Dec 24, 2017249 views

Cut-to-Fit Silicone Deployant Straps

Anyone have any experience with cut-to-fit silicone deployant straps? I'm steeling my courage to start chopping on one. They are effectively irreplaceable if you screw up. They are fit to the watch like bracelet endpieces. If you sell the watch later, the buyer's wrist better be equal to or smaller than yours.
As purchased the watch fits a 9-inch wrist, I reckon. I probably need to reduce it by an inch and a half or more. I may take one "link" off of each side every day until I think it's right. I don't really know what the feel of a silicone strap is like, so I don't know how loose or snug I want it. I'm thinking loose, since the deployant is huge, and I find that watches with long deployants don't slide and rotate on your wrist, so you can wear them looser. Worst case scenario is if I chop it a little too short, the deployant has a slide-to-enlarge feature, for wetsuits I think.
I did a test shave, and a large size Olfa rotary cutter (used in cutting yardage for sewing), on a cutting pad, goes through the silicone like a hot knife through butter, taking a clean millimeter off.

Going in stages, very slowly, I finally cut my strap down to size.
Before I did that I had e-mailed the company for a price quote on a replacement band. I figured that knowing that I could get a new band would make it easier to get going on cutting it down.
It's a good thing that it was the New Year and the reply took a long time to arrive. Yes, I can buy a new silicone band for my $650 (street price, gray market) watch, for $241, plus shipping.
I'm sure that the watch company's attitude is, Oh no, the watch is a $1,900 (list) watch, so $241 is completely reasonable for a purpose-fit silicone strap.
The scary thing is that the watch doesn't really work that well with any other band. To make the silicone strap work optimally, there is a notch between the lugs that mates witha ridge on the silicone strap. It's kind of an eyesore if, for instance, you put a leather strap on the watch. Had I screwed up the cutting I would not have any good option. If I'm going to spend $241 on a strap, it will be one or two custom leather straps, not a silicone strap limited to use on one watch.
I have a Bonetto Cinturini 400 (Zuludiver) on my SKX013 and love it. It matches the style great and is quite comfy once it's warmed up. Putting it on cold it's stiff, but it softens up in an hour or so.
Maybe you could microwave the watch for 10 seconds to soften up the band ... not sure what the effect on the watch would be.
By the way, 10 (or 20) seconds (at 500 or 600 watts) in the microwave is perfect for softening up rock hard ice cream. And the looks on the faces of people when you do it are classic.
I have had 3 trim-fit straps from years past. One was OEM with a watch, and I removed it immediately and never trimmed. I like to think it made the later resale of the watch easier. I had another in a "double-ridge" padded style. Like padded leather double-ridge styles from the 1990s but in silicone. My wrist is smaller than you would think to look at me, and I trimmed that strap to it's minimum length. It was still a bit too big to wear for me. Had to trash that strap. I also bought one of the "oyster" style kind and that could be trimmed down small enough for me. I later tried experimenting with trimming down the lug width 2mm and it wound up looking ugly.
But I remember that just normal scissors was all I needed to trim it down. Best practice is to estimate a bit large and test-fit, then trim more off gradually if the fit is close.
I recently bought a HR after market silicone with deployant buckle. Mine had micro adjustments to get the fit just right, but no divers extension. I was able to cut off an even number of "links" from each side and then I used the micro adjustment to make it one notch tighter and that was perfect.
The problem is, I don't think that there is a perfect fit for watch straps. For instance, my wrist is bigger in the afternoon than in the morning. I don't know the medical reason for this, but I assume that hydration has something to do with it. And if I have the ability to change a strap size, I may tighten it up while doing dishes or loosen it up to get a bangly feel (I have a Vulture Premium strap that has seven holes, and I use 2 through 6 regularly). And in the summer I like looser straps than in the winter. And I cannot wear a bracelet watch now that I lost the links to because I gained weight since receiving it.
With a bracelet I just get the best compromise most of the time, but I know I can change it if necessary. With the silicone strap I feel that I have to use the loosest acceptable length or I enter the point of no return. But I do love the strap and watch. I just wish I had a couple extra straps to cut to different sizes. Or even one, and then mix and match the 12:00 and 6:00 halves.
I find that my wrist sometimes swells, seemingly with temperature and humidity and possibly hydration. But I generally find that the micro adjustments, if there are any, are usually enough. If there aren't any, I too would go looser when adjusting.
Little by little I have been cutting on it. For a while I put the watch on a leather strap to try it in different circumferences. I cut off eight "links" in all, one more than I thought would be the maximum, but it's still a bit loose.
I put two laters of furniture leg felt on the deployant to slightly decrease the internal circumference, and now it won't slip past my ulna-radius wrist bumps onto my upper hand, sort of like the way you buy fur felt fedoras a size up and pad the sweat band for the first year until they shrink in, but silicone doesn't shrink.
With this padding the strap is effectively a bit tigher than my braceleted divers, but I like those loose, and I'm not sure if that style is appropriate for a silicone strap. I'll wear it as is for a while, through daily wrist swelling cycles.
I'm hesitant to cut more since ideally I would like to remove the same number of links at 12 and 6. On metal bracelets I have in the past removed an extra a link at 6, which keeps the watch pointing towards my face, at the expense of assymetry for the deployant position.
The strap deployant can be made about a half inch longer, I guess for wet suit use perhaps, and if I did cut off a link too far, that would be my safety net, but other than for maybe the hottest month of summer I wouldn't want to have to use such a kludge.