Thursday, October 6, 2016

An OMG Moment - Rubber Strap Failure of my Bell & Ross BR02-92 Pro-Dial Dive Watch, Advice (Updated)

Back in October 2013, I purchased my Bell & Ross BR02-92 Pro-Dial Dive Watch that comes standard with a rubber strap (for more on the watch, please refer here: Bell & Ross BR02-92 Pro Dial Diver Watch - A French Connection).

There were a lot of complaints from owners about the poor quality of the rubber strap which generally don't seem to last for more than a year. A simple Google search on the subject would give you a list of postings from disgruntled owners. I did take note and I have been careful when wearing it for the last two years.

However, this time around when I took it out of storage I started to see some small cracking as well as fine white dust on the strap. Exactly 3 years since I got the watch (the watch could have been in the store for longer), something ominous is about to happen.

Sure enough, after wearing the watch for a full day, the tear appeared halfway along one of the buckle hole. Can't wear it anymore and as I was taking it off, the tear continued to the second half of the strap to complete the breakage.

One of my fellow WIS with the handle name JeepWH, gave this advice:

For those who has rubber strap watches. It is recommended that you check your straps annually or every 3 months for straps older than 2 years.

How to check?

1) Visually inspect the whole strap under strong lighting to see if there are any cracks or signs of fatigue apparent. If yes, replace with new strap.

2) Bend the strap in all directions, and give it a twist. Check for any signs of lessened elasticity (ie stiffness) and also signs of cracks and fatigue at the bending point. If yes, replace the strap.

All said, its recommended to replace rubber straps every 2 years or annually which is better.

To make sure straps last longer, wipe down the strap with a soft, damp cloth after every time you wear it. Leave it to air dry before storage.

This is something owners of rubber strap watches should be aware of.

In my case, I won't be bothered to replace it with another rubber strap. It would be nylon or stitched leather as replacement. It is just bothersome that the lugs on the BR02 is shaped rather uniquely that limits my choices. A tapered designed strap would be better suited in this case.

UPDATED: 10 October 2016)

I found the watch-box and decided to replace the broken rubber strap with the spare nylon Velcro strap provided in the package. Below is the spare strap as well as the signed strap removal tool given be Bell & Ross.

I tried using the removal tool to get the disengage the spring-bars but the flap (the one the right) was too wide to get a good grip on the spring-bar catch. So, I had to use my own tool to replace the strap.

Once replaced, this is how the watch looks like with the nylon Velcro strap. Not as good looking as the rubber strap but definitely will last much longer than rubber!

It does take some learning experience to put on the Velcro strap. Always do this exercise on a table. The watch may slip away from you.

This is how the nylon strap looks on the wrist.

It is a snug fit as you can adjust the Velcro anyway you want to get the best fit possible.

I rather like this strap on my wrist. It feels softer and it does not bite into the skin like the original rubber strap.

1 comment:

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