With a series of bank holidays giving a taste of what the summer holidays might be like, at Oracle Time we’re already daydreaming about days at the beach, swimming in the pool, mountaintop hikes and evening garden parties. However, with such a diverse itinerary of summer activities, picking the correct watch strap material for summer is of the utmost importance. Here are some of the options from French Maison Jean Rousseau that you should be considering.
Nubuck is a type of leather finish most commonly seen on bovine leathers that uses buffing to create a velvet like texture. However, Jean Rousseau have developed their own original way to produce a similar velvet texture on alligator leather, creating the Nubuck Alligator strap. Visually it’s stunning as it carries a richness of colour and texture, particularly as the finish is so rare on exotics. Alligator is often reserved for refined occasions such as soirées but the Nubuck finish also helps the strap to be water-repellent, meaning it’s more adventurous than may first appear.
Although, it’s still not a strap you’d want to intentionally swim with for prolonged periods of time or do strenuous activity as the softer surface is more prone to scratches and staining than other finishes.
Pros: Velvet-like texture, water-repellent, classy
Recommended activities: Evening parties, concerts
Price: Coming soon Summer 2023
The soft rubber straps of Maison Jean Rousseau are inspired by the original rubber straps of the 1960s. Rubber was initially introduced as an alternative to steel bracelets and coincided with a time when luxury sports watches were coming into their own and being adopted by top brands like Patek Philippe and Rolex. Jean Rousseau’s soft rubber straps are designed to give any steel watch a casual, sporty elegance without compromising on the quality of the materials.
Durable, easy to maintain and resistant to moisture, they’re great for any number of activities that call on a more casual style or even that call for the occasional bout of sporty athleticism.
Pros: Durable, sporty, comfortable
Recommended activities: Sport, casual events
Example strap: Rubber 3.5 Camel / Intense Black
The Atlantis Alligator made its debut last year and instantly caught our attention as one of the best poolside watch straps around. It has been produced in such a way that it is resistant to colour alteration and avoids physical distortion from being immersed in water, unlike the majority of leather straps. That means it can survive for periods of up to 60 minutes underwater without becoming damaged.
At the same time, its classic alligator style makes it perfectly suited to refined occasions or boardrooms. As such, it’s an incredibly versatile strap perfect for an equally versatile watch, meaning you can head straight from work to the sunny poolside.
Pros: Water resistant, stylish
Recommended activities: Poolside lounging
Example Strap: Atlantis Alligator Blue
Jean Rousseau are first and foremost experts in leather, so it’s no surprise that their Vintage Calf straps are one of their most popular lines. It uses traditional calf leather that’s finish in-house by Jean Rousseau’s artisans in France by applying colours of similar tones to create an authentic patina appearance. The outcome is a strap that looks like it could’ve come straight from the interior of a retro automobile. Due to the hand-crafting process, no two Vintage Calf straps are identical, making each a precious item.
For the summer, they’re a versatile strap suitable for most occasions, particularly those that call for a retro flair or classic style. You could also be more daring and move away from the traditional brown and taupe versions for green or red.
Pros: Versatile, classic
Recommended activities: Garden parties, car shows
Example strap: Vintage Brown Calf
Jean Rousseau’s Textured Rubber straps are found as part of their Atlantis range of water-resistant straps. It makes sense why it’s suitable for use in water because rubber is fully impervious to liquids and won’t absorb any harmful liquids or detritus that might be encountered while swimming. Plus, with its flexibility and grippy surface, it’s one of the more comfortable materials to wear for strenuous activity as it will stay in place on your wrist.
The main downside is the aesthetics. Rubber just doesn’t look as nice as a gorgeous leather or fabric strap, although Jean Rousseau have taken steps to mitigate this by giving it a textured surface that emulates fabric and by offering a wide variety of bright colours that add visual interest.
Pros: Waterproof, durable, sporty
Recommended activities: Swimming, sports
Example strap: Atlantis Rubber Green
The Camouflage Alligator is an interesting alternative to traditional variations of the exotic leather. Jean Rousseau wanted to maintain the unique texture and pattern of the scales while also bringing a modern aesthetic to the material with its streetwear style camouflage design. In order to achieve this, they print the camouflage design and colours directly onto the leather with three to five different shades. This method allows both the natural patterns of the material and the artificial camouflage to be shown to best effect.
Obviously, the main draw of this strap is the unusual combination of colours and patterns with the luxurious material. It makes it ideal for more daring outfits or adventurous get-ups where camo is appropriate, such as the very different activities of attending summer festivals and hiking.
Pros: Pattern, luxury material
Recommended activities: Festivals, hiking
Example strap: Alligator Camouflage Black
Cordura is a material that many of us will be familiar with but won’t necessarily know the name of. It’s the nylon or cotton material that many sports accessories are made from, particularly bags and rucksacks. It’s particularly noted for its durability, light weight and resistant properties, which makes it resilient to abrasions, scratching and tearing. That means it’s ideal for all those summer sporting activities you’re planning. Jogging, hiking, tennis, anything except swimming for the most part.
Aesthetically, it suits those darker, sporty colours like black and blue. It definitely leans into a more casual style as well with its technical appearance and texture. Cordura is also an incredibly versatile material when it comes to the styles of strap it can be used to produce, with the more adventurous options being the Compass and Nato designs.
Pros: Light weight, durable, multiple styles
Recommended activities: Sports, sailing
Example strap: Harrods NATO Blue Cordura
Denim Seaqual is a new sustainable material being added to Jean Rousseau’s collections this summer, made of plastic collected in the Mediterranean Sea. Specifically, it’s made from 35% recycled polyester, 35% recycled cotton and 30% polyester Seaqual, which means that it’s made from 100% recycled sources. The polyester seaqual portion of that composition refers to plastics that have been recovered from the world’s seas and oceans as part of global conservation and waste management projects.
Aesthetically it has the appearance of denim and is available in dark green or brown. This is an exciting development for watch straps and the watch industry in general as promoting sustainability is always important. Plus, it introduces new textures and colours which is a great bonus too.
Pros: Sustainable, durable
Recommended activities: Beach combing
Price: Coming soon Summer 2023