You don’t have to be a diver to appreciate a rubber strap. A sporty look and added wearing comfort in hot weather are things sought after even by those who don’t like to get their feet wet. Most of these straps, however, are solid pieces of rubber. They function fine, but the looks are sometimes not completely what you desire. Hence the solution, a custom made strap by Jean Rousseau crafted out of……rubber!
The idea that Jean Rousseau had was as brilliant as it is simple. Instead of using exclusive leathers, they use a thin layer of rubber. This way they can craft the strap in the traditional, artisan way but with the contemporary rubber look. This also allows you to play more with the colors used in the strap. For this review we had a strap created to match a perfect summer watch, TAG Heuer’s Aquagraph. The black dial was matched up with black rubber, while the yellow from the Aquagraph hands were reflected in the yellow stitching. For the lining we went with a brown calf. Perhaps an unusual choice, but it gives you the wearing comfort of a regular strap combined with the look of rubber. It also eliminates the sweaty feeling you get while wearing a rubber strap in warm weather. Since the TAG Heuer, like most dive watches, serves more as a desk diver anyway, it seems to be a perfect choice.
Scene for the test was the amazing city of Chicago. Although the city really can hold its own it can probably best be described as a smaller version of New York City, only cleaner and with the more relaxed Midwest atmosphere. When preparing for this review we could not have hoped for the generous contributions that Mother Nature did to this test. With temperatures that reached 103F/39.4C there was no denying that it was indeed summer. Temperatures like this are hard for the land and the living, but had no effect on this strap. Moisture was generously absorbed by the lining without staining or other side effects, and ensured a very high degree of wearing comfort.
Although hot weather like this can be a burden, life goes on especially in a city like Chicago. When moving around quite a bit, especially in warm weather, it is important that your watch stays secure on the same place of your wrist. This is especially a necessity for the Aquagraph. This watch uses a modular movement; ETA’s caliber 2892 is fitted with a special module created by Dubois-Depraz that adds the chronograph- and am/pm-function. As a result of this the crown is positioned very low on the case, and therefore very close to the wrist. If the watch starts moving up and down on the wrist a lot, this will almost guarantee discomfort for its owner.
Another great advantage of this type of rubber strap is that it adds more of a high-end feeling and look to the watch. Yes, it is still rubber so it looks very sporty and goes great with a wide variety of casual attire, but the opposite is also true. A lot of men enjoy these days wearing larger sports watches with more formal attire. Also the Aquagraph loves to be taken out for dinner and drinks. With this type of rubber strap it becomes more of a refined statement when enjoying such surroundings. Less Rocky, more James Bond.
Overall this rubber strap was more then a pleasant surprise! Basically it is the strap that gives it all; the sporty look of rubber but refined enough to serve on a wide variety of social functions while offering the wearing comfort of a high end, hand made strap. Don’t let the looks fool you; this strap is completely made by hand and can be modified to meet your exact needs and specifications. At the end of the day, when the sun goes down, and the temperatures are slightly more bearable, this is still what defines pure luxury: a hand crafted, high end product created to suit your, and only your, personal needs and wishes. The highest tier in ultimate rubber strap luxury!
This rubber strap, and many other high end, handmade straps can be found here at Atelier Jean Rousseau