Design trends

How to choose a new watch band for my Rolex GMT-Master ?

Besides the Rolex Submariner, the Rolex GMT-Master is one of the most liked Rolex watch within the watch community. