The idea of producing vintage look-and-feel rubber Tropic straps has been brewing for some time in Uncle Seiko's 'workshop'.
As soon as I heard they became available, I ordered them in all three sizes on offer.
Well after less than a week, a package from UC reached south Pacific.
To cut the long story short...here is the summary:
- it is true and close to identical re-make of the Tropic straps popular in 60es 70es.
- look and feel is fantastic.
- length will fit most wrist sizes, small and large.
- quality is outstanding as we're used to on products from Uncle Seiko.
- it comes in 3 sizes to cover most diver watches lug width, vintage and new.
- comes in standard length (although will fit larger wrists just fine).
- tapers 2mm from lug to buckle.
- is it better than the repro Tropic strap from Watch Gecko by Bonetto Cinturrini? You bet it is, read below to see why I think this.
Off to the photos...
This is what came today:
Next to my Bonetto Cinturrini from Watch Gecko - you can see the differences in length, shape and hole sizes straight away:
All three sizes - 22mm, 20mm and 19mm - lined up:
Long strap piece - you can notice here slight difference in length between sizes, the difference is just under 1mm between the sizes, incrementally. Also the square holes are (surprisingly) the smallest on the 22mm strap:
Short strap piece - 20 and 22mm are identical in length, 19mm is 4mm shorter:
Underside design, finish and logo ...attention to detail is second to none here:
Now a comparison with the golden standard of new, contemporary Tropic strap homages - Bonetto Cinturini Tropic strap:
As you can see, Uncle's Tropic follows the design lines from the original vintage Tropics, while WG choose to go with more contemporary look, also with two keepers instead of one. The holes on US Tropic go further up towards the lug, I like that.
Here in this macro you can see saw-tooth edge on US compared to more modernized 'flat-block' edge of the WG:
The sawtooth edging isn't just an appearance feature. The idea behind is was to prevent the strap keeper from floating around. The 'teeth' provide that extra friction required. WG strap doesn't have much of that requirement as it's made of vulcanized rubber which has this sticking effect and helps keeping the strap keepers in place.
The middle on US is also raised and rounded, more so than on the WG, and much more authentic looking:
Top side - I prefer the smaller holes on US as well as conical shape at the tip:
Underside - also prefer the design of the US here with more waffle holes and that cheeky logo as an extra:
Some additional shots:
When it comes to hystorical 'correctness' and that killer vintage look, the 19 and 20mm ones are it. 22mm is great to have to as an option for all these SKX and SRP Turtle divers but it doesn't look as well as 19 or 20mm version, IMO. 22mm Tropic is just a little too wide and the holes 'loose' themselves somehow.
So all in all, couldn't be happier...at $39 per strap, it's a no-brainer, really.
Thanks US - you delivered on promise yet again.