Among the plastic materials of these watches’ bracelets, different elastomer derivatives (synthetic and natural polymers) are included such as rubber (natural), silicone rubber (synthetic) including PVC and polyurethane (PU).
There are many types of rubbers or elastomers and synthetic and natural combinations, natural rubber, polyethylene, synthetic isoprene, styrene butadiene rubber, nitrile rubber, polychloprene, and silicone.
Natural rubber is obtained from the latex of Heveabrasiliensis. Most rubbers contain chains of carbon polymers. However, silicone rubbers contain silicon in the polymer chains instead of carbon.
Comfort: Very breathable Durability: Very durable Elasticity: Flexible but not elastic
Pure rubber is the best option. It is far better than silicone or other elastomer options as it has far superior levels of durability, comfort and breathability. Usually used in high-end sports watches.
Silicone is a synthetic rubber. It is synthesized by modifying silicon. Silicone is more resistant to heat, chemical attacks, fungal attacks, UV rays and ozone attacks than normal rubber. It has a lower cost so it is usually used in low-cost watches.
There are many types of synthetic rubber in the world. Many of them have been used frequently to make wristwatch straps. Each one is a world unto itself. In this article we will focus on PVC and PU because they are the most common.
It is a very durable thermoplastic vinyl polymer, but lacks elasticity (at least at medium-high levels). This type of strap is present in low-end sports wristwatches. Generally, extreme temperatures quickly break or deteriorate it.
Comfort: It is not a particularly breathable material Durability: Very tough, but has a hard time dealing with extreme temperatures Elastic: Elasticity is not its strong point
They are polymers of great resistance (fire) that are composed of organic units linked by carbamates. They also stand out for their great durability. In addition to the manufacture of wristwatch straps, they are very present in the manufacture of machinery.
Comfort: They do not stand out for their comfort or breathability, When wet, they can become a bit sticky Durability: They are quite durable Elasticity: Not the most elastic option of all available
Other options excel in other areas. PVC or PU are durable, however, they are not exactly characterized by their levels of elasticity or breathability. Among these alternatives, we would always opt for silicone rubber.