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Thread: Watch bands: metal or rubber or nylon or leather?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Watch bands: metal or rubber or nylon or leather?

    I've been eyeing the Luminox Titanium Navy Seal watches, and I've been wondering what the pros and cons of the "rubber" vs the metal bands (other than style).

    Which is stronger?

    Which is more comfortable?

    Which is more secure?

    Any other thoughts you might have would be great.

    Thanks,

    -john

    Edit: Changed title to add nylon and leather.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    Just a thought from watching some other techs where I work - if you work around electricity, don't wear metal bands.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    Just a few observations of mine: Cloth, nylon, and leather watch bands get kinda gross after a while from sweat. They can actually start to smell bad. Rubber ones get hot and make me sweat even more. My last several watches have had metal "bands" or bracelets and I really like them best. My current (and all-time favorite) watch is a Luminox Satinless Marine. It's very comfortable and durable, and if the band gets dirty or sweaty, I simply run it under water....good as new.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic TomH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I prefer the US Issue nylon bands myself, the most comfortable type of strap I have found yet. If it does start to get nasty, just throw it in the washer, or wash with soap and water, and it will come out good as new. I am not a fan of metal bracelets at all. All the ones I have ever tried are either too heavy, pinched hairs, and/or scratched really easy. YMMV.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    Metal is definitely more durable in the long run. It may never have to be replaced.

    Strength and security is probably similar unless you give the edge to metal because of the safety clasp. The weak point in strength is the spring bar attachment at the watch lug, and that is the same for any type of band.

    Comfort is a very personal thing. I personally hate the feel of a metal band and for me rubber is better but still not great. I think most people prefer the feel of the metal bands.

    Nylon would be my choice for practicality with comfort. You can remove them from the watch and throw them in the washing machine or even the dish washer if they get too funky from seeat. They are breathable, waterproof, quick-drying and don't pinch or scratch skin or pull hair.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I like nylon the best, followed by metal. I really don't like the plastic bands.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic dandruff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    i think metal straps themselves should be the most durable...

    BUT, i dont really trust those funny clip things.

    I would think the normal rubber strap is the most sercure

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I haven't had a metal band pinch or pull the hair on my wrist since waaaay back (70's & early 80's) when I would get those Speidel Twist-O-Flex bands. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif[/img] None of the newer bands seem to do that to me.
    It is easy enough to toss a nylon band into the wash, but you have to go through taking it off the watch, waiting for it to wash and dry, then put it back on the watch. Metal is just easier to me. Personal preference.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I like rubber watch bands/straps for many reasons:

    1) don't start stinking like nylon or leather.

    2) rubber doesn't conduct electricity.

    3) never had a rubber watch band or it's buckle/clasp fail on me.

    4) good rubber watch bands are pretty comfortable.

    5) rubber ones are not too terribly expensive.

    6) to me (my own personal opinion) is that metal ones are more jewelry than a working persons band.

    7) metal ones get all scratched up and dinged if you wear your watch for anything more than sitting behind a desk.

    8) easy to clean up rubber if you get gunk on it.

    9) if you snag or catch your rubber watch band on something it won't tear up your wrist.

    Just my opinions,
    Mike

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    Flashaholic* PhotonBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I like the rubber ones too. They don't get smelly, they're nice and light, easy to put on, don't pinch hairs and are quite inexpensive. I do find, though, they eventually fail, usually cracking or getting yanked too hard near the watch where the pins hold it on. I wish manufacturers would provide a spare or two, then you'd be able to get the full lifetime out of the watch. I like the inexpensive Casio watches best. I like to buy relatively cheap watches so that I don't feel too guilty about getting a new one with better features when the band eventually goes.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    Hey Guys,

    I like rubber and metal.

    a few more pros and cons:

    1. rubber is lighter than metal.
    2. metal tends to pull hair on my arm where rubber does not.
    3. GOOD metal bracelets generally last the life of the watch.

    I am very picky about a bracelet on a watch. I usually wear a TAG se/l because the bracelet doesn't pull the hair on my arm and it is a fairly flexible bracelet. And, I like the design of the bracelet alot.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic TomH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    To those who think that metal bracelets are the strongest, think again. If you look at MOST metal bracelets, the links are held together by extremely thin pins. The US issue straps are rated at 800lbs pull strength, not that I'd ever test this myself, but you can't seriously tell me that a little metal pin will hold anywhere close to 800lbs before it snaps. Remember the old adage "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link".

