Because: The costs for a metal strap “ex works” are limited, and the subsequent purchase is often disproportionately more expensive. Especially with brands like Rolex, Tudor, Omega & Co. They like to ask for high three to four-digit amounts for their original replacement bracelets. Buying or changing a Rolex bracelet Rolex Replications is anything but fun financially. Which, by the way, always leads to wide-eyed and astonished customers (loyal to the brand). Therefore: When it comes to luxury watches, it is best to buy them with a metal strap. What you have, you have 🙂
The situation is different when buying vintage and used watches. You can often find them without a metal/steel bracelet – and then at a correspondingly good price.
Of course you hit it. After all, it’s primarily about the watch itself – less about the accessories. In short: a steel strap is a nice “nice to have” for vintage and used watches, but not a “must have”. At least that is my rule, which I have applied to both my vintage Rolex Precision (Ref. 6694) and the newer Tudor Black Bay (Ref. 79220N, 41 mm). I bought both without the metal band. Simply because the prices were right and I didn’t want to miss them.
Change Rolex strap – new strap, new look
But what if at some point you decide that a steel bracelet would be really sexy? Finally, it significantly changes the look of a watch and brings a whole different style to the wrist:
Well, then you face the same problem: Buying a Rolex bracelet later is simply (too) expensive.
What remains? Either you look for a used original strap (in the case of Rolex, they still achieve amazingly high prices – see ebay (partner link) – or you look for identical and so-called aftermarket replacement straps. They are many times cheaper.
And at this point at the latest it is clear: This article is not for all those for whom the original condition of a watch is sacred down to the last spring bar (please stop reading now – it only raises your blood pressure ;)). It is intended more for those who like to try something out and take a more relaxed view of the whole thing with the original Rolex bracelet. The advantage of this approach: You can save a lot of money.
As I said, if you don’t like experiments and absolutely want to pay high three to four-digit amounts… well, you can do that. For everyone else, the following tips & experiences are 🙂
Original tape vs. aftermarket fake watches uk
Which band is original, which isn’t – can you tell at first glance? – Well, I already mentioned it above. The Tudor Black Bay (left) and Rolex Precision (right) have each received an upgrade. Both in the form of a matching Oyster bracelet. However, the two replacement straps do not come from Rolex and Tudor. Rather, I bought it in the online shop Strapcode for around 100 euros (Tudor Black Bay) and on ebay (partner link) for around 50 euros (Rolex Precision). And I have to say that, apart from a few minor teething problems, I am generally satisfied and positively surprised by these aftermarket tapes. They can easily compete with the original strap of my Rolex Sea-Dweller (centre).fake watches uk
So let’s take a closer look at the two tapes. We’ll start with my vintage Rolex from the 70’s.
New watch strap: Rolex Oysterdate Precision (Ref. 6694)
It is the second update that my “small” Rolex Oysterdate Precision (34 mm) has received. After I gave her a new Plexiglas from Watchparts24.de / Ernst Westphal (Sponsored Link) last year, now a new steel bracelet (19 mm) that I found on ebay (partner link) from a seller in the USA.fake watches uk
And before I come to my personal impressions and tips, first a few photos and impressions:
Original vs. aftermarket – how exactly does it fit?fake watches uk
Let’s start with the most important thing: the fit of this 19mm band. It is definitely given. However, you have to bend the small “wings” of the end links (see below. Lugs/underside of the watch), which are made of tin like an original vintage Rolex bracelet, before inserting them. This can easily be done with a small pair of pliers. Try it out a bit, then it fits:
If you take a closer look at the pictures, you will see that you could still rework/bend the “horns” or case/bezel so that everything is 100 percent flush and perfect:
For my purposes, that’s enough – I’m quite tolerant. Especially at the price. In addition, the not quite perfect gap dimensions are only noticeable at second glance and in such macro shots. If you wear the watch on your arm and look at it from above, you won’t see it. However, if you are more pedantic, you will most likely not be satisfied with it. – But it should also be said that an old and original Rolex bracelet made of sheet metal does not necessarily fit better – after all these decades. They also have considerable gaps here and there 🙂
Material: solid vs. sheet metal fake watches uk
This brings us to the second point: the rounded lugs and buckle (16 mm) are “hollow” and made of light sheet metal, whereas the links themselves are made of solid steel. Finely brushed on the top and bottom, polished on the sides. And that in remarkable quality. It definitely doesn’t look cheap.
As far as wearing comfort is concerned, I can give this band a straight A. It’s just fun to wear the small Rolex Precision (finally!) on a steel bracelet. It not only changes the look, but also the wearing comfort. And for the better. I don’t know why I didn’t try this sooner…
What else you should know: Many vintage Rolex watches originally had straps made entirely of folded sheet metal – aka “rattle straps”. Often recognizable by their riveted sides. This made them nice and light, but unfortunately very prone to (decent) stretching – the famous Rolex stretch (see also: Rolex Stretch Repair – rescue for Jubilee bracelets). In this respect, every steel bracelet with solid links is an upgrade. So also in this case.
Shorten & adjust bracelet
Let’s get down to shortening the bracelet: It went smoothly thanks to the built-in strap screws (like the original). All you need is a suitable screwdriver. And I also have little to complain about the micro adjustment of the clasp. The bracelet can be optimally adjusted to the wrist with it:
Conclusion & other tips:
You can tell I’m pretty impressed by this ebay bargain from the USA. I mean, 50 fake breitling watches euros for a band that fits (almost) the first time (“bend wings”), is easy to shorten/adjust and is extremely comfortable to wear. What more do you want? – Well, you have to do without the status symbol of a Rolex crown on the clasp. That’s it! And so, from my point of view, there is absolutely nothing against such an aftermarket band. Unless you have a pronounced “original band fetish”, a certain craving for recognition or simply have the money ;)fake watches uk
Now not every one of you will have a Rolex Precision and want to order it on ebay abroad. So another alternative from Germany: At Watchparts24.de (Sponsored Link) you can get various straps compatible with Rolex (Oyster, Jubilee, President) in different price categories.
Here some examples:
All you have to do is make sure that you really order the right strap for your watch. It’s easy to get confused at Rolex. So pay close attention to the reference/year of manufacture, lug width (19 or 20 mm), end links (solid vs. sheet metal – research the number if necessary), the correct clasp (solid or sheet metal, width etc.) and how the straps are polished/polished are brushed – including the sides. And it’s better to ask again or take a second look. Then nothing stands in the way of enjoying a new replacement strap for your watch.fake watches uk
The prices – for bargain hunters & discerning bargain hunters
You can find the slightly more expensive and higher quality straps (Made in Europe) at Watchparts24.de (sponsored link) and on ebay (partner link). The same applies to the cheaper versions here (ebay partner link) and here (sponsored link). But not for long, they will probably be phased out soon.