While the case, dial, and bezel arguably draw the most attention, a Rolex watch’s look is not complete without its bracelet or strap. In fact, we’d venture to say that switching out a strap changes the look of a Rolex watch completely. That’s not necessarily true with other parts of the watch.
Rolex takes its straps and bracelets very seriously. It is not an afterthought but rather an integral part of their famous timepieces. For instance, the Rolex Day-Date’s famous nickname is the “President” in part because of its bracelet. The other part is because it’s the go-to luxury watch of countless political and business leaders.
Here is the Ultimate Guide for Rolex Bracelets, Bands, and Straps.
Rolex Bracelets, Bands, Straps, and More
Speak to any Rolex fan and they’ll tell you how comfortable and well-made most Rolex bracelets and bands are. Additionally, not only does Rolex continuously improve upon the bracelets they already have, but the company also introduces new ones. Rolex unveiled a completely new bracelet, the Oysterflex, just two years ago. Such an important timepiece component deserves some attention, so sit back, strap in, and read our ultimate guide to Rolex bracelets, bands, and straps.
The Rolex Oyster Bracelet
We’ll start with the most ubiquitous Rolex bracelet — the Oyster bracelet. Characterized by its flat three-piece links construction, this is the most varied of the bracelet bunch. It is the bracelet of choice of famous Rolex sports watches like the Submariner and the Daytona, as well as, quintessential dress watches like the Datejust and Oyster Perpetual and plenty in between.
In addition to being the most widespread Rolex band, the Oyster bracelet is also the most diverse. It’s available in a slew of materials. You can have it in rugged 904L stainless steel, two-tone Rolesor, solid 18k gold, and even 950 platinum. Plus, the gold choices include all three colors: 18k yellow, 18k white, and 18k Everose rose gold.
Of course, there are also different sizes of the Oyster bracelet depending on the watch. From the smaller Lady-Datejust timepieces to the larger GMT-Master pilot watches to the jumbo Deepsea dive watches, the versatile Oyster bracelet is always a great fit.
The Oyster bracelet here is made of stainless steel.
Also dependent on the model, the Oyster bracelet comes equipped with a range of clasps. The Oyster Perpetual 39 includes a straightforward Oysterclasp. On the other hand, Oyster bracelets on current Datejust, Milgauss, Air-King, and Sky-Dweller include a folding Oysterclasp with the Easylink 5mm extension system.
GMT-Master II, Daytona, Yacht-Master, Yacht-Master II, Explorer I, and Explorer II have a folding Oysterlock clasp with the Easylink 5mm extension system. What’s the difference between the Oysterclasp and Oysterlock? Aesthetically, the former has the Rolex cornet embossed into the clasp whereas the latter includes the coronet as part of the opening mechanism. Technically, the Oysterclasp is constructed with a folding clasp with a cover while the Oysterlock is built with a folding safety clasp, a cover, and a safety catch.
Rolex’s dive watches — Submariner, Sea-Dweller, and Deepsea — have even more comprehensive Oyster bracelets to accommodate a wet suit. The Submariner’s Oyster bracelet has a folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system, which permits adjusting in 2mm intervals for a total lengthening of 20mm. The Sea-Dweller and the Deepsea have the same, in addition to the Fliplock extension system, thus allowing the bracelet to extend by 27mm.
The Rolex Jubilee Bracelet
Dressier than the Oyster bracelet, the Jubilee bracelet made its debut in 1945 on the then-new Datejust timepiece. Its five-piece links construction includes three thinner interior links flanked by larger links. These two different link sizes are especially noticeable on two-tone Rolesor versions when the interior links are in yellow or Everose rose gold.
The Jubilee bracelet is very supple, making it a highly comfortable Rolex bracelet to wear. Although vintage Rolex sports watches, such as the GMT-Master and the Daytona, were once available with a Jubilee bracelet, these days Rolex reserves the Jubilee bracelet for Datejust models in every size. Depending on the Datejust metal, the Jubilee bracelet is made in steel, two-tone, and solid gold. There are even some Jubilee bracelets that flaunt fine diamonds.
The Jubilee is most commonly found on the Datejust.
The Jubilee bracelet is fitted with a concealed folding Crownclasp, which has a Rolex coronet lever that opens the bracelet to reveal folding blades. The concealment of the clasp allows the intricate pattern of the Jubilee links to run seamlessly.
The Rolex President Bracelet
The Rolex President bracelet was first introduced on the inaugural Day-Date watch in 1956. Its signature semi-circular three-piece links are instantly recognizable and highly sought-after. Rolex only ever produces the President bracelet in precious metals, never in steel. There are yellow, white, and rose gold, as well as, platinum versions of the President bracelet. For ultra-lavishness, there are also some diamond President bracelets available too.
The President bracelet is exclusive to all Day-Date watches—Day-Date 36, Day-Date 41, and Day-Date 40—as well as some precious metal Lady-Datejust models. Those particular Lady-Datejust watches with President bracelets also carry the Lady President name.
