The New Isofrane
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  1. #1
    DOXA Forum Moderator subkrawler's Avatar
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    The New Isofrane

    A few weeks ago, member "alexkarbo" posted a thread wondering what was up with http://www.isofrane.com/. It piqued my interest because last year, I'd heard a rumor that Isofrane may be making a comeback. Since hearing, I was hoping they would make a return, as I've been looking for a high quality, non-silicone, vintage-inspired strap to mate to my vintage Aquadive Model 50.

    Using a bit of "moderator magic" I was able to contact Isofrane to see if I could get some samples to review for you guys, and to test for myself. They were very responsive and sent two straps with the three buckles that they'll be offering. Their first model strap is a PloProf style(for lack of a better term) but if you're familiar with vintage divers, other makers used the same style too. They did tell me that there will be other models/styles available soon, so it sounds like there will be lots to look forward to from Isofrane.

    Now just so we're clear, this review is completely uninfluenced by "feebies", discounts etc. While these straps and buckles were sent to me free of charge, I will be returning them as soon as the review is complete.

    So let's start with the specs supplied to me by Isofrane.

    Length (buckle half): 101.6mm
    Length (long half): 131.8mm
    Thickness at lug: 5.5mm
    Thickness at end: 3.7mm
    Width at lug: 24mm (22mm and 20mm coming soon)
    Width at end: 22mm
    Country of origin for straps: Italy
    Country of origin for buckles: Germany
    Color: Black (with blue and orange planned for the future)

    Now for the pics. The two watches in my collection with 24mm lugs, are a Korsbek Oceaneer, and the vintage Aquadive that I already mentioned. I knew as soon as I took the straps out of the box, that they'd be perfect for the Aquadive. However, I wasn't sure if the retro style would work well with a more modern design like the Korsbek. After putting them on the Korsbek, my concerns were over. Vintage or modern, I think these these straps work very well.



    If you'll notice in the pic above, there are two buckle styles, the squared and the rounded. The squared comes in a brushed finish, and a polished finish. The rounded comes in a satin, bead-blasted finish. All buckles are stainless steel, signed "Isofrane" with the squared being signed on the underside, and the rounded being signed on the top. They're thick, solid, very well finished, secured with a screw, and definitely built for the long haul. I'm extremely impressed.

    Brushed buckle........




    Polished buckle........


    Satin blasted buckle........


    Back of straps showing a light, ribbed texture and "Isofrane/Made in Italy"


    Now for the tests. My first test was on a Viking Pro HD vulcanized rubber dry suit, and using the Oceaneer. My wrists are 7" and I was wearing a PolarTec 300 fleece undergarment. The strap is on the third to last hole, so I'm happy with that.




    Next, I tested it on a Rubatex G-231N "Blown Nitrogen" 3mm wetsuit with cuff zippers. This suit proved thicker than just a standard 5mm, so I went with it instead. Again a great fit, and I was wearing the strap on the 5th to last hole.


    Like I said, my wrists are 7" and more flat than round, so hopefully these photos will give you guys a decent idea of how the straps will wear. Naturally, the lug to lug distance of different watches will slightly change the fit, but I think this is a good baseline for determining whether these straps will work for you.





    Overall, I'm very impressed with the entire package and can't really find anything wrong. The rubber compound that Isofrane has chosen is quite possibly the best that I've encountered, and I have an IWC, DOXAs, Hirsch Extremes, and a Tropic(silicone as well as a vintage). The material is very comfortable and feels good on the wrist. It's not too stiff, has an ample amount of stretch, but isn't so soft that it feels cheap...it's just right. The molding is crisp and virtually perfect, with the molding lines very difficult to see. Since these are not silicone, they're not lint magnets, so they stay looking clean. Really, I don't know if there is much more that I can convey here on the forum, but once you have them in hand, you'll know what I mean. They exude quality.

