If you have never heard about Quick-Release watch straps, then you’re missing out a part of history: they brought a major progress in the way people change their watch bands. "Quick Release - you can change your watch strap in a flash".
Before them, to change a band on the wristwatch, one needed to use a tool to push down the tips of the pins that held the watch strap attached to the watch case. Then, to attach a new watch strap, one needed to adjust the pins into the tiny holes, which additionally complicated the process. Not everyone had the proper tool and nerves to do so, which, you can imagine, wasn’t neither convenient nor fun. With the invention of watch bands with quick-release pins, the process of changing the strap on the wristwatch became a piece of cake. The picture bellow illustrates the difference between the pins in traditional watch strap and quick-release watch band.
Diagram showing the comparison of traditional spring bar & quick release spring bars
Quick-release spring bar watch strap is detached from the watch by simply pulling the knob attached to it, which in turn pulls one spring end out of the hole on the watch case. They are attached by reverse action: by setting one end of the pin into hole on the watch case and then simply pulling the knob to adjust the other end. The whole process practically takes seconds, unlike with the traditional watch straps. It’s no wonder that quick-release watch straps quickly became popular and they are usually offered to fit standard watch case sizes with lug widths of 18, 20 and 22 mm.
How it works? Quick Release FKM Rubber Emerald Green Watch Bands
Quick release watch straps came around in 2000s, but made a watch world a different place, where one could quickly change the watchstrap on its watch on the go. This handy process perfectly fits the modern way of life and a great example of that is Apple Inc., that developed unique quick-release button along with the sliding connector instead of pin.
Brown Handmade Apple watch Quick Release Leather Watch Strap
Changing the band on your apple watch is a no-brainer and requires no tools. With a simple touch of button, the watch band is released and you can slide it out of the watch case. Besides, your watch strap is securely locked in its place with a simple slide in. There are many types of quick-release watch straps on the market nowadays, but we’d like to give homage to one that is a simply a must-have in every decent collection: "Quick-Release FKM Rubber watch strap".
For those who don’t know, FKM stands for Fluoroelastomer, which is a class of man-made rubber of great density but soft in touch, made to stand harsh conditions, such as high temperature, chemicals etc. For example, this type of rubber is often used in aerospace and nautical industries, which speaks a lot about its quality. To name a few, some of the characteristics of this material are: excellent resistance to chemicals (oxidation, acids, fuels), astonishing temperature durability (from - 60°C to 225°C ), great stability in all weather conditions, long lasting etc. The material is first developed by American company DuPont, under the brand name Viton®. The same company developed Neoprene™, which became so popular that it became common name for polychloroprene. The same often happens with Viton. Nowadays, there are many other producers of this valuable material. There are also variations of FKM, based on the polymers used. The higher the fluorine content, the material is more resistant.
Changing the Quick-Release FKM Rubber watch band requires no tools
If you compare FKM and vulcanized rubber, FKM is like the superhero, synthesized cousin to the latter. Vulcanized rubber is made by mixing natural rubber with additives (such as sulfur) in the process called vulcanization, which makes the material stronger and more flexible. Vulcanized rubber has a wide field of application and therefore it’s considered a commercial grade rubber. Watch straps made from rubber became popular in 20th century because they don’t conduct electricity, they’re waterproof, great for outdoor or adventure use because of UV resistance, easy to clean, and caused less allergies than metal watch bracelets. FKM added excellent durability and resistance in harsh conditions on top of all that, as for example, temperature, where ordinary rubber couldn’t stand a test due to low melting point. It’s quite obvious who the winner is in ‘FKM vs vulcanized rubber’ match.
Now, let’s head a bit more back down the memory lane. Rubber watch bands were first introduced in the 1960s. They entered the luxury lane in the 1980s, when Hublot added them as the alternative bracelets for high-end timepieces because they were more practical, especially for divers (think RX and TU brands). The same pretty much goes for FKM but around 40 years later. They are introduced around 2006 as a replacement bands for the same luxury brands, with addition of Omega, Seiko, Tag Heuer and many other great brands to the list. The durability of the material and ease of the process of replacing the Quick-Release FKM Rubber watch strap make it a high-end watch band and highly popular among divers and adventurers. All of the facts above stand as a firm reasons why you should own at least one, especially if you have one (or a few) supreme timekeepers. In the end, if great brands find it worthy, we definitely do!
Written by M.H. , Photo by Toni