    One last note, the US issue straps weave themselves through the spring bars, so you can take them off in a matter of seconds, how's that for ease of use?

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    Thanks for the reponses so far. A couple of thoughts.

    For the last 12 years I've been wearing a Rolex GMT Master II with a stainless braclet. Before that I wore a Casio G Shock.

    While I didn't break the G Shock, I pulled the band out a couple of times. I'm not sure if the case is softer than the Rolex, but after a while, pulling the pins out caused the holes that they set in erroded such that the pins would no longer stay in securely. I have never had this problem with the band on the Rolex. The other thought about this is that the metal bands don't allow the band to move as much so not as much stress gets placed on the pins. Thoughts?

    The Rolex braclets do not pull my hairs.

    The Rolex I have has a single clasp. Sometimes while under heavy activity the clasp will come undone which I don't like. I assume a double clasp wouldn't have this problem. On the other hand, at least the watch doesn't fall off when the clasp comes undone.

    If you are very active and sweaty, the metal band moves more than I would like. Perhaps it is because the metal doesn't have any grip, but it also probably partially because of the weight of the watch.

    Does anyone know what type of clasp the Luminox watches have? Maybe a picture?

    How much does a Luminonx Ti watch weigh?

    Has anyone with a Luminox Ti watch had the pins pulled out? If so, was it a rubber or Ti band?

    Thanks,

    -john

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I haven't worn a metal band since about 8 years ago. Never had any problems with getting my arm hair pulled or anything. Though it was a Seiko, it didn't have a safety clasp and I nearly lost it fishing. I caught the clasp part enough to open the band up. Luckily, I was holding a net and it couldn't fall into the water.

    I don't remove my G-Shock straps, but I would imagine that they would not do to well with repeated removal and installation due to the wear made by the screws. My Seiko Orange Monster is nice with the stock rubber watch band, very comfortable and secure. The pins wouldn't be a problem as they don't screw into anything, just the beefy pins into the case that it came with. I mean, given enough force, any of them will fail.

    I like watches that don't slide around much, so I tend to snug them up.

    I guess as long as it's comfortable and get's you there ..... it's all good. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/happy14.gif[/img]

    Mike

  15. #15

    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    [ QUOTE ]

    Does anyone know what type of clasp the Luminox watches have? Maybe a picture?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    It's a double clasp I think, I'm not really down with watchband terminology but I'm wearing it now. It snaps into place, then a little piece of metal folds over that and snaps into place. I've never had any issues with it.

    [ QUOTE ]
    How much does a Luminonx Ti watch weigh?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I can't give you a specific answer, but it's the heaviest watch I own, I think the principle source of weight is the heavy sapphire crystal. I can weight it tonight when I get home, though.

    [ QUOTE ]
    Has anyone with a Luminox Ti watch had the pins pulled out? If so, was it a rubber or Ti band?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I believe you can choose either band for a Luminox. The titanium band has simple interlocking pieces with tight fitting pins holding them together. IIRC the band itself is titanium but the pins are steel. There is no rubber or other material in it, just metal.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic TomH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Frangible said:

    It's a double clasp I think, I'm not really down with watchband terminology but I'm wearing it now. It snaps into place, then a little piece of metal folds over that and snaps into place. I've never had any issues with it.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    That type of clasp is called a "deployant".

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I have a Chase-Durer Blackhawk which I brought based on the style of the rubber/steel strap. But the rubber literally rotted, split and generally fell apart after 2 years use. I bought a new strap but now dont wear it so often in case it rots prematurely again.

    I found that water and sweat would stay under the rubber and cause a bit of irritation. But otherwise it is comfortable.

    I only really noticed the rubber spliting when it fell off my wrist one day! I never realy checked it regularly though.

    I recently bought a NATO strap and this is more comfortable than my rubber or steel straps in terms of not really being aware of it on my wrist.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I own metal, rubber, plastic and nylon.

