The Rolex Bracelet - To Taper Or Not Taper (As Much As Before)

The Rolex Bracelet - To Taper Or Not Taper (As Much As Before)

Bracelet taper is a good thing in terms of looks and comfort in my experience. But as Everest founder Michael DiMartini wrote, one noticeable difference in the new Submariner is the proportions of the taper in the bracelet. The older versions went from 20mm to 16mm at the clasp, which I feel is the ideal amount of difference between the bracelet width at the watch head and the bracelet width at the clasp. The 2020 Submariner has a 21mm to 17mm taper, which is proportional to the older style. 

Photo by @u/sporturawus

The 2021 Explorer 124270 tapers from 19mm at the lugs to 14mm at the clasp, which is pretty aggressive and for me is an excellent look. Some collectors do not like this extremeness and as many in Rolex Forum pointed out, there will always be some that complain about some detail of Rolex’s choices.

Photo by C-Segment Wrist Watches

Most of Omega’s popular sport watches, Planet Ocean, Seamaster 300 and more recent pre-2021 Speedmaster feature bracelets with no taper or only a 2mm taper. Grand Seiko is another brand that makes bracelets without a taper. All the better for Rolex watches to be identified from a distance, but at the end of the day, non-tapering bracelets aren’t as nice and look like a cost-cutting measure to have uniform links. 

Photo by Monochrome Watches

The debate rages on on watch forums, and many people prefer non-tapered bracelets citing a more masculine look and better fit on the wrist. Maybe I have smaller wrists and perhaps more feminine looking hands and wrists too, but in my experience having a smaller width part on the bottom of the wrist makes sense because most people’s anatomy allows for a more extreme angle when turning one’s wrists inward.

Photo by Millenary Watches

The most comfortable bracelet for me is a Jubilee style with an extreme taper, which combines for the ultimate in the shape of the bracelet conforming to the movements of the hands and wrists. The smaller center links allow for more malleability.

One of my watch friends likened the Omega Planet Ocean bracelet to a handcuff. While cuff style watches can work really well, such as in the case of Bulgari Octo Finissimo, more traditional style watches work well with the watch head being the visual focal point and the underside having a supporting role, which is achieved with a bracelet taper.

Rolex and Tudor consistently used tapered bracelets and the look has become a hallmark of the brands that coincide with their bracelet designs. There’s a reason why the Oyster bracelet is one of the most copied looks throughout the industry,

Even on my Panerai PAM112, while the popular look is a non-tapered leather strap, I prefer using a 24mm strap that tapers to 22mm at the buckle. It helps make a more brutish watch more elegant.

What is your preference? Comment below or on social media.

Shop bracelet alternatives for your Rolex Submariner here.

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