Category Archives: Patek Philippe Watch Articles

The Short History of Vulcanized Rubber Bracelet Use in Horology

Vulcanized Rubber Band on Rolex Yachtmaster II

Vulcanized Rubber Band on Rolex Yachtmaster II

Rubber has been around for quite some time.  However, the early excitement of utilizing rubber was tainted by the issues of pure rubber – it would freeze and crack in the winter, and it would melt and become sticky when exposed to the summer heat.  Nathaniel Hayword and Friedrich Ludersdorf discovered that by adding sulfur to pure rubber, it would eliminate stickiness.

However, in 1839, Charles Goodyear, famously linked to the name well-known Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., elaborated on Hayword’s discovery by developing the vulcanization process, where rubber could be heated by a stove and charred, producing a perfectly cured leather-like substance (yet, in many ways, superior to leather).  The word “vulcanize” comes from the Roman god of fire, Vulcan.  By heating rubber to a specific temperature and then removing it from the heat at the exact right point in time, the rubber would become vulcanized.

Vulcanized Rubber Bands on Patek Philippe

Black and Brown Vulcanized Rubber Bands on Patek Philippe

The resulting vulcanized rubber substance became extremely strong, weatherproof, and elastic.  Sulfur is an accelerator, which combines and creates bridges in the molecules, allowing natural rubber to be transformed into a substance which can be expertly molded while keeping its shape – free of swelling or melting in spite of hot or cold temperatures. Later enhancements to vulcanized rubber include adding carbon black or zinc oxide to retard deterioration caused by oxygen and ozone.

Vulcanized rubber has several advantages over most any substance in the world.  It has excellent strength and resilience and easily returns to its original intended shape after bending.  It resists wear and tear and oxidation.  It repels fats, oils and other solvents, while also limiting water absorption.  It has a wide temperature range making it flexible and reliable between −80 °C to +250 °C and won’t break down until it hits temperatures above 350 °C.

Vulcanized two-tone Rubber Bands for Tudor

Vulcanized two-tone Rubber Bands for Tudor

The watchmaking industry first began adding rubber bands to their timepieces in the 1950’s.  Rolex, Tudor, IWC and Blancpain were some of the early timepieces found with rubber bracelets.  However, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that the use of rubber bands became mainstream, largely due to its usefulness on diver and sports watches.  It’s weather and water proof qualities were perfect for watch owners with an active lifestyle.  The Swiss watchmaking industry adopted and perfected the use of vulcanized rubber bands as an extension to its artistry.  Bands are designed with many colors, even bright colors like orange, red and yellow – enhancing the palette of what is possible.

Vulcanized rubber bands have exceptional properties that make them superior bracelets for fine timepieces.  They are lightweight, compared to steel or gold watchbands.  Not only are they waterproof in both fresh and saltwater, but they feel lighter when being worn in water – making them a perfect complement to a diver or nautical timepiece.  They are durable and resistant to the effects of sunlight and radiation and they do not rust.  They clean easily, are non-toxic and non-allergenic.

Vulcanized Rubber Watchbands Supporting the Deployant Buckle

Vulcanized Rubber Watchbands Supporting the Deployant Buckle

Rubber bands are easy to fit and adjust and generally can be worn by both men and women of any wrist size, universally.  They are comfortable to wear and can be designed to fit the deployant buckle of the manufacturer.  Vulcanized rubber bands are scratch resistant and are a low-cost (and in many ways a superior) alternative to steel and gold bands made by the manufacturer.

Probably the most important feature of vulcanized rubber bands is the stylish qualities.  Vulcanized rubber can be forged into millions of beautiful designs and patterns.  They can utilize the blues, blacks, and browns of the boardroom, or the fun colors of spring and summer, giving each timepiece an endless supply of stylish adaptability.  Since it is easy to change a band, a timepiece owner might have a collection of different color rubber bands and be able to adapt the look of their timepiece in minutes.

Vulcanized Rubber Bracelets on Patek Philippe

White and Blue Vulcanized Rubber Bracelets on Patek Philippe

Rubber B has expanded upon the Swiss Vulcanized Rubber bracelet tradition by developing several enhancements of their own.  Rubber B developed “Blocked Integration” which creates a tight, motionless, rotationless, and gap-free mount to the watch head.  Rubber B has strengthened their straps by infusing carbon fiber molecules into the vulcanized rubber – thus reducing stress while maintaining supple, flexible comfort around the wearer’s wrist. Rubber B has combined industrial strength Velcro Alfatex and Titanium-Enforced loops to create unique rubber bands utilizing a powerful Velcro clasp.  For more information, visit our product pages for a wide variety of vulcanized rubber bracelets made for an active and stylish lifestyle.

Show off your Blue Watch Bands for Summer

Blue Rubber B Strap for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41 Sport

Blue Rubber B Strap for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41 Sport

When Summertime comes, blue watchbands are a perfect complement to activities such as swimming, diving, yachting, and going to the beach.  Blue is refreshing and catches attention.  Watchmakers such as Rolex and Audemars Piguet have harnessed the power of blue in their iconic designs such as the Rolex Yachtmaster II (pictured below) and the AP Royal Oak 41 (pictured above).

