You see them everywhere: in photos on forums, Instagram, and blog posts. They grace the lugs of watches from time to time on YouTube videos. BARTON Elite Silicone bands seem to be the go-to aftermarket silicone or rubber watch straps for watches of all types and styles.
And yes, I understand that silicone and rubber watch straps are technically different materials. However, from an appearance and functional perspective, they are essentially interchangeable. So for the discussion here, I’m lumping them into a single category.
So what makes this humble 20 dollar watch band so popular?
BARTON Elite Silicone watch bands may be the best rubber watch straps available. How can I claim that, with so many other high quality and higher-priced rubber and silicone straps available? Well, I’ve come up with seven reasons which, when taken together, make these straps some of the best that you can get for your watch.
Reason 1: Well-designed and well-made
These watch bands offer modern styling, but their simple design also makes them timeless. The fine-grain crosshatch texture on the top surface provides a hint of sophistication and adds visual interest without being busy or over the top. And they look great on a wide range of watches.
From a functional perspective, the BARTON Elite Silicone design has a lot to offer as well. Keepers on watch straps often slide down during wear, causing the free end to dangle away from the band. But not on these watch bands. There is a rectangular cut-out on the long end of the strap that fits a rectangular tab inside the strap keeper. This locking-feature allows the keeper to stay in place and holds the free end of the band in place as well.
And as far as strap changes go, BARTON makes it easy. The Elite Silicone straps come standard with quick-release spring bars. Just slide the lever on the spring bar over and attach or detach the strap. No tools needed. It’s a really convenient feature, especially if you have several straps in multiple colors and like to swap bands frequently.
Reason 2: So many colors available
BARTON Elite Silicone Quick Release watch bands come in an impressive array of colors. As of the writing of this article, there are 20 different colors available. There are few watch strap models that offer anywhere near the same variety. Many of the band options are solid, like solid black, blue, or red. But others are two-toned, with one color for the top, and another for the underside of the band. This provides a small color accent to the band while it’s on the wrist. And while these two-toned straps are available in more muted colors like grand and black, green and black, and brown and tan, they also come in more fun color combinations as well. Like a black top with an underside in mint green, purple, pink, or yellow underside. It’s a great way to add a touch of color to your watch strap.
But BARTON doesn’t limit the Elite Silicone color options to the band colors. Every band is available with a brushed 316L stainless steel buckle. But depending on the size and color of the Elite Silicone band that you choose, you can also get it with a black PVD, gunmetal grey, rose gold, or gold-colored steel buckle instead.
With all the band and buckle color combinations available, BARTON hasn’t quite taken on a full “design your own watch band” approach to the Elite Silicone line, but it gets close.
Reason 3: A watch strap for nearly every lug width
Part of what makes these bands so appealing is the sheer range of widths available: 18mm, 19mm, 20mm, 21mm, 22mm, 23mm, and 24mm. There are BARTON Elite Silicone bands to fit most watch lugs, whether you have a 34mm Omega Seamaster or 37mm Seiko 5, or a 48mm Breitling Superocean—or anything in between. And each strap tapers by 1mm (odd sizes) or 2mm (even sizes), giving them a proportionate look at even the wider sizes. Unless you have a really small watch, or something huge requiring a more specialized strap width, there is most likely an Elite Silicone band that will fit the lug width of your watch.
Reason 4: A watch band for any wrist size
BARTON has watch owners covered in the length department as well. Elite Silicone bands are available in two lengths, and each strap comes with two long-side pieces—a longer one and a shorter one.
All BARTON Elite Silicone band widths come in Standard Length, which has a short-side strap that is 70mm long. These Standard bands come with two long-side straps of different lengths, one that’s 105mm and the other that’s 125mm. By using the included long-side strap that’s best for your wrist, the Standard Length bands will fit wrists from 5” to 8” in circumference, according to BARTON.
In addition, the 20mm and 22mm Elite Silicone bands are also available in a Long Length to fit wrists from 7” to 9” in circumference. This option includes a short-side strap that’s 85mm long, and also includes two long-side straps, one that’s 125mm and another that’s 141mm.
