing it’s bracelet because the tang style buckle takes the place of a clasp.
One of the greatest benefits of a tang style buckle is that a single strap can fit a wide variety of different wrists due to the multiple sizing holes and ease of adjustability. However, this style of rubber Rolex strap can sometimes offer a slightly less refined overall aesthetic due to the unused sizing holes and the excess length of strap that gets held down by a set of keepers.
Rubber Strap - Deployant Clasp
Deployant style rubber straps use the original fold-over clasps from Rolex bracelets, but swap out the metal links for flexible rubber components. This is more-or-less the style that Rolex follows for its own Oysterflex bracelet, and it is ideal for Rolex owners who want the benefits of a rubber strap without sacrificing the functionality or aesthetics of their original Rolex clasp.
A deployant style rubber Rolex strap offers a more refined appearance than an otherwise identical strap equipped with a traditional tang style buckle. However, any adjustability will be limited to whatever is offered by your existing Rolex clasp. Additionally, it's important to note that with this style of rubber strap, you will also need to swap your clasp any time that you want to go back to your original Rolex bracelet or change the color of your strap.
Shown Above Curved Rubber Strap for Rolex Explorer II 42mm - Image: @hochinkee
Rolex Rubber Straps: Different Levels of Quality
Just like most things in life, Rolex rubber straps exist at a wide range of different price points, but not all options are created equal. There exists an enormous difference in quality between a budget-friendly rubber Rolex strap and one that is truly deserving of being attached to a Rolex watch. Everything from the type of material to the design and construction can differ dramatically, and since this is a strap that will be attached to a watch that is worth thousands of dollars, it only makes sense to buy a high-quality one that will not cheapen the look and feel of your watch.
In regards to material differences, rubber Rolex straps that are crafted from genuine vulcanized rubber will typically offer a superior look and feel compared to those that use less expensive materials. While some cost-friendly materials such as silicone can be extremely flexible and comfortable, they are not as strong as vulcanized rubber and can often become magnets for dust and lint due to the slightly tacky nature of their surfaces.
However, arguably more important than the materials is the actual design of the strap itself. An ugly strap simply isn’t something that you want on your wrist, and a poorly designed rubber strap can make even the best materials feel uncomfortable and entirely unwearable. Additionally, when it comes to creating an integrated appearance with the lugs and the case of your Rolex watch, precision really matters, and a high-quality strap will almost always offer a superior fit colored to less expensive alternatives.
Shown Above: Curved Rubber Strap for Rolex Ceramic Daytona
How to Choose the Best Rubber Strap for Your Rolex
Unless you specifically want to have gaps visible between the ends of your strap and the case of your watch, you are going to want to find a rubber strap with curved ends that will perfectly match the case of your Rolex. To ensure the best possible fit, you are going to want to search for straps that are specifically designed for your exact Rolex model number. Different generations of Rolex watches will require slightly different straps, so even if you know that you need a rubber strap for a Rolex Submariner, you are still going to want to know the exact reference number of your Submariner so that you can get a perfect fit.
From here, the next step will be to choose whether you want a rubber strap with a traditional tang buckle or a deployant style one that uses the existing clasp from your Rolex bracelet. While most of this will be based on your own personal preferences, one important factor to consider is the type of clasp that you currently have on your Rolex bracelet.
For example, if you own a newer Submariner or Sea-Dweller, you might want to opt for the deployant style of rubber Rolex strap since you will be able to keep the convenience of its Glidelock clasp extension system. Conversely, if you like frequently switching between your original metal Rolex bracelet and different straps, having a tang-style of buckle will likely be preferable since you will not need to switch your clasp every time that you want to change the strap on your watch.
The length of the strap is also an important factor to consider. Many high-quality rubber Rolex straps will be available in multiple sizes (even when they are adjustable), and it is important to get one that will properly fit your wrist. In addition to the actual length of the strap itself, shorter or longer strap options can also sometimes be shaped slightly differently than their standard counterparts to make them more comfortable for different sized wrists.
