NATO, Leather, Rubber

How to Pair the Rolex Submariner with the Right Watch Strap

December 4, 2019 Watches By Photo by Hunter Kelley
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The Rolex Submariner, one of the most iconic watches ever made, is incredibly satisfying on its Oyster bracelet, suffering only from such popularity that it takes a certain effort to make the watch feel more reflective of the owner’s individuality and taste. That’s where you and a springbar tool come into the picture, and you might just be surprised at how it feels transformed by a strap change.

The Sub is such a versatile, classic design that that it works well with a wide range of watch straps, each one potentially resulting in a different, exciting personality. There are myriad options available, from NATOs to leather to rubber, and even many that are designed specifically for the Sub. You can get creative, but just remember that the 40mm Sub has a 20mm lug width. So without further ado, below are some of the handsomest strap options for pairing the Rolex Submariner.

NATO Straps

Crown & Buckle Premium

NATO straps are often so cheap that you can buy a few at a time to swap around, and a the Submariner is adaptable enough that it’ll take to a range of NATOs well. The James Bond franchise proved just how cool this look is when Sean Connery wore one on his Submariner in the 1962 film Dr. No, and you can get the same design from Crown and Buckle for just $12.

Worn & Wound ADPT Mil-Strap

Worn & Wound’s line of thick nylon NATO “ADPT” straps are some of our favorites for their excellent fit and finish and refined details. These are high-end with respect to price for for NATO straps, but they’re made in the USA with quality that feels appropriate for a luxury dive watch like the the Submariner.

Leather Straps

Analog/Shift Stout Calf

The Submariner isn’t just a dive watch — it’s a well-proportioned, handsome design that works well in a range of situations. Try a black calf leather strap like this reasonably priced one from Analog/Shift and see the Sub take on a more formal, retro feel.

Hodinkee Shell Cordovan

The most classic version of the Sub is undoubtedly that with a black dial and bezel, but you just might be surprised how well it works with a brown leather strap like this cordovan one from Hodinkee. The combo somehow adds a richness of texture to both the strap and the watch that’s seductive and high-end in its feel.

Rubber Straps


The Sub often pulls duty as a desk diver in big cities such as New York, but a rubber strap is for when you want to use one for its intended purpose. Perfect for summer, weekends, and short sleeves, the ISOfrane rubber strap, available in multiple colors, is a favorite of the dive watch community, and turns the Sub into the perfect aquatic companion.


Everest is among a few makers of rubber and leather straps made especially for specific Rolex models, meaning the strap ends will fit Rolex cases perfectly for a refined, bespoke aesthetic. The brand offers straps with tang buckles, but also the option to use the original Rolex Oyster clasp to keep your wrist feeling as Rolex as possible.

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Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

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