Anyone who collects or loves vintage dive watches knows about the now legendary TROPIC rubber straps. They were made in the ‘60s and ’70s, and were often OEM standard issue and commonly found paired with different brands of divers, including Rolex, Enicar, and Jenny Caribbean, among others. Their design, durability, and comfort made them a staple of both leisure and professional divers, and if you were to look at just about any photo of a diver with his/her watch in the ‘60s, you would almost invariably find it paired with a TROPIC strap.
With the immense popularity of vintage dive watches, collectors have long sought out original TROPIC straps to complete their watches. However, because of that popularity, vintage TROPICs can command very high prices, and while there are many original examples out there, time as well as good ol’ wear-and-tear have made them harder to find in wearable condition. As a result, a number of companies today have produced their own interpretations of the TROPIC strap with varying degrees of success. Some are pretty good, and some are, well, let’s just say not so good.
But now the original is back, and as someone who’s sampled his fair share of the imitators I can say that I’m excited to see TROPIC’s return!
Vintage TROPICs came in a variety of lug widths ranging from 16mm to 22mm, in several colors, and even a few different styles. The most iconic and classic style had a distinct cross-hatch pattern on top and a deep diamond-shaped underside with lots of channels for water and sweat. The Sport variant, with its pebbled texture and large rally holes, was one of the most common variants after the original.