Beyond that, you will also likely have your choice of color, and this is one area where you are free to have a bit of fun. Since rubber straps are inherently more sporty and a bit less formal than traditional options like leather, you might want to consider a brighter color like red or orange to give your watch a more casual appearance. On the other hand, you can always go for a classic and timeless option like black, which is equally at home at the gym as it is at the office. Alternatively, you can even own multiple straps in different colors and switch them up from one day to the next to match the season or your outfit.
Shown Above Curved Rubber Strap for Rolex GMT-Master II Ceramic with Deployant Clasp - Image: @rolexdiver
Rolex Rubber Strap Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Rolex rubber watch straps:
Does Rolex make a rubber strap?
- Yes. Since 2015, Rolex has produced a rubber strap that is known as the Oysterflex bracelet. It first made an appearance on the Everose gold Yacht-Master with a black ceramic bezel before working its way onto select models from both the Rolex Daytona and Rolex Sky-Dweller collections.
What is the Rolex rubber strap called?
- Rolex’s rubber strap is called the Oysterflex bracelet. It is formally known as a bracelet rather than a strap because it features a flexible metal core that is coated in black elastomer and it always features a metal fold-over clasp.
Can you buy a Rolex rubber strap?
- Rolex will only sell you a rubber strap if you already own one of the watch models that is supposed to be fitted with one. However, you can buy an aftermarket Rolex rubber strap from a number of different sources such as Everest Horology Products, which will significantly expand your options and include additional styles, colors, and configurations.
Which Rolex has a rubber strap?
- At the present time, the only Rolex watches that are available directly from the brand with rubber straps are certain solid 18 karat gold references from the Daytona, Yacht-Master, and Sky-Dweller collections.
Are rubber watch straps good?
- Yes! Rubber watch straps are incredibly practical and they make excellent alternatives to the original metal bracelets found on most Rolex watches. Rubber watch straps are lightweight, comfortable, completely waterproof, and available in a variety of different colors, plus they can be easily cleaned whenever they get dirty.
Which is better: silicone or rubber?
- Silicone and rubber are different materials and each one has its own list of pros and cons. For example, silicone has superior flame resistance, but rubber is significantly more resistant to abrasion. With that in mind, when it comes specifically to high-quality watch straps, rubber is often regarded as the superior material and it typically costs more for companies to produce. Rubber is also naturally hypo-allergenic, temperature-resistant, stain and dirt resistant, and incredibly durable.
Does Rolex make straps?
- Rolex makes some of the best straps and bracelets in the world, but they are not available for purchase separately from their corresponding watches. If you already own a Rolex watch, you are able to purchase new straps or bracelets for it, but Rolex will only sell you the type that were originally supposed to be on your specific model. Therefore, Rolex will not let you customize your watch to have a different style of bracelet, nor can you update your Rolex to feature a later generation of the same style of bracelet, as long as the normal one for your watch is still available. Aftermarket strap companies, such as Everest allow you to customize your Rolex.
Do Rolex watches have leather bands?
- While leather is arguably the most traditional material for watch straps, Rolex no longer produces any watches that have leather bands, and the only exceptions to this are the various solid gold dress models from the Cellini collection. Previously, solid gold editions of both the Rolex Daytona and Sky-Dweller featured leather bands, but these models have since been replaced by versions that use Rolex’s rubber Oysterflex bracelet.
What are Rolex watch straps made of?
- At the present time, Rolex watch straps can either be made of metal, leather, or rubber. The vast majority of Rolex watches feature metal bracelets crafted from stainless steel, gold, or platinum, while Rolex rubber straps (the Oysterflex bracelet) are made from a flexible metal core that is coated in elastomer and fitted with a solid 18k gold folding clasp.
Looking for a rubber strap for your Rolex watch? Shop our full collection right here.
Shown Above: Curved Rubber Strap for Rolex Milgauss - Image: @hmatterscommunity
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