Vulchromatic Rubber B Bracelet supports Rolex Clasp on Rolex Yachtmaster II

Vulchromatic Rubber B Bracelet supports Rolex Clasp on Rolex Yachtmaster II

Rubber B has designed custom blue colored watch bands for several of the top watchmakers in the industry.  Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Panerai, and Tudor are just some of the top brands Rubber B supports.  All of these blue bands are made in Switzerland with the highest standards.  These bands are made from pure rugged vulcanized rubber with no coating, blends, or bonding that can cause lesser brands to bleed or fall apart in the ocean or pool.  Rubber B designed these bands for performance – to keep up with the active lifestyle and the exceptional quality fine timepiece owners expect.

Blue Watchband for the Rolex Air King 34mm

Blue Watchband for the Rolex Air King 34mm

The Blue Rubber B strap for the Rolex Air King 34 mm above supports the original Rolex clasp that came from the manufacturer.  Many of the Rubber B straps support the original deployant buckles.  Some, however, also come with a high quality 316L Steel Tang Buckle.

lue Watch Band for Rolex Yachtmaster 35

lue Watch Band for Rolex Yachtmaster 35

Rubber B has several blue-colored bands, solid blue, navy blue (see the Panerai Luminor Submersible below), black straps with blue stripes down the middle (see the Panerai Luminor 44mm below), or two-tone straps with black on top and blue underneath (see the Tudor Heritage Black Bay below).   Rubber B utilizes both a Navy Blue and a Pacific Blue which is a lighter and brighter shade to add interest and to match the luminescent colorings of the timepiece’s components – such as the bezel and hour/minute hands on the Rolex Yachtmaster II.

Blue Strap for Panerai Luminor Submersible 44mm

Blue Strap for Panerai Luminor Submersible 44mm

Another area that Rubber B excels in is in its unique way of attaching to the timepiece’s case.  Many of the bands are engineered with “Blocked Integration” which creates a flawless, motionless flush mount to the case.  This is visible on the Panerai, Tudor and Rolex models.

Panerai Luminor 44mm Vulchromatic Blue on Black

Panerai Luminor 44mm Vulchromatic Blue on Black

Rubber B has implemented the blue coloring differently in the Panerai Luminor Marina above and the Tudor Heritage below.  Both utilize a black band with attention drawing pacific blue coloring, but on the bracelet for Panerai, Rubber B utilizes a racing stripe down the center.  The Tudor, on the other hand, has an underlying blue which extends from the case to the buckle and lays against the wrist of the wearer.  The blue peeks through on the end of the band where the buckle is attached.

Blue Strap for Tudor Heritage Black Bay - VulChromatic® Dual-Color

Blue Strap for Tudor Heritage Black Bay – VulChromatic® Dual-Color

6 Designer Watch Bands for the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980

Patek Philippe 5980 RG

Patek Philippe 5980 RG

The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980R Chronograph and Date timepiece in rose gold is a stunning example of horology at its finest.  With the rounded octagonal shape of the bezel and the porthole case design, the Nautilus epitomizes the ultimate in elegant sports watch design.  The Nautilus was designed in 1976 and is built in steel, rose gold, white gold or two-tone combinations.

The reference 5980R is powered by a Caliber CH 28-520 C self-winding mechanism with a 55 hour max power reserve.  It has a central rotor built in 21k gold, and utilizes Gyromax for balance and Spiromax balance spring.  The timepiece pictured above has a bezel and case created from rose gold. The black brown dial is horizontally embossed, with gold hour markers with luminescent coating.  The 6-oclock dial has a 60 minute and a 12-hour monocounter which are operated by the two pushers on the right side of the dial, above and below the screw-down crown.

Patek Philippe Arctic White and Navy Blue

Patek Philippe Arctic White and Navy Blue

The Nautilus 5980R is fitted with a hand-stitched matt dark brown Alligator strap.  The case size 40.5 mm wide and 12.2 mm high.  The sapphire crystal appears on both the front and back of the case, helping to make the timepiece water resistant to 360 feet.

Patek Philippe Expresso Brown and Jet Black Bracelets

Patek Philippe Expresso Brown and Jet Black Bracelets

Rubber B has designed 6 exquisite bracelets to fit the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980R.  The alternative straps are designed for an active lifestyle, made from durable vulcanized rubber and engineered to fit the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980 case and rose gold deployant buckle.  All of Rubber B watch bands are made in Switzerland of pure vulcanized rubber, with no coating, blends or bonding.

The 5980R would look fantastic with the Arctic White, Expresso Brown, Jet Black or Navy Blue bands, as they complement the coloring and features on the dial. The increased durability of the Rubber B straps will allow the Nautilus wearer a comfortable and long-lasting band to support an active lifestyle.  For more information go to our page here.

Designer Bracelets for the Patek Philippe 5712G Nautilus in White Gold

Patek Philippe 5712G Nautilus in White Gold

Patek Philippe 5712G Nautilus in White Gold

The Nautilus 5712G-001 in White Gold is a gorgeous 40 mm timepiece which combines the trademark porthole construction and a horizontally embossed dial, creating both a sporty and elegant look.  This model is powered by the caliber 240 PS IRM C LU with 29 jewels.

