Let’s start this off by saying the old, but true adage: Wear what you like. On many Rolex fan forums you’ll see declarative statements on why an Oyster bracelet is only acceptable or why the Jubilee is the only way to go. The debate raged to the forefront when the Rolex GMT-Master II "Pepsi" 126710BLRO on Jubilee Bracelet showed up at Baselworld 2018.
Prior to that the Jubilee was an option for the GMT-Master in previous incarnations before the super case era. So this particular model has a precedent for being fitted with the Jubilee bracelet, which was invented for the Datejust. Because the Jubilee is more commonly associated with the Datejust it is perceived to be the more delicate bracelet option. More rugged (at least in perception) models such as the Submariner only came on the three-link Oyster bracelet, a simpler affair.
Photo by Millenary Watches
But when you see either an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet on the same type of watch, the stark contrast causes strong feelings in both directions. In the case of the ceramic GMT-Master, both bracelet styles look great in our opinion. The Jubilee wins in the comfort category. This is just because it has five links and is more malleable to the curves of a wrist. That said an Oyster bracelet is very comfortable too and many Rolex aficionados prefer the older rattly hollow-link bracelets with stamped “Tuna can” clasps.
This author, in particular, enjoys this flimsier older style bracelet for comfort. Owners of older Jubilee bracelets on their four- or five-digit Datejust models report that those are the ultimate in comfort and some prefer a bit of stretch over a bracelet that’s been restored for more rigidity.
Photo by Millenary Watches
As far as looks, the Oyster bracelet is tough to beat. It’s the bracelet that’s often copied, and is outstanding with any casual vibe and isn’t out of place with a sport jacket either. The Jubilee on the other hand is great for people whose personality is more on the fancy side. The bracelet choice speaks volumes about the wearer’s personality.
Photo by @jestacey
Hodinkee senior editor James Stacey showed off his Jubilee bracelet on his Explorer II on his Instagram account. It was an inexpensive aftermarket model from Hadley Roma, and it was a pairing that just seemed right for the man wearing it. James is a firm individualist who isn’t afraid to go against the grain.
We won't settle this age-old debate. But we will say that the Jubilee wins on comfort and the Oyster wins on sportiness.
And if you ever get tired of your metal bracelet, we can gladly point you in the right direction for some premium rubber straps. Click here.