That's an excellent question we often encounter. So, what sets Sailcloth watch straps apart? While they aren't crafted from the same material as yacht sails, debunking this urban myth only adds to the allure of ZULUDIVER's Sailcloth watch straps. In fact, these straps stand out as some of the most technically advanced and aesthetically pleasing creations in ZULUDIVER's watch strap collection, and it's no surprise that they continue to be consistent best sellers.
Creation of Sailcloth
As part of the creation process, we knew the end product had to be a watch strap representing ultimate durability and good looks. In appearance, it had to replicate a style balance between leather and fabric and keep its shape no matter what punishment it was subjected to or its exposure to environmental factors.
As the name implies, it also had to be "waterproof". This is a term that the watch industry is generally afraid of, hence the extensive use of water-resistant, with very few manufacturers using the word waterproof. However, when it comes to straps, it is somewhat different, so by definition, we wanted our Sailcloth to shrug off water and dry quickly without losing structural integrity or external finish. And to do this repeatedly.
Tudor on Padded Mayday Sailcloth - Credit Zuludiver
The Final Product
The Gen 1 Sailcloth, which we first wrote about in 2020, was (and indeed still is) a superior watch strap. As it evolved to the later models, the primary construction remained unaltered, with style revision and buckle enhancement spawning the second generation.
Our 2023 Mayday and Maverick MKII 2-piece current Sailcloth watch straps comprise three layers, which create an immediately soft yet highly durable strap. 3- The lowest layer provides comfort against the skin. This is a resistant and hypoallergenic cotton fabric. 2 - The next layer, a grey neoprene foam, offers a flexible element that provides comfort at various temperatures and is highly effective at water shedding. Finally, 1 - the top layer is constructed from black PVC rubber adorned with an embossed sailcloth pattern, which has been selected due to its abrasion and environmental-resistant properties.
Christopher Ward on Maverick Sailcloth - Credit Zuludiver
The overall look of the straps, especially when fitted to a stainless steel tool watch, is very much of a textured leather combined with fabric. It has a unique look and gives a sophisticated and high-end appearance to the watch. Despite the relatively modest cost of these straps, they do enhance the look of specific models, such as the Omega Speedmaster or Rolex Submariner and OEM equivalents, such as the strap seen on the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon, offer a nearly identical visual appearance, at around £500.
The Maverick and Mayday watch straps could best be described as our classic Sailcloth models, all having a similar black look, whether padded or with perforations and multiple stitching colour choices, which provide beautiful accents against red GMT hands or ceramic bezels. So comprehensive is the range that there is a Maverick or Mayday for almost any tool watch, whether the model costs hundreds or thousands of pounds. If you want to replicate a specific look against a DLC or black PVD case, then we even make aftermarket Sailcloth-compatible buckles which you can retrofit to the watch strap.
Sailcloth but with a 1973 twist
Omega on Typhoon Sailcloth - Credit Zuludiver
ZULUDIVER is always moving forward and looking to enhance our designs. In one creative meeting, we discussed whether it would be possible to merge our two best watch straps: the two-piece Sailcloth and our 1973 British military nylon. This was considered a great idea, so we created an even thinner and more supple variant of our Sailcloth, which could be transformed into the ultimate outdoor strap. After months of prototype testing by staff and friends of ZULUDIVER in challenging locations such as the boiling Australian summer, the freezing Swedish winter and the stormy UK Dales, we finally locked a design which befitted the ZULUDIVER name and genuinely brought something new to the watch world—the ZULUDIVER TYPHOON 1973.
The Typhoon is unique and represents a new standard of British Military strap. To make a wearable Sailcloth in 1973 style, we developed a material which would fold and bend like a traditional Military Nylon. We selected the name Typhoon based on its wide association with extreme weather. Derivatives of Typhoon have been used to refer to severe tropical storms since 1504, so the name seems fitting for our most weather-resistant 1973 yet.
Well into its production stage, our Typhoon was again tested by a professional diver who pronounced it one of the best dive straps he had ever used and you can read his full review here.
Despite the success of the Typhoon, we still felt there was room for a more premium product. Hence, this year, we developed Typhoon Storm, which utilises the same Sailcloth material as the standard Typhoon but additionally has a premium buckle and metal keepers. This more oversized buckle and more prominent keepers blend exceptionally well with larger-cased stainless steel dive watches like the Seiko Prospex range.
To the ends of the Earth with the Endurance Extreme Sailcloth
Omega Speedmaster on Endurance Extreme - Credit Zuludiver
Another ZULUDIVER product which delivers both durability and style is the Endurance Strap. Named after one of the most famous exploration ships of all time, Endurance, which took Ernest Shackleton to the Antarctic in 1912, the original strap is dual construction with a rubber precision cut lower section topped off with an equally precisely cut leather inlay. The desired effect is to have a rubber strap with durable properties against your wrist, yet it appears to be a leather strap offering all the style we require with beautiful watches. Of course, leather reacts to extreme weather therefore, the latest Sailcloth iteration from ZD was to retain the rubber Endurance base and fit a new Sailcloth inlay as the top of the strap, and through this melding, we have created the Endurance Extreme.
The prototype straps have been tried and tested by our team, and we are confident that the 2023 Endurance Extreme is an ideal watch strap to withstand the great outdoors.
It is available in five colours, and with evocative names such as Nimrod, Nautilus and Terra Nova. The extreme could be the perfect partner for your tool watch accompanying you across the globe, under the waves or just for a walk through the countryside. Attention to detail was paramount in developing the latest Endurance Extreme range, and thanks to valuable customer feedback, we are confident that this newest design is our best mix of style and durability.
Sailcloth is one of the best watch strap materials that we, as professionals in the industry, have come across. As ZULUDIVER learns more about this unique combination of materials, we can develop new and innovative ways of using it to create all of the straps highlighted here. So what better way to finish this exploration of Sailcloth than to highlight four of our best choices?
1973 British Military Watch Strap: TYPHOON Sailcloth – Sandblasted – 1973 - Credit Zuludiver
High-performance multi-layer sailcloth is matched with 100% Waterproof capability with the Typhoon. High abrasion resistance and super lightweight make this a fine choice for an outdoor strap. As described above, three layers comprise the 0.78mm thick PVC sailcloth rubber.
Construction is glued and stitched, and all hardware is solid stainless steel hardware. Like any military 1973 strap, no tools are required to change this strap.
Mayday Sailcloth Padded Divers Watch Strap - Grey Stitching - Credit Zuludiver
Grey stitching offsets perfectly against any stainless steel or titanium tool watch. The Mayday watch strap collection is the classic Sailcloth and will last years even under harsh treatment. Alternative buckles are available to match a DLC or PVD case with the strap.
Mayday Navigator Sailcloth Divers Watch Strap – Crimson - Credit Zuludiver
The Navigator is part of a new 2023 Mayday series with full-colour inner linings and stitching to match vibrant colours on your bezel or watch dial. The new range offers all of the same technical characteristics of the original strap – with just a bit more visual punch.
Endurance Extreme Rubber Watch Strap – Nautilus - Credit Zuludiver
Bringing together the benefits of Sailcloth and rubber, the Endurance Extreme may be one of our finest outdoor straps yet. The added durability of the rubber inner layer will be particularly welcome in hot and cold climates.
We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into the world of Sailcloth watch straps and the innovative designs ZULUDIVER has to offer. Now, we want to hear from you! Do you own a Sailcloth watch strap, or are you considering getting one? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Better yet, showcase your watch and strap combo by uploading a picture. Your comments and photos could inspire others in their watch strap journey, so don't be shy – join the conversation!