You don’t have to be a hardcore Paneristi to see that Panerai watches are appealing due to their ability to be “dressed” up for any occasion. Unlike other watch brands, Panerai has developed an unusually high demand for aftermarket straps – the end result being a market flooded with limitless combinations of leather straps and buckle types. However, while leather straps are perfect for most occasions, this natural material is generally not suited for environments with high humidity or contact with too much sweat. Thankfully, most Panerai watches include a secondary strap, a rubber strap intended for dive usage – reflecting on their historical legacy as important diving tools.
I change straps on my Panerai because they change the look of the watch. The OEM rubber strap has a very modern and crisp masculine look to it – the strap has two grooves that run along the sides on both pieces and feature the brand name (Officine Panerai). This strap definitely gives any Panerai a sportier, more casual look – especially perfect for spring and summer use. Last but not least, black really does go pretty well with anything!
Unlike most rubber straps available OEM or aftermarket, the Panerai strap boasts superior comfort. The strap is thick, smooth, and not “sticky”. Often times, rubber straps can feel “sticky” – attracting lint while making the wear experience unpleasant; the Panerai rubber strap manages to ward off lint and other debris thanks to its smooth surface.
Although thick and crafted out of a heavy rubber, the strap remains very flexible and feels extremely secure around the wrist. Due to the high quality material used, the strap is comfortable and can be worn for extended periods of time – although not as breathable as leather, I did not find the strap uncomfortable at all.
Crafted purely out of rubber, the strap rids itself of the seams, layers, or stitching (of leather straps) which will cause overall deterioration over time. Intended for dive/sports use, the strap is perfectly suited for use in a “wet” environment; take your Panerai for a swim or dive if you dare! However, rubber goods tend to harden and crack upon long term exposure to the elements – making that the only primary potential pitfall for an otherwise perfect strap.
To be totally honest, the Panerai OEM rubber strap is basically my go-to strap. Its quality is top notch, ensured by the fact that it was manufactured by Panerai and comfort is second to none. The thickness ensures a balanced feel, keeping the generally heavy watch head securely on your wrist. My only other complaint is that the buckle changing experience is rather difficult on these rubber straps; the hole made for the buckle pin to enter is extremely snug, making it particularly hard to push the pin through.
- 100% waterproof
- Superior comfort
- Provides a casual/sporty look
- Not sticky, does not attract lint
- Low breathability
- Potential aging issues
These straps are readily available from any Panerai AD if you do not already have one. If you just bought a new watch and your strap does not fit you, your AD should be able to exchange your straps for the correct lengths (given they are unworn). Pricing on these straps vary but are rather easy to find!
There are a few variants of this strap available, all in the 24/22mm* size:
- Short Length 98/68mm for a tang buckle
- Standard Length 115/75mm for a deployant buckle
- Standard Length 115/75mm for a tang buckle
- Extra Long (XL) Length 115/95mm for a deployant buckle
- Extra Long (XL) Length 115/95mm for a tang buckle
* this represents a 24mm lug width and 22mm at the buckle