Rolex watches and rubber straps are a natural pairing, and ever since the Oysterflex bracelet first appeared in 2015, people have been wondering when Rolex will start offering rubber straps for their favorite models. Compared to other watch strap materials, rubber is easily the most performance-oriented, which makes it a logical choice for a brand like Rolex, who is famous for its purpose-built tool watches.
However, even after more than seven years, Rolex still only offers the Oysterflex for a handful of premium models that are all crafted from solid 18 karat gold. Not only does this place them out of many people’s budgets, but it’s also a rather puzzling decision because it means that Rolex’s most performance-oriented strap option is not available for any of its most performance-oriented watches.
The good news is that you can always pick up a high-quality rubber strap for your Rolex directly from our shop. However, below is a shortlist of the Rolex watches that should logically be offered with rubber straps, but currently don’t have them as options directly from Rolex.
Shown Above: Curved End Rubber Strap for Rolex Submariner Ceramic - Image: @rolexdiver
When it comes to the Rolex models that should most logically be available with rubber straps, the Submariner is probably the very first name that comes to mind. Rubber is completely waterproof and it does not absorb moisture, making it the perfect strap material for dive watches. Nearly all modern dive computers are fitted with rubber straps, and when you look at the dive watches produced by other brands, most are available with rubber straps.
However, the Rolex Submariner is currently only offered on an Oyster bracelet, and there’s a fairly good chance that Rolex will never make a Submariner on a rubber strap. As someone who frequently wears a Submariner on rubber, I personally love this combination and a ceramic no-date Submariner on a rubber strap would be the dream configuration for many collectors when it comes to a no-nonsense Rolex sports watch. Will it ever happen? Probably not, but you can do the exact same thing I did and head over to the shop to pick up a rubber strap for your Submariner.
Shown Above: Curved End Rubber Strap for Rolex Explorer 39mm - Image: @averagewatches
The Explorer is Rolex’s original sports watch collection that was originally designed for active use in outdoor environments. The classic time-only Rolex Explorer is often considered by many collectors and enthusiasts to be the quintessential purist’s sports watch, and having a rubber strap available as an option for it would seem like a logical decision that would lend itself to a highly practical and utilitarian package.
However, just like the Submariner, the Rolex Explorer is exclusively available on an Oyster bracelet. Despite a two-tone model joining the collection last year in 2021, Rolex doesn’t offer any options for the Explorer when it comes to dial colors or straps and bracelets. Given that the Explorer is a watch originally designed for mountaineering and outdoor adventures, having it available on something other than a metal bracelet seems like an obvious decision, yet Rolex still refuses to offer the Explorer on a rubber strap.
Rolex GMT-Master II
Shown Above: Curved End Rubber Strap for Rolex GMT-Master II Ceramic Deployant - Image: @rolexdiver
Over the last few years, the Rolex GMT-Master II collection has expanded significantly. Even before the latest addition of a green and black GMT-Master II with a left-handed winding crown, Rolex already offered its iconic pilot's watch in a variety of different materials and configurations. The stainless steel version is now available in three different colorways, with either a left or right-handed winding crown, and also with the option of either an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet. Historically, the GMT-Master II collection has always offered buyers a lot of variety, and it would seem natural for Rolex to make a version that is fitted with a rubber strap.
With that in mind, while you can find Oysterflex bracelets on certain solid gold references from both the Daytona and Yacht-Master collections, you won’t find any rubber straps within the GMT-Master II range - even on the precious metal models. Although the Rolex GMT-Master II was originally designed for professional pilots, it is now positioned as a luxury travel watch, and a rubber strap would be the ideal option for beach-side vacations or swimming in the hotel pool. And yet, despite this practicality and the possibilities of having different strap colors to match with the different bezels and 24-hour hands, Rolex doesn’t currently offer any GMT-Master II models with rubber straps.
Shown Above: Curved End Rubber Strap for Rolex Deepsea - Image: @rolexdiver
Although Rolex may never offer the Submariner on a rubber strap, the Deepsea Sea-Dweller would also be an excellent candidate to receive this highly-practical option. While the Submariner has a history that dates back to the early 1950s and has traditions to uphold, the Rolex Deepsea is thoroughly a modern creation that is intended to showcase the brand’s advanced dive watch technologies. Again, dive watches and rubber straps are a perfect and natural pairing, yet a stainless steel Oyster bracelet remains the only option for the Rolex Deepsea.
Although the Deepsea is technically part of the greater Sea-Dweller collection, it is still considered to be Rolex’s third dive watch model, and offering it on a rubber strap would significantly help set it apart from its less professionally-oriented siblings. Additionally, due to its impressive underwater capabilities, the Rolex Deepsea is relatively a large and heavy watch. Swapping out the solid-link metal bracelet for a lightweight rubber strap would go a long way towards cutting down on its overall wrist presence, and it would also work perfectly with the intentional purpose-built aesthetic of the watch.