    Pricing, as I was told, would be around $100 for the strap featuring the rounded buckle, and around $120 for the squared, regardless of finish. Isofrane is ready to go, as they have ample stock of straps and buckles, but they're still waiting on the packaging to be completed. They're so concerned about quality, that they're even having the packaging made in Germany. Now that's what I'm talking about.

    For now, they told me to just keep checking the website, as the launch could be any day now. Once the site is live, direct purchasing will be available. If there is anything that I've neglected to cover, you guys let me know. If I don't know, I'll do my best to find out.
    Last edited by subkrawler; January 31st, 2010 at 06:54. Reason: repaired web link
    "The most beautiful objects are those built for purpose. Few things are more thrilling than the unrestrained use of tools most have mistaken for luxuries" -unknown

  2. #2
    Member Cowbiker's Avatar
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    Re: The New Isofrane

    Ty

    Thanks for the review and the great pix!

    Cheers,

    Sean
    Last edited by Cowbiker; January 31st, 2010 at 00:34.
    “Watch fanatic? Hardly, I’m more of a watch strap junkie that owns a couple watches.”

  3. #3
    Member Nalu's Avatar
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    Re: The New Isofrane

    One of the most interesting, and welcome, things to me about the Isofrane straps is how they've managed to exactly recreate the 'pebbled' finish of the originals.
    "Deeds, not words, shall speak me." - John Fletcher

  4. #4
    DOXA Forum Moderator subkrawler's Avatar
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    Re: The New Isofrane

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowbiker View Post
    Ty

    Thanks for the review and the great pix!

    Cheers,

    Sean
    Sean,

    From the way I understand it, literally any day now. The only thing they're waiting for, is the packaging. Since that is out of their manufacturing control, they're reluctant to get very specific about release dates.

    Once they have the packaging, they'll immediately launch the site, and start taking and filling orders. For example, if the packaging were to arrive on a Monday, the site could go live by that Wednesday, and they'd be filling orders by Friday. That's why they told me to let everyone know, to please keep checking the website often.

    I'll see if they'll notify me when the packaging arrives, so you guys can know and be ready to order asap.
    Last edited by subkrawler; January 31st, 2010 at 05:31.
    "The most beautiful objects are those built for purpose. Few things are more thrilling than the unrestrained use of tools most have mistaken for luxuries" -unknown

  5. #5
    DOXA Forum Moderator subkrawler's Avatar
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    Re: The New Isofrane

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalu View Post
    One of the most interesting, and welcome, things to me about the Isofrane straps is how they've managed to exactly recreate the 'pebbled' finish of the originals.
    Since I've never handled a vintage one, I didn't know how exact the finish was(if at all). That's cool to know.
    "The most beautiful objects are those built for purpose. Few things are more thrilling than the unrestrained use of tools most have mistaken for luxuries" -unknown

  6. #6
    Member Beedoo's Avatar
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    Re: The New Isofrane

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowbiker View Post
    Ty

    Thanks for the review and the great pix!

    Cheers,

    Sean
    +1! Great review and excellent photos!
    That is definitely THE dive strap I was waiting for!

    Cheers,

    Beedoo

  7. #7
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    Re: The New Isofrane

    That´s some great news, can´t wait for the blue one for my Ploprof.
    Did they say when we can expect that one ??
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  8. #8
    Member romeo-1's Avatar
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    Re: The New Isofrane

    Ouch...I am a huge fan of divers on rubber but $100-120? Little steep for my budget...too bad too, really nice looking strap.

    Great review!
    Chuck Norris doesn't wear a watch...HE decides what time it is.


  9. #9
    Member Swengen's Avatar
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    Re: The New Isofrane

    Great information! Have been looking for a non-silicone strap exactly like this! I hope to hear more when they are available in 22mm and 20mm.
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  10. #10
    Member Graeme's Avatar
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    Re: The New Isofrane

    Thanks for the review Ty, you did a great job there Those isofrane straps look great!! The buckles look really good too!!! can't wait to see what else they will have.
    Cheers,
    Graeme

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