Strap Guide written by @uvalaw2005. Thank you Gabriel!
Hundreds of watches have passed through my hands over the years, but this vintage Rolex Datejust has vanquished all competitors. This outcome would have surprised me when the watch bug first bit me a decade ago. I long thought of the Datejust as an old man's watch and was bewildered by the variety of models over the past 50 years.
But I turned 40 a couple of years ago, and apparently became an old man, as suddenly the Datejust looked gorgeous whenever I saw it. I started doing my research into the various iterations and decided I was particularly enamored of the pie pan dials from the four-digit era. A few weeks after my birthday, a beautiful 1601 from the mid-1970s popped up on Reddit and I jumped at it. It took such a hold of my wrist that within a year it had driven every other watch out of my collection.
One of the things I love about the vintage four-digit models is that, as great as the jubilee bracelet looks, the slim drilled lugs also lend themselves to a variety of straps that can accentuate the Datejust’s versatility as a dress and sports watch.
Delugs was kind enough to send me several 20mm leather options to try out on my 6.75" inch wrist, all in the 115mm/70mm Medium size.
As it has aged, my silver Datejust dial has taken on hints of champagne with the lume evolving to a creamy patina, so a warmer green strap seemed like a natural choice. Delugs advertises their ostrich straps as an alternative for those looking for something exotic beyond alligator, and I agree. The numerous small scales provide visual stimulation, but with sufficient variation to avoid looking overly patterned, and especially in this padded style it works well in both dress and sports situations.
Though ostrich is a nice alternative exotic, nothing beats the elegance of a good alligator strap. Though I would normally stick to a standard black or brown alligator, Delugs always has the most remarkable alligator color options, so I dipped my toes just outside my comfort zone with this matte navy blue. The color is exactly what I look for in a blue: saturated enough to not be mistaken for black but not cartoonishly bright. Delugs has some more adventurous blue options, but this matte navy is just right for me.
I have also had a fondness for Saffiano leather; it looks quite simple from a distance - especially in black - but the small cross-hatch pattern gives a visual treat for those who approach for a close inspection. Its origin in the Prada fashion house means that Saffiano carries an inherent sense of class on equal footing with the Datejust. While I would normally go for the slim, stitchless option that Delugs also offers, Saffiano wears just as well in this thicker, more robust Signature line. Grigio Minerva Box strap choice continues with my green / olive strap obsession.
Many folks love Barenia leather without knowing they love Barenia leather. As the Delugs write-up mentions, you'll frequently find Apple watches and Hermes Birkin bags crafted from Barenia, especially in the ubiquitous Fauve color. Omega has also gotten in on the Barenia action, pairing their Speedmaster FOIS with a Barenia strap when they released it in 2012.
For this guide I went with the less common Marron option. While it is undoubtedly a brown strap, there is a fascinating chalky sheen to it that lends it a desaturated look. An uncommonly subtle option for those looking to branch out in the Barenia family.
The first four straps I picked all come from Delugs’ padded Signature line; I learned to like thicker leather from the many years when a Speedmaster was my daily wearer and I paired it with more robust straps. But this slim strap really won me over and showed the versatility of the Datejust.
Shell Cordovan is the ultimate day-to-night leather, looking equally at home in a suit at the office, in jeans on a hike, or in shorts at home watching the game. For many years I wore a Nomos Tangente alternating between the OEM brown and black Cordovan leather, and this Delugs strap is at least their equal. Hardy and pliable, even this slim Cordovan strap will last virtually forever.
- Reference: Rolex Datejust 36 1601
- Case Size: 36mm
- Thickness: 11.7mm
- Lug-to-Lug: 43mm
- Lug Width: 20mm
If you enjoyed this Strap Guide, be sure to check out the rest of our Strap Guides for more inspirations!