Rubber

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Categories: Innovation
"The par excellence material choice for a sports watch’s strap"
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Rubber: the material that forever changed the world of sports watches.

The tale of Hublot’s fascination with rubber is one of audacity and vision. It is the very foundation of Hublot’s “Art of Fusion” cornerstone that still resonates today.

Carlo Crocco founded Hublot in 1980, a luxury sports watch brand built around the world of water sports. As Crocco was an avid sailor, he was unsatisfied with the metal bracelets and leather straps solely available at the time. He wanted to create a watch that looked as good with a suit and tie as it did on the deck of a sailboat. Since he found metal bracelets uncomfortable and leather straps unsuitable anywhere near water, he decided to give a then-unconventional material a try: rubber.

Despite some skepticism upon its introduction by Hublot in the 1980s, rubber went on to become the par excellence material choice for a sports watch’s strap. It is softer and more durable than conventional leather straps and doesn’t look as inherently sporty as a watch on a metal bracelet. Besides being perfectly suitable for water sports, rubber has the advantage of being washable without altering and decomposing over time; one of the shortcomings of traditional leather straps.

Today, Hublot offers its signature rubber strap in myriad colors and textures, each matched harmoniously to a watch. Hublot has even combined rubber with other materials including calf and alligator leather, flameproof NOMEX, and even denim.

About the material

Rubber is a naturally occurring latex compound, most commonly sourced from the Pará rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis). A hyperelastic material, rubber has a large stretch ratio and high resilience that makes it unbeatable at a wide range of applications.

Synthetic and natural rubber are commonly used together, since their unique properties complement each other and provide a material with superior performance. Since rubber is naturally black, colored rubber requires the inclusion of other additives such as chalk and silica in the formulation.

Here’s an interesting fact: In 18th century England, famed natural philosopher Joseph Priestley found that the recently discovered material that went by its French name caoutchouc worked wonders at rubbing off pencil marks on paper, hence the name "rubber".

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