If you are trying to compare rubber straps vs leather straps, it may be important to first start with why leather is so popular. There is no doubt that leather watch straps have a special place in the hearts of many watch owners. In fact, it is probably one of the first watch bands that a watch owner may have had.
Rubber Straps vs Leather Straps
Although the warm pleasant smell of leather is probably not noticeable on your wrist, compared to what you might enjoy in say… a new car or on a new leather couch. However, there is no doubt that leather feels good. It stretches and molds to your body almost effortlessly. And to a watch enthusiast, that may be just one thing you may love about your strap.
Leather looks good, and better as you wear it. It has a natural style. It’s creases and crevices add a natural uniqueness to the piece. It looks good with formal attire and with casual wear.
Leather also may pay homage to some fond memories – such as Cowboy movies of years gone past or even your first baseball mitt. It is rugged, and yet it is supple and becomes more your own, the more you wear it.
However, leather has several downsides. The most important is that it doesn’t wear very well – especially during athletic activity. Although leather does have some resistance to water, it is very porous. It attracts water which can make the leather warp and bubble up. If you sweat, the band may start to take on an odor over time.
The leather bands don’t stand up to the the highly active lifestyle. You would certainly not want to take a leather band into the ocean or a swimming pool. And even playing a friendly game of football or basketball might spell doom for a watchband made of leather. One accidental tug, and the timepiece will find itself on the ground. Even though leather is rather tough, it can bend, stretch and ultimately break. This means that you will likely need to replace the leather band regularly, or choose to leave that watch at home when out at play.
Stylistically, leather typically comes in 2 colors – brown and black. Although it is possible to dye leather red or blue, these colors are less common. This means that a leather band has limited style combinations.
For the sustainability conscious minded individuals, leather comes from the hide of some animal. Although alligator and cow hides are commonplace, leather may come from other sources. Today, wearing leather may have a negative connotation when worn around people sensitive to the plight of animals.
The Benefits of Rubber Bands
Rubber, especially the kind that Rubber B uses – Vulcanized Rubber – is a far more reliable watchband for a timepiece. Similar to its leather counterpart, it is comfortable to wear. It is supple and moves easily to the wrist. Although it contours to the shape of your body, it doesn’t get stuck or sag. It will pop back into its original shape once you unbuckle the timepiece.
It is far stronger than leather. And, more importantly, it is far more durable. This means that rubber bands are ideal for athletic endeavors. Take your band to the beach, the pool, or rough it up on the basketball court. This band is made to last and last.
Even though the style of leather might have some uniqueness to it, now Rubber B has introduced a large number of styles that allow rubber to imitate everything from canvas and fabrics to actual true leather hide. With so many textures to choose from, it is hard to even consider why you might even think of going back to leather.
Initially Rubber B chose to combine the strength and power of the Rubber band with the beauty and elegance of the natural leather in its Structure Series. However, Rubber B wanted to be more sustainable and continued to develop and innovate with vulcanized rubber until it perfected the Swimskin texture, the canvas texture of the Rubber Cuff series, and then it just opened up the playbook with a growing number of textures at i-Unique.
The biggest benefit of vulcanized rubber over leather is that it can rivals the strength and durability of steel or other fine metals without giving up the comfort. Add to that, the ability to buy a multitude of color bands for far less than a single gold or platinum band, and now you can customize the look of your timepiece as often as you want. Change outfits, change your band, and you can enjoy your unique style doing anything, anywhere. Even if you sweat, or get your band dirty, you can clean it easily and its non-porous design repels odors.
Breakdown of Rubber Straps vs Leather Straps
- Has a traditional look that many people love
- Comfortable to wear
- Shapes to your body over time
- Fairly strong
- Looks good even if you beat it up – may even have more character over time
- Limited color palette
- Can warp and bubble over time – even break
- Not good for athletic activities
- May retain the odors of athletic activity
- Soaks up water like a sponge and is not ideal for swimming
- Vulcanized Rubber is very strong
- Comfortable to wear
- Perfect for athletics and is easy to clean
- Excellent for swimming because it repels water
- Can be made with many colors
- Can have many textures that even rival canvas or leather
- Hypoallergenic, and repels UV Rays
- Almost always looks like new
- Can support original deployant buckle of the original metal band
- Rubber is soft and takes the shape of the customer’s own wrist over the first days and weeks of wear
- Vulcanized rubber straps last many years and do not develop odors
- Unique styles can make it have the patterns of leather, but each unique design must be hand crafted
- Stays the same over time – does not add character as leather does