This timepiece has a complex set of movements.  It has a 48 hour power reserve indicator between the 10 and 11 o’clock markers.  Between 6 and 8 o’clock there is a circular date wheel and a moon phases indicator.  Between 4 and 5 o’clock there is a small seconds subdial.  The hour and minute hands and hour markers have luminescent coating to provide visibility and waterproofness support for a depth up to 150 feet.  The black embossed dial and white gold case are enhanced with a black leather band.

Best Alternative Bracelet for the Patek Philippe 5712 WG

Best Alternative Bracelet for the Patek Philippe 5712 WG

Rubber B has designed six exquisite bracelet alternatives for the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712 coming with the leather band.  These watch bands are made in Switzerland and are custom designed to fit original Patek Philippe Nautilus deployant buckle.  These bracelets are made from pure vulcanized rubber, containing no blends or coating and are designed to fit wrists of all sizes.  For more information on our alternative straps for the Nautilus 5712 visit our page here

The Three Best Engineered Clasps for Fine Timepieces

Deployant Buckle on a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711

Deployant Buckle on a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711

The fine timepiece industry has developed several clasps for watchbands over the years. So today we are going to look at various of the typical clasps found on luxury timepieces like Rolex, Panerai, Patek Philippe and other fine watch brands.

The Deployant Clasp (Deployment Clasp)

Although the terms Deployment and Deployant are often used interchangeably when referring to the type of clasp which unfolds into thirds and then locks into place with a type of hook latch, it is actually proper to use the word Deployant. It is easy to make this mistake because often fine timepieces owe their heritage to the world armies, navies and military air force groups who would deploy onto the battlefield, and many of them were issued a fine timepiece to coordinate their attacks. For example, for a group Deployment of a regiment of troops, the word “Deployment” would be a proper way to describe these troop movements.

Deployant Buckle on a Rolex Daytona

Deployant Buckle on a Rolex Daytona

Without a doubt the deployant clasp is very popular for many timepieces manufactured worldwide. In the deployant clasp group, there are standard, pushbutton, with safety, and deployant buckle with a diver’s extension.

Each manufacturer has different nuances on how they deliver these clasps. Rubber B pays particular attention to detail so that when designing a bracelet to support a particular watch brand, it must have a perfect fit and abide by stringent standards of excellence.

Rolex Deepsea buckle

Rolex Deepsea buckle

The above Rolex Deepsea buckle has an extension which can help fit the timepiece to the owner both on land and over a wetsuit when diving. Rubber B has engineered and developed an exclusive Strength Infusion Technology to provide upgraded support against friction, weight and frequent micro-adjustments made to the Glidelock Clasp (pictured below). Carbon Fiber molecules are fused within the vulcanized rubber during its mould process, resulting in a substantial increase in vertical and lateral stress resistance, while maintaining supple, flexible comfort around the wearer’s wrist.

Glidelock

Glidelock

The Tang Buckle
The simplest design for buckles is the standard Tang Buckle, made out of 316L Stainless Steel. Tang buckles are widely used and are extremely popular due to their ease in adjustment, strength and durability. The bracelet has several notches allowing the wearer to quickly adjust the band around the wrist and get to the most comfortable fit. The double loop allows the wearer to fit the remaining strap neatly against the strap to prevent flapping. This also adds strength and protection from loss since the tang buckle does not have a safety clasp often found on the deployant buckle. Although this design is quite easy to adjust and comfortable to wear, it is also quite strong. The 316L Stainless Steel is both rust resistant, and extremely strong. However, tang buckles are easy to replace and the wearer could opt to use a tang buckle with his favorite timepiece’s logo emblazoned on the steel notch slide through bar.

Tang Buckle on a Rolex Submariner

Tang Buckle on a Rolex Submariner

The Velcro Alfatex Buckle
Velcro was discovered and invented by a Swiss engineer named George de Mestral in the 1940’s. An avid hunter in the Jura mountains in Switzerland, Mr. de Mestral discovered the cockle-burs were stuck to his pants and dog’s fur and was intrigued about how they attached themselves. He inspected the tiny hooks under a microscope and how they engaged the loops of fabric of his pants. Using nature’s design, he tapped several friends in the weaving business to create what would become the VELCRO brand. Velcro comes from the French words for velvet “velour” and hook “crochet.”

Velcro Strap on a Rolex Submariner

Velcro Strap on a Rolex Submariner

Rubber B has perfected the use of Velcro on fine timepieces by utilizing the strongest and most reliable industrial strength fastener and a Titanium-Enforced Loop. The band is tortion-tested for extreme strength and security. The Velcro® Alfatex® closure provides a comfortable and esthetically pleasing mount. This strap comes with an optional retaining loop. It uses Hand-Sewn GORE-TENARA® Marine Thread providing maximum resistance to UV-rays, atmospheric conditions, & chemicals. It is manufactured with 5 optional sizes, to fit nearly any wrist size.