There are plenty of different rubber watch straps with various designs and properties on the market . From cheap silicone straps to high quality vulcanized rubber straps designed for professional divers. To the latter group with all certainty belongs Isofrane, which set standards and became a guiding light and a benchmark for similar products. Many companies try to get their slice of cake of this market and one of such companies is Crafter Blue, which product I would like to present you today.
The Crafter Blue strap I got is the universal 22mm model, which tapers to 20mm at the buckle. The strap can be ordered on Crafter Blue website: http://www.crafterblue.com/. The product is shipped from Asia via EMS. The strap came in an interesting packaging with a scuba diver picture on it. The packaging resembles a pack of chewing gums, I’ve never seen such a solution on a watch strap. Besides the strap, in the package I also found a pair of high quality spring bars. It’s nice that they thought about it.
The first thing you notice when you unbox the strap is its interesting design. It’s a variation of a popular design by Isofrane, of which I’m a great fan. The main difference is that there are two bigger wholes on each side instead of 4. I wasn’t convinced at first but the more I wear this strap the more it grows on me.
As I mention, the strap tapers slightly from 22mm to 20mm, which together with big holes gives the strap a light feeling. At the end of the shorter piece of strap there is a stainless steel buckle, and one of the most interesting elements of the package, a stainless steel keeper. Both elements are made of high quality 316L steel with a brushed finishing. I would like to focus on this steel buckle for a moment. It’s a very rare feature on a rubber watch strap, which is a pity. Thanks to this keeper, putting on the strap is really easy. Those of you who had Isofrane or Obris Morgan rubber know that strapping it can be sometimes a tedious task. Another pros of the stainless steel keepers is its durability. You don’t have to fear that your keeper will wear off or break. On top of that, the steel buckle looks just cool! You can also fit it to your Isofrane or Obris Morgan strap as long as it has 20mm width. You can even buy this keeper separately at the Crafter Blue website.
The strap is made of high quality vulcanized rubber. As a result, it’s soft, flexible and durable. The rubber breaks in on the wrist perfectly and does not move due to special texture on the back. Thanks to densely packed wholes, you can fit the strap as you please. Crafter Blue is a thick strap with 5.5mm at the lug side and 3.5mm at the buckle. It goes really well with those big diver’s watches. That’s what it was created for after all.
In the introduction I mentioned that Isofrane became a benchmark for rubber strap so we cannot avoid this comparison. Without mincing words, the Crafter Blue rubber strap holds really well in this battle. It’s a high quality product, which has nothing to be ashamed of. Both straps are extremely soft and comfortable. What is more, Crafter Blue has a great steel keeper, which a great plus in my book. If had to be nitpicky here, I’m not a big fan of its smell. Isofrane and other companies, such as Bonetto, are known for their vanilla scent on their rubber strap. Crafter Blue does not offer it, instead it smells of rubber. However, it’s not as strong as in Obris Morgan straps.
The presented strap from Crafter Blue is not a cheap product by any means. The price during the ongoing promotion is above $46. It’s twice as much as Obris Morgan rubber but almost three times less than Isofrane. However, if we take into account that the quality is easily on par with Isofrane, the price becomes much less of a burden.
At closing, I would like to remind you that the strap I got today is not the only offering from the Crafter Blue. There is also an orange version of the strap as well as a separate model designed for Seiko Sumo, which is available in black, blue, and orange. Furthermore, after exchanging some emails with Steve from Crafter Blue, I know that there is also a strap designed for Seiko MM300. Personally, I can’t wait for that one 🙂