Strap Check: Rubber B SwimSkin Ballistic On The Omega Seamaster 300
I am seemingly on an endless quest to explore the strap options available for my Omega Seamaster 300. Admittedly, Omega limits the out-of-the-box choices for the new model. You have the stainless-steel bracelet — which is the one to go for — or the leather strap. And that’s it. At least for the previous models, there were two-tone bracelets (rose or yellow gold) and even titanium. But the latest 2021 reference 188.8.131.52.01.001 focuses only on stainless steel or leather. Omega offers a rubber strap option for the Seamaster Diver 300M, but there is none for the heritage-inspired Seamaster 300. While the aftermarket choices are plentiful, despite the awkward 21mm lug width, very few follow the contours of the Seamaster case. Rubber B is one of those few with a bespoke rubber strap option in its SwimSkin range.
It was only recently that I began seeking rubber straps for my Seamaster 300. The 300 was my chosen watch for a family holiday in the Algarve, and I wore it on the bracelet. But another member brought along their Seamaster Diver 300M, which they had switched to the rubber. After some active days, it became apparent that the bracelet may not have been the best choice. Omega’s bracelet is well-machined and has a solid feel — it even has a comfort extension. But there’s no escaping the fear of scratching that bracelet on rocky shores. With rubber, there’s an inherent lightness, and the spongy surface resists the appearance of scratches. It’s also a way to protect the bracelet while still wearing the watch to make memories. I knew I needed something for my next trip to fulfill the task. The problem is that not many good options abound.
Rubber B SwimSkin Jet Black Ballistic
There are plenty of rubber straight-end straps out there. Even the 21mm lug width doesn’t deter aftermarket strap makers from bringing wares to the market. But I couldn’t settle for the straight ends. I found this in my Tudor Black Bay rubber strap review — the gap that a straight end creates is unsightly. A strap molded to the case band’s curvature looks better and reassures the wearer the strap is intended for the watch. At the time, there were few possibilities to own a curved strap for the Seamaster 300. Strapie.Inc on Instagram is one of them. The straps are made to order and suit the watch. The $60 price is also tempting. But I was seeking a more premium product to match the $6,500 Omega Seamaster 300. So, when Rubber B released its bespoke strap for the 300, I knew I had to try it.
Thanks to Ben Rexworthy of Wristworthy UK, I already had a favorable experience with the Rubber B from my Tudor Black Bay review. Ben recently took a deep dive into the options from Rubber B, which you can see in his review here. But for this strap check, I’m testing out a first for me — the Rubber B SwimSkin. The SwimSkin range appears as either alligator leather or Kevlar fabric but is 100% rubber. I must say, the alligator pattern is convincing. Even more so than the faux alligator prints on cheaper calfskin straps with ruching around the “scales.” However, I felt the fabric pattern complements the diving watch more than the alligator. Ordering from the site was a straightforward process, and the strap arrived remarkably soon after. Although, there was one item I had to order in addition to the strap — the buckle.
Buckling under pressure
Rubber B refers to its products as “non-aftermarket”, as the brand aims to give luxury-watch owners a rubber option where no previous choice existed for their model. For this reason, Rubber B builds the straps to mount the customer’s OEM buckles whenever possible. This is why the Rubber B for the Omega Seamaster 300 does not come with a tang buckle. But that only suffices for owners of the leather-strap version. So, I opted for the fine tang buckle in 316L stainless steel without a logo for an additional $45. When it arrived, I had to attach the pin buckle to the strap, which was fine as they were separate orders. The next step was getting it affixed to the case sides, which I found challenging with the Vanguard strap on the Tudor Black Bay.
However, the “blocked integration” with a titanium insert at the lug end makes this Rubber B SwimSkin strap far easier to affix. The shape, which is specific for the watch, allows the end piece to slot in perfectly with the case. With a bit of pressure applied, the strap affixes beautifully, allowing easy access to the shoulders of the spring bars. Once connected, there is no gap or wiggle room at the end, almost like a solid end link. It’s sensational to have that rigidity at a crucial point yet have the comfortable pliability of the rest of the strap. Although, this was specific for my wrist and may differ with other wrist types. You also soon notice how seamless the strap is in comparison to less expensive options. I’ve given it a good lookover and cannot see how Rubber B forms the vulcanized rubber. Only the keepers show a seam line, but even that is brilliantly conceived.
SwimSkin on wrist
For the keepers, Rubber B uses its patented Vulchromatic technology, where the two rubber masses molecularly bond for life. On the dual-colored straps, it’s much easier to notice this technology in action. But even the tiny detail on this strap’s keepers highlights Rubber B’s precision. As expected, the SwmSkin feels fantastic with the watch. There’s an OEM feel in how the strap seems designed specifically for the Seamaster 300. The SkimSkin didn’t make the watch head feel top-heavy at all. It also hugs the wrist without gripping the skin or pulling hairs. I found that this happened with silicone straps where the material is a lint magnet and therefore feels sticky. The inside texture of the SwimSkin is smooth, and when worn at the appropriate strap hole, it doesn’t feel tight. The rubber stitching channels also offer some breathing space for the wrist.
The technical-looking “Ballistic” Kevlar pattern is an excellent combination with such an active watch. It feels as Kevlar would feel, unlike the faux-mesh rubber straps from Breitling. This strap might be my new go-to summer strap for the Omega Seamaster 300. Rubber B makes a great strap and has been doing so for a while. It is also one of the few rubber-strap makers in Switzerland and is a top factory in the luxury industry. These manufacturing processes explain the strap’s $300 price tag, not including the $45 buckle. But it goes to show that an expensive watch deserves something equally high-end. I also appreciate Rubber B utilizing the underside case lip to increase the structural integrity and hide the space left by the bracelet.
You can find more about Rubber B’s strap offerings here. Please let us know your thoughts on this and the brand’s other offerings in the comments.