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The Straps and Bracelets on Rolex Watches

Today we are talking all about Rolex their bracelets and straps. the unsung heroes of these iconic timepieces. You know Rolex, right? They're the big boys in the watch game, pulling in a whopping €11.4 billion in yearly revenue! Wristwatches are nowhere without their strap or bracelet. That is why we want to tell you something about all the different kinds of bracelets we have seen in the Rolex catalogue around the years. From the classis Oyster bracelet to the rugged jubilee bracelet, and even the lesser known pearlmaster bracelet!

Oyster Bracelet: The first bracelet in the Rolex catalogue?

Back in the day, watches did not come on metal bracelets. The same goes for Rolex their watches. These only came on leather of textile straps. This changed in the 1930’s. From then on Rolex offered their costumers an optional metal bracelet. These metal bracelets were a costly add-on, and were not even Rolex their own bracelets. These bracelets were produced by a manufacturer called Gay Frères, and costed nearly half the price of the standalone watch! Gay Frères was also known for later on making the original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak bracelet, and the hollow-link bracelet on the Zenith El Primero. 

The Oyster bracelet is also called the three link bracelet. This bracelet is a more sporty bracelet than some others in the Rolex catalogue, and is produced in steel and precious metals. The Oyster bracelet can be found in almost all Rolex models, except for the Daydate and Cellini. While the predecessor of the oyster bracelet was produced by Gay Frères, they are seen as the first bracelet that Rolex watches were offered on. These bracelets got patented by Rolex in February 1947 and since then house the name Oyster bracelet.

Jubilee Bracelet: the 40th anniversary of Rolex

Rolex was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf. It was only 40 years later when Rolex launched their possibly most popular bracelet as of today, the Jubilee bracelet. The this bracelet houses this name because it was launched for the 40th jubilee of Rolex and was paired with the launch of the Datejust in 1945. The jubilee is also called the five link bracelet. The jubilee is recognizable by the matte finished outer parts of the link, and the glossy middle parts of the links. The jubilee is offered on a variety of watches in the Rolex catalogue. First and foremost it is found on the Datejust, but it is also seen on some sportier models, like the GMT.

There are some varieties of the Jubilee bracelet. There is a so-called ‘Super Jubilee’. This is a jubilee bracelet with instead of the regular clasp, a hidden fold clasp. Very slick and subtle if you ask me. There is also an even rarer variant of the Jubilee bracelet, that is still technically a Jubilee bracelet, this is the Pearlmaster bracelet. The Pearlmaster bracelet is still officially a 5 link bracelet, but whats different from the normal jubilee, this one is only found in precious metals, and comes on the Pearlmaster Datejusts and Daydates. Rolex Pearlmasters often have diamond- set links, dials or even cases, and a MOP dial. The Pearlmaster bracelet also has a hidden fold clasp.

President’s Bracelet: a nickname that got adopted

The president’s bracelet is a more luxurious variant of the jubilee style bracelet. In 1956 Rolex decided to launch a watch that did not only have a date window, but could also tell you the day of the week. This ended up being the Rolex Day Date. The Rolex Day Date had to be a premium alternative to the Datejust and thus was only seen in precious metals. 

The same goes for the President bracelet, it is only seen in yellow, white, or rose gold and platinum. The Rolex Day Date was a watch that was worn by many U.S. presidents, including Nixon, Reagan, Trump and many more. The bracelet on the Day Date was so recognizable that people started to call the bracelet the president’s bracelet. Rolex later adopted this name and now officially calls it that in their brochure.

Oysterflex Bracelet: Innovation Wrapped in Comfort

In 2015 Rolex decided to finally fulfill a wish of their customers. There was demand for a more comfortable and sporty alternative to the metal bracelets that Rolex offered in their catalogue. Their answer was a rubber strap. This was not just a rubber strap, but it turned out to be the beloved Oysterflex bracelet. When looking at it in a glimpse it might look like an ordinary rubber strap, but Rolex wouldn’t be Rolex of they had not upped their watchstrap game. 

The Oysterflex has some features that differ from regular rubber straps. The rubber outer-layer houses an inner nickel-titanium strip for extra durability. On the inside of the rubber there are is also some patterning for extra airflow to decrease the change of sweating and itchiness. The first time the Oystyerflex was fitted on a watch was in 2015, on the first Everose gold Yacht-Master. To this day the Oysterflex has only been fitted on the Yacht-Master, Daytona and Sky-Dweller. Many are still hoping for the Submariner and Sea-Dweller to be fitted on a Oysterflex once aswell.

A Leather Strap: Back in the day

Before any of Rolex their watches ever been fitted on metal bracelets, leather straps were the way to go. The older models before the 1930’s only came on leather straps, with metal buckle’s, pretty plain and simple. The problem with leather straps is that they don’t last you a lifetime, like metal bracelets do, and therefore get switched with new aftermarket straps. This is the reason that original vintage leather Rolex straps are almost impossible to find. They are also fitted on newer models. These are the Rolex Cellini watches, and since 2023 it also comes on the Rolex 1908. This is the only watch in Rolex their current catalogue to come on a leather strap. The newer leather strap does not have a regular buckle like the older ones, but a fold clasp.

Final Thoughts: Celebrating Rolex's Bracelet Legacy

Time for resume. We've taken quite the journey through the world of Rolex bracelets and straps. From the early days when watches rocked leather or fabric straps to the game-changing innovations like the Oyster and Jubilee bracelets, Rolex has kept us on our toes. Who would've thought a simple metal accessory could tell such a rich story? But let's not forget the President's bracelet, a symbol of luxury and power worn by U.S. presidents and watch enthusiasts alike. And then there's the Oysterflex, blending comfort with durability in a way only Rolex could. And let's give a nod to the OG leather straps, still holding their own in a world of metal and rubber. They may not last a lifetime, but they've got a charm that's hard to resist. So here's to Rolex and their timeless bracelets, each one a chapter in the epic saga of watchmaking. Whether you're sporting an Oyster or rocking a Jubilee, one thing's for sure: your wrist game is on point with Rolex.

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