Pair your vintage Rolex up with a contemporary watch strap

Pair your vintage Rolex up with a contemporary watch strap

Ah, the vintage Rolex – each rarity is an absorbing conversation starter, vaunted accessory and, quite often, a historic milestone in horological advancement. If you have the privilege of acquiring one of these antique watches, you might be wondering how to pair it with a unique strap. Fortunately, Instagram is a source of countless ideas.

Usually seen on the wrists of older gentlemen who wish to denote their success and status, vintage Rolexes can now be spotted on the wrists of young collectors, who might have acquired these rare watches on the secondary market or inherited them as heirlooms.

While there’s nothing wrong with keeping an old-school Rolex on its original leather strap or bracelet, pairing your classic Rolex with a fabric strap can make for a beautiful contrast.

Think: Van Gogh’s The Starry Night in the MoMa, or the glass pyramid rising up in the middle of the 230-year-old Louvre – the juxtaposition of old and new worlds can make for an unforgettable aesthetic.

Have we piqued your interest? Well, if you’re thinking about matching your Rolex to a contemporary RSM strap, check out these scintillating ideas from notable watch influencers.


Photo credits for header image: @watchoutblog (far left); @speedyfett; @m.adcock81

Rolex Day-Date 1

Rolex Day-Date 2

Rolex Day-Date 3
Rolex Day-Date paired with a 2-piece silk strap


Also known as the Rolex Presidential because of its prominent owners, the Rolex Day-Date was debuted in 1956 and is the foremost icon of utilitarian dress watches, so why not pair it with an equally elegant and utilitarian strap? Synonymous with impeccable style, the Instagrammer @watchoutblog photographed an astute pairing that uses the intricate motifs of this RSM reversible single pass silk strap to accentuate the patented Rolex-style fluting of the bezel and crown.

While one might be used to seeing the Day-Date 1803 on a dark leather strap or its eponymous Presidential Bracelet, the RSM silk strap draws the eye to the tiny details of the silk strap’s pattern, which provide a second focal point complementing the Day-Date’s signature minute track. And then there’s the bronze shade and champagne lining of this strap, which provide unforgettable contrast to the 1803’s yellow gold hue.

Fun fact: 1988 was a watershed year for the Day-Date because the Caliber 3155 of that year was the first Day-Date movement that enabled the independent setting of the watch’s day and date, so if you can’t set the day and date of your Day-Date separately, you just might be holding on to a valuable antique.


Rolex Datejust 1
Rolex Datejust paired with herringbone twill strap


@patconn7 makes a strong case for why a regal monochromatic dress watch like this Datejust would look stunning on RSM’s herringbone twill strap. Like the RSM silk strap, the herringbone twill is designed to be durable and easy to clean. Its variety of colours confer an unexpected sense of youthfulness and jubilance to this subtly elegant icon.


Rolex Explorer II 1

Rolex Explorer II 2
Rolex Explorer II paired with vintage military 2-piece strap


The bold face that launched a thousand expeditions; perhaps the desirability of the Rolex Explorer II is its instrumental role in setting flight records and assisting developments in aviation technology. Synonymous with history-making outdoorsmen like Erling Kagge and Ed Viesturs, the Explorer (launched in 1953) and Explorer II (launched in 1973) are actually engineered based on numerous expeditions – many adventurers wore Rolexes on their expeditions and gave feedback to Rolex, so that the watch manufacture could improve on their designs, and develop what we know today as the Explorer II.

The Explorer II epitomises both masculine elegance and intrepid toughness, so why not pair it with the RSM vintage military strap? Designed based on the Allied forces’ World War II equipment and apparel, this robust old-school strap matches the DNA of the Explorer II, which has been worn on historic conquests of land, air and sea.


Rolex Explorer II 3

Rolex Explorer II 4
Rolex Explorer II paired with vintage military 2-piece strap


The understated Explorer II is beloved for its white aesthetic that reflects the Poles and mountain peaks that its owners have conquered. However, the Explorer II wasn’t so well received when it was first premiered, because of its features that were a stark departure from other Rolexes of the time. You see, this watch’s huge bezel numerals, lume-filled hands and dial indices were designed for spelunking, a low-light activity. Instagrammers @thechillseeker and @bevgeekwatches have paired the Explorer II with the RSM vintage military strap.


Rolex Submariner 1

Romex GMT Master
Rolex Submariner paired with vintage military strap


In fact, the RSM military strap seems to be a hit with owners of vintage Rolex sports watches. Here, @rockmastermike ups his wrist swag by rocking his Rolex Submariner and Rolex GMT Master on RSM military straps.


Rolex Explorer II 5 canvas strap
Rolex Explorer II paired with fine canvas strap


We also love how @m.adcock81 has used grain and colour to juxtapose the white space of the Explorer II. A prominent Rolex collector and skilled photographer known for his outdoorsy and adventure-themed shots, @m.adcock81 has opted to contrast this snowy dial with the burgundy hue of the RSM fine canvas strap.


Rolex Bee Gees vintage
Various vintage Rolexes on military strap and stripe strap


As our grand finale to this article, here’s a special treat for you. Check out these rapturous rarities that an anonymous RSM fan has attached to his collection of RSM watch straps. Have we set the gears in your head in motion? If yes, head over to our product page to see what RSM strap might complement your vintage watch.