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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
if I don't wear it? I was thinking of getting a couple rubber straps now, while I can get my hands on them just to keep as back ups. Just in case something can't be easily had in the future. These will be for my keeper watches...my MM300 and my Bremont. If I keep them in a drawer will they last forever or will they deteriorate just as if I had worn them? Opinions wanted. Am I crazy? I'd hate to be in a position in 10 or so years when I can't get replacement stock rubber for some of my prized watches. I don't think the MM is natural rubber, but I still don't see it lasting forever. What do you think?
 

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The MM strap is polyethylene strap that holds up pretty well over time, but of course they're a lot stiffer than natural rubber. My guess is that as a plastic it would degrade less over the years when compared to a rubber strap. I'm no expert on natural rubber, but I've owned a lot of scuba gear and watch straps made from the material over the years. UV light is the biggest enemy that I've found, and heat will do a number on rubber as well. So if you keep them in a dark, cool place, you should get a long life out of them. Oxygen does degrade rubber as it ages, but that process is much slower than light/heat/stress. Perhaps if you want to store them long term, you could place them in one of those vacuum sealed bags to further extend the lifespan.
 

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The MM strap is polyethylene strap that holds up pretty well over time, but of course they're a lot stiffer than natural rubber. My guess is that as a plastic it would degrade less over the years when compared to a rubber strap. I'm no expert on natural rubber, but I've owned a lot of scuba gear and watch straps made from the material over the years. UV light is the biggest enemy that I've found, and heat will do a number on rubber as well. So if you keep them in a dark, cool place, you should get a long life out of them. Oxygen does degrade rubber as it ages, but that process is much slower than light/heat/stress. Perhaps if you want to store them long term, you could place them in one of those vacuum sealed bags to further extend the lifespan.
I am no expert either, but I do know that during a sit down with Maltilde Bonetto at Basel watch fair, I asked about " Natural " rubber vs the rest. She laughed and pointed out that natural rubber is a myth for watch straps as they could not be worn well, and she could not work it well.
Sure, its rubber, but it is a compound of rubber with other things in it to make it what it is.
As for scuba gear Gabe, I owned some bits back in the day, that was ( I believe ) natural rubber and it never did last more than 3 or 4 years before splitting, though to be fair I was never one for washing down and storing well.
So for watch straps, I don't know, but I think a good source would be the lady herself, Miss Bonetto.
 

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Coat them with talc and store in the cool dark place that Gabe suggested, don't know how long they will last but that is probably the best way to find out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the tips guys. I guess I will just put some in a drawer and take my chances.
 

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I agree that probably none of the stuff we're talking about is truly natural rubber. Basically it's just a rubber compound that we call "rubber" since it's not silicone or a plastic like polyethylene. Like tires and lots of other rubber objects, the compound is crucial to getting the right combination of flexibility and durability.


I am no expert either, but I do know that during a sit down with Maltilde Bonetto at Basel watch fair, I asked about " Natural " rubber vs the rest. She laughed and pointed out that natural rubber is a myth for watch straps as they could not be worn well, and she could not work it well.
Sure, its rubber, but it is a compound of rubber with other things in it to make it what it is.
As for scuba gear Gabe, I owned some bits back in the day, that was ( I believe ) natural rubber and it never did last more than 3 or 4 years before splitting, though to be fair I was never one for washing down and storing well.
So for watch straps, I don't know, but I think a good source would be the lady herself, Miss Bonetto.
 

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Elastomers.

The more correct name for the whole group of "rubbers"
 

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I believe Natural rubber refers to latex? Am I incorrect? I was under the impression that natural rubbers are more durable than synthetic but more costly to produce.
 

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Natural rubber that has not been vulcanized is what latex refers to. Rubber, like your car tires, rubber gaskets, and straps is vulcanized rubber.

Natural rubber is actually cheaper that some synthetic elastomers.

It's weakness are - ozone (aging), hydrocarbons (fuels,oils, etc) and gas impermeability.

Everyone always touts Viton as a superior rubber, especially for seals, but Viton (a fluorocarbon rubber) has worse performance in rebound, tear strength and abrasion resistance compared to natural rubber as well as it is more expensive. It makes up for these drawbacks by being much better at resisting aging and fluorocarbons.
 
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