    My preferred band most of the time is the metal deployant, usually on my Seiko Black Monster or Citizen Sailhawk stainless watches. I find the deployant style less attractive on titanium watches, as it's usually very thin, and tends to 'bite' my wrist, or flex more than I like. Downside is that I have to take it off everytime I use a laptop, or anything else where my wrist is rubbing on something scratchable - the stainless will chew up plastic, paint or anything else.

    The soft nylon, like the Luminox nylon/velcro band, is wonderfully soft, and the single most comrotable band I own, but gets manky after a while, and it's soft enough to get torn up pretty easily with normal use, so it looks like I've got a big fuzzy caterpillar on my wrist. No worries about scratching, though.

    The NATO-sytle harder nylon with a buckle I don't find very comfortable - just doesn't work for me at all.

    I like the heavy rubber bands with a buckle quite well, like on my Seiko 007, and I like that they don't bang around on things so much, but even then, the metal buckle beats the heck out of my laptop, or anything else my wrist sits on.

    Least favorite is the plastic bands - the stock bands on G-shocks are more rubbery, and not too bad, but the hard plastic of stock luminox (the original Navy SEAL style) are horrible - my least favorite feature of the watch. I have one that's six years old now, and still hard and inflexible... ugh.

    My only other complaint is watches where the pins just go into a hole in the plastic (some Luminox models, esp.) It's so easy for the pin to wear or scrape the plastic away, and then the watch won't stay on - one of my Luminox has this problem, and it just doesn't work as a watch anymore, because there's a teeny little dent in the wrong place. Spring bars are the weak point of any watch - the band may hold up a truck, but the bars or their attachment point. will give long before that.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I just weighed it, my Luminox titanium dive weighs 90g (with band).

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    Rolex GMT Master II = 123g (one link removed).

    I thought the difference would be a bit more.

    -john

  21. #21

    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    For summertime wear I like the metal bracelet. That's only about three months hereabouts.
    Other times I switch off straps as the mood takes me.
    I enjoy the Seiko Monsters as they allow easy access to the springbar from holes on the outside of the lugs.
    Summer time wear


    Other moods
    On my wrist now. Hirsch Carbon Fiber with deployment clasp


    My California surfer mood. Orange strap is rubber.


    Pebble grain tan leather


    Tom
    edit: I meant to add that I like the thin, flexible Natos quite a bit.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic X33's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I use nylon fabric straps similar to the Rhino watch bands on countycomm. The one I use is called Waterborne- Australia. Get them from a dive shop in London. Different widths available as well as black or silver buckles. Its not as sweaty as metal or rubber in the summer and if needed I just wash it with a bit of soap and an old toothbrush. No need to remove lugs either. Since it goes under the watch you won't loose your watch if one lug pops out. Happened to me once.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    If you're getting a relatively expensive (i.e. >$300) watch, the usual watch idiot-savant advice is ALWAYS get the bracelet rather than the strap.

    The reasoning is that you get can good straps, that look good on your watch, from a variety of sources (e.g. Hirsh, Rhino, etc.) but if you get the watch with a strap and eventually want a bracelet it can be very hard to then get the OEM version. Anything else probably won't look right on the watch. (The watch web sites usually have at least one or two "WTB" posts looking for a specific bracelet in any given week.)

    Even if you don't ever want the bracelet, if you want to eventually resell the watch, an OEM bracelet makes it more valuable (even more so if it's unworn).

    If you're getting an inexpensive beater, go for what you like and don't worry about it. You can always change it later.

    Cheers,
    Bob

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    I prefer the rubber. Easy to rinse off, never gets smelly, doesn't pinch hair, etc. As far as the sweating, I've found if you were it 1-latch looser than skin-tight, it allows air to circulate.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic JML's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    You are getting two different kinds of answers. First, generic answers about rubber vs. metal, and then about your particular Luminox.

    The real answer, IMHO, is that it depends on the strap or bracelet itself. Some metal link bracelets are great, and some are poorly designed and built. Same for rubber straps. The old Rolex bracelet had cheap end pieces and a cheap clasp, but the newer bracelets have solid machined and milled steel endpieces and clasps.

    In your situation, I think the rubber strap is a superior choice on the Luminox. Their metal bracelets, at least the several I've seen, are very poorly designed and executed variants of the breed. In particular, the attachment to the watch case (the final link, through which the spring bar goes, and the first small link) is really poorly done. The links all abrade each other, and the final link is simple folded sheetmetal. The Seal watch bracelets are worse than some of their others (the many Luminox watch models are made by different vendors for the importer, who has a license agreement with the Swiss maker of the tritium tubes on the dials and hands -- they're not all done in the same place!). The rubber strap is very thick, and it has a milk chocolate smell (yes, many makers have added a vanilla or chocolate component to their straps, to mask the rubber odor).

    Deployant clasps come in all shapes and styles. The folding clasp used on most metal bracelets is usually a cheap and large stamped-and-folded-steel job. Better ones are milled and machined, if they're part of a metal bracelet. For leather straps, you can get many superb single- and double-fold deployants (some have locking buttons); the advantages of a deployant are that they don't force you to bend the strap to put it on and take it off, so the leather lasts much longer, and you are much less likely to drop the watch when putting it on or taking it off! But it would be difficult to find one to fit the thick Luminox rubber strap.

    The weight in the Luminox metal Seal watches is in the case, not the crystal. The 44 mm case is far larger than that Rolex, but nowhere near as nicely done. That's not a fair comparison!

    The spring bar is always a weak point, unless you get a very rare watch with super-beefy spring bars (some Seikos). Most are one of two thicknesses, and even Rolex spring bars aren't very thick. You can look for watches with screwed-on straps, of course.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?


    Thanks, this is all great info.

    JML, thanks, you make a good point that I asked a generic question, but in reality, perhaps a specific one is what I want.

    I also like the point about it being easier to get a rubber strap later than the OEM metal braclet. In fact, I had this issue with my Rolex. I priced out a replacement braclet and it was 1/4 of what I paid for the watch! (Perhaps not fair since that was 12+ years ago, but still...)

    Anyone have a Luminox Ti w/rubber strap they can weigh?

    Thanks,

    -john

  27. #27

    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    JML: I disagree about the quality of the Luminox metal bracelet... I think it's well made. I'm wearing it now. If you expect a $300 watch to have the same fit and finish as a $7000 watch, I don't know what to say.

    John N: You can buy replacement Luminox bands.

    http://www.lapolicegear.com/luwaba.html

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?


    Frangible,

    I didn't see any rubber bands there listed for the 36xx series. I'm wondering if one of the others is the same one?

    Tom, I really like the Seiko Orange Monster, but it's too bad it doesn't use a saphire crystal.

    -john

  29. #29
    Flashaholic JML's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?

    Well, I just don't think the Luminox bracelet is what it ought to be for the watch's price point, and neither is the machining on the case (I have had the plastic body model for years, and I went through many samples a few years ago before giving up on the stainless model; the ti models I've seen aren't much better). I think the center links also mar the other links where they connect, and I've seen much better bracelet design in the $250-500 range (many Citizen models, for example). The blackened bracelets always show the marks where the color is worn off, and the steel and Ti ones do the same, but it's less obvious.

    One other point: On most watches, the connector link that attaches the bracelet to the case will leave some kind of mark on the case when you take it off, so if that bothers you, get the strap model first (it bugs me to no end!). But it is always cheaper to buy the bracelet and watch together.

    If you can try the watch before you buy, see how the bracelet feels -- you can find these in many places (Sharper Image carries them, or they used to).

    You should also see if you can get the Tracer watch from Europe, without the Luminox logo. Several places carry it, and some US dealers, too. WatchUseek: http://www.watchuseek.com/ and DeutschOptik, in the US, for example. Same watch, slightly different dial, more like the original SandY version. And check out Bill Yao's custom dial and crystal work, at Mark II Watches: http://www.mkiiwatches.com/index.html

    If you want parts, including bracelets and straps, check out the authorized service center, at http://www.easycarts.net/ecarts/Shop...cessories.html

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Watch bands: metal or \"rubber\"?


    Well, I'm thinking about getting the Ti Luminox pretty soon and thought I'd revisit this topic. It occured to me that I should consider straps other than what Luminox provides.

    In particular, I'd like to see more from folks who have put leather, nylon, carbon fiber, kevlar, whatever on their Lumniox watches. How to do you like it? What are the pros and cons?

    Also, can someone indicate what size band needs to be used?

    Thanks,

    -john

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