First time posting in this forum, so hello and respects to all.
My reason for posting is that I thought I would share something perhaps a bit unusual.
In about 1993 when my Tag 2000’s leather strap was starting to fall to bits I thought I might try and make something that while a strap was though rather longer lasting and more reliable than the usual leather and buckle type. Well some fifteen years later this little experiment seems to have been a moderate success, as while not worn every day he strap has been holding up quite well. (Images taken some time ago though.)
One of my pet hates with watch bracelets and straps is where the buckles are placed, in that the opposite side of the watch is a pretty vulnerable place and is subject to wear and abrasion. I also wanted to avoid the use of leather with a tough tool / diving watch but wanted to retain the comfort of a soft strap rather than a hard and perhaps hair-tugging bracelet. Of course there are some very comfortable bracelets and tough straps around, but I wanted to do something different for myself.
So I placed my buckle in a convenient and out of the way place and made the strap out of a flexible and fairly inert plastic. The metal is mostly silver with stainless screws and the odd stainless part. The strap was made from Viton heat shrink tubing, which is an irradiated cross linked fluro elastomer. It’s very tough and mostly used to protect wiring on aircraft landing gear. This was split, heated and then flattened to shape, and as the strap was for me only, just one hole needed to be punched. In those days I didn’t have any machine tools, so the metal was worked by hand with files and an electric drill.
Hopefully the photographs are self-explanatory.