Elastomer vs Silicone Straps for Watches - Chronoexpert

Silicone rubber and Elastomers are synthetic compounds that were created to mimic and provide an alternative to the real thing. They have their various strengths and weaknesses and they are considerably cheaper than the all-natural option to wrist watch straps.

Since we cannot attempt to equate both materials because they are far more complicated than actually seem, we will be making our choice by only paying attention to the relevant qualities that each rubber possess.  By relevant qualities, we mean attributes that customers look for in strap before deciding to buy it.

These attributes are comfortability, durability, and elasticity.

Before we dive in, it’s important to mention that most forms of rubbers are Elastomers. Elastomer is the umbrella word that is used to refer to all synthetic and natural polymers that have an elastic nature.

The elastomer in this article refers to all other types or rubbers that aren’t quite natural or silicone. They are rubbers that are mostly industrial but have been also used in the creation of low-end straps.

rubber watch strap
Rubber Watch Strap

Silicone rubber

Silicone rubbers are incredibly customizable multipurpose one part or two-part polymers that are incredibly stable, heat resistant and non-reactive. They are widely used by the manufacturing and beauty industry in the creation of certain products and they can pretty much be used for just about everything.

Comfortability

Flexible and stretchy

Incredibly breathable

Durability

Prone to tears

Elasticity

Very elastic

Elastomers

There are numerous types of synthetic rubber out there that can and have been used to make wrist watch straps. They are all different and have their strength and weaknesses. We will focus on PVC & PU rubber since these are the most common.

 

PVC rubber

This is a thermoplastic vinyl polymer that is very durable but not quite elastic. This type of strap is found on cheaper sports watches and usually break when exposed to extreme conditions.

Comfortability

The material isn’t very breathable

Durability

The rubber is extremely durable but can’t stand extreme weathers.

Elastic

The rubber is not particularly malleable

 

PU rubber

They are fire resistant polymers that are composed of organic units that are attached by carbamate links. They are one of the most durable and loading bearing rubbers out there. They are used in the manufacturing of machinery and they sometimes find their way into the wrist strap market.

Comfortability

They aren’t quite comfortable or breathable

They can often time get sticky when they get wet

Durability

They are quite durable

Elasticity

The material isn’t the most malleable Elastomer out there.

Without question, pure rubber is definitely the material to go with if you want to buckle down and not compromise, but there are other options that aren’t too bad too. Silicone rubber, for example, is quite well rounded but it isn’t as durable as the real thing.

The other types of Elastomers are also fundamentally lacking in some area PVC and PU rubber is quite durable but not breathable or elastic.  

If we had to pick a particular material and recommend it, it would have to be the Silicone rubber. We recommend it because it strikes a balance between comfort and durability and that is very rare for something so inexpensive.  

You cannot afford not to take great care of your watches when you pay over $2000 with every purchase, it’s simply unnatural.

You simply have to make an effort to keep your watches in top shape and this usually entails storing them in the right cabinets, taking them to the watchmaker every once in a while, and most importantly, fitting them with the best watch straps on the market.

Picking out the right kind of strap isn’t as difficult as it used to be. With leather out of the way, choosing a rubber strap should pose no challenge if you know what you are looking for.

The case is pretty open and shut when it comes to choosing the right quality rubber straps. Pure rubber is always the way to go. It’s better than silicones and other elastomers because it’s far more comfortable, durable and breathable than all the other synthetic polymers out there.  But if we had to recommend either Elastomer or Silicone, we recommend silicone.


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