Including two strap lengths is a really helpful way to ensure that you get the right fit. Unless you need wide adjustability in your strap length, like using one strap for regular wear and the longer strap for use over a wetsuit, then one of the strap lengths likely will just sit unused or get discarded. That could seem a bit wasteful. But with all these sizing variables available, BARTON guarantees that the Elite Silicone band will fit all men or women, or your money back.
Reason 5: BARTON Elite Silicone bands are affordable
At $20, it’s hard to argue against picking up at least one BARTON Elite Silicone band to try for yourself. If you like wearing rubber watch straps, then the price makes it easy to get several. You won’t break the bank getting colors for different watches. Or picking up multiple BARTON bands to add some variety to your daily wear watch.
And they are easy to find. You can get them from the company’s website, and a wide selection of BARTON Elite Silicone Quick Release watch bands are readily available on Amazon.com.
Reason 6: Really comfortable watch straps
Elite Silicone watch bands are extremely soft and flexible. I have several and regularly wear them on my watches. They are among the most comfortable straps that I own. The underside is smooth and contours nicely to the wrist. The textured top surface keeps the band from seeming too slick or “rubbery”. And even though the bands are so soft and pliable, BARTON claims that they deliver high tensile strength. That means they are highly resistant to tearing. I have experienced no damage or breakage to my Elite Silicone straps, so I’m inclined to believe it.
Reason 7: BARTON Watch Bands is a good company
BARTON Watch Bands was founded in and operates out of Austin, Texas. I’ve briefly visited their headquarters, and it’s about as down to Earth as you can get. It’s a warehouse space with an open collection of desks at the front. A few shelves near the entrance show off various BARTON watch bands. It’s a small business with the stated goal of providing high-quality watch bands at a reasonable price. And they are doing just that.
It’s a brand built on its customers. They offer the BARTON Guarantee, which says that if you are unsatisfied with your watch band within the first year of purchase, you can return it. That level of customer service is nearly unheard of in any industry. It shows the confidence that BARTON has in their watch straps. And demonstrates their commitment to making sure that people are happy with their products.
And finally, BARTON gives back to the community, supporting local Austin non-profit organizations. One is Well Aware, which helps people in Africa get access to clean water sustainably. The other is the Flatwater Foundation, which helps provide mental health therapy both to those diagnosed with cancer and to their loved ones. BARTON allows its customers to contribute as well, donating proceeds of their Well Aware NATO Style Strap and Flatwater Elite Silicone Strap to the causes.
The best aftermarket silicone or rubber watch straps
So are BARTON Elite Silicone Quick Release bands actually the best silicone or rubber watch straps available? In certain cases, there probably are better straps.
If you are looking for an integrated aftermarket band for your Rolex or Tudor, people rave about Vanguard Straps and Everest Bands. But those have fitted ends for specific references, and won’t fit other watches very well. Plus, they are far more expensive than anything offered by BARTON. At least five to ten times more expensive, in fact.
If a vintage look is what you are after, then a rubber tropic strap might be best for you. Or even a rubber NATO-style one-piece strap. And if you want a mid-century design and extra ruggedness for diving, an Isofrane 1968 rubber strap could be a splendid choice. But it’s also five times the price of a BARTON Elite Silicone. And a BARTON silicone strap should also be perfectly suitable for diving.
Yes, there are many, many rubber watch straps and silicone strap options. And they are available in a wide range of styles and prices to suit specific needs.
But I’d venture to say that, for most people, most watches, and most situations, the Barton Elite Silicone Quick Release band is the single best choice of an aftermarket rubber strap. It’s comfortable, stylish, rugged, and versatile. It’s a watch band with features that make it both convenient and wearable. They come in a wide array of sizes, lengths, and colors to fit just about any wrist, watch, or wardrobe. And the price is right. No, the price is GREAT. Taken together, all these factors add up to make Barton Elite Silicone watch bands the best general-purpose rubber or silicone watch bands you can get.
You can find Elite Silicone straps in the BARTON Watch Bands shop on Amazon.
There you’ll find a full line of BARTON Elite Silicone Quick Release Watch Straps in a range of widths, lengths, and colors.