The President bracelet is a beautiful bracelet for its all gold construction.
Over the years, Rolex made some noteworthy versions of the President bracelet including the Tridor variety where the center links had a mix of three shades of gold. For a short time in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Rolex also manufactured some President bracelets with bark-like accents on the center links.
Similar to Jubilee, the famous President bracelets are always fastened with a concealed folding Crownclasp. Again, this allows for the beautifully curvy bracelet links to wrap around one’s wrist without interruption from a bulky clasp.
The Rolex Integrated Bracelets
In 1977, Rolex presented a range of Oysterquartz watches that ran on in-house quartz calibers. In addition to the distinct angular case shapes of the Oysterquartz Datejust and Oysterquartz Day-Date watches, another fundamental design element of these unique Rolex quartz watches were their bracelets.
The Oysterquartz also has a unique bracelet called the “Integrated” bracelet.
True to the fashion of the era, Oysterquartz watches have integrated bracelets that taper towards the clasp. A truly unforgettable look, these bracelets are really fantastic. But even more clever, is how Rolex took their classic bracelet designs—Oyster, Jubilee, and President—and revamped them into the integrated style.
The stainless steel integrated Oyster bracelet, two-tone integrated Jubilee bracelet, and solid gold integrated President bracelet were designed close enough to the original bracelets to bear the same names, yet modified enough to give the Oysterquartz watches their singular style.
Interesting editions of the President integrated bracelet for the Oysterquartz Day-Date watches are those with the intricate pyramid patterns.
The Pearlmaster Bracelet
Rolex launched the Pearlmaster bracelet in 1992 for the Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster watches. The Pearlmaster is Rolex’s collection of lavish jewelry watches where diamonds and other gems adorn the dial, bezel, bracelet, or all of the above.
Rolex made another bracelet specifically for the Pearlmaster.
Distinguished by their rounded five-piece links, all Pearlmaster bracelets are exclusively in 18k gold, whether in yellow, white, or Everose. Diamond versions range from a pair of diamond-set links to full diamond pavé styles. Securing the Pearlmaster bracelet in place is also the concealed folding Crownclasp.
The Rolex Leather Strap
Though Rolex is most famous for their metal bracelets, the Swiss watchmaking giant certainly has made their fair share of leather straps too. In fact, early Rolex models came with leather straps including vintage Oyster watches. The advent of Rolex tool watches, however, — Explorer, Submariner, Milgauss, and GMT-Master — brought about the dominance of metal bracelets in the Rolex Oyster catalog. On the other hand, as their more traditional dress watch, Rolex Cellini watches often wear leather straps — even today.
In the early 2000s, Rolex revealed some special white gold Daytona models with colorful dials and even more colorful leather straps. Dubbed the “Daytona Beach” collection, these vibrant chronographs donned pink, turquoise, green, and yellow exotic leather straps.
There is an assortment of modern Rolex watches with leather straps such as the Sky-Dweller, Daytona, Day-Date, and Datejust. The Day-Date 36 with leather is yet another collection of colorful dial and leather combinations including green, blue, Bordeaux and chocolate. Completing these leather straps are matching gold folding Crownclasp buckles for easy adjusting and optimal security.
Rolex recently replaced all leather Daytona watches with another style of bracelet, the Oysterflex.
The Rolex Oysterflex Bracelet
The newest Rolex bracelet to join the catalog, the Oysterflex is the brand’s version of a rubber strap. Making its debut on the Everose Yacht-Master in 2015, the Oysterflex may look like an ordinary black rubber strap. But of course, it isn’t.
First, Rolex insists on calling it a bracelet rather than a strap. This is because of its unique construction. The proprietary Oysterflex actually begins as a titanium and nickel metal alloy blade. That metal blade is then coated in black elastomer. This clever combination means the Oysterflex is both robust like metal yet flexible like rubber.
The Oysterflex is the latest release on watch straps, first for the Yacht-Master then the Daytona.
Flip the Oysterflex bracelet over and you’ll find a patented cushion system that resembles fins. This detail allows for much-needed air circulation to keep the sweatiness typically associated with rubber straps at bay.
When the Oysterflex first launched, it was only available on the Everose Yacht-Master 40 and Everose Yacht-Master 37. However, as of just this year, the Oysterflex bracelet is also an option on yellow, white, and Everose gold Daytona models. As previously mentioned, the Oysterflex Daytona watches have replaced the leather Daytona models.
Finishing off the Oysterflex bracelets are matching gold Oysterlock safety clasps along with the 5mm Easylink extension system.
As we’ve illustrated, the bracelet style is such a significant part of the look and feel of a Rolex watch. You can opt for sporty Oyster, dressy Jubilee, or prestigious President. There’s also the precious Pearlmaster, the classic leather, and the innovative Oysterflex. Similar to cases and movements, Rolex dedicates an enormous amount of research and development to their bracelets too. And it clearly shows when you put one of them on!
Which is your favorite Rolex bracelet? Let us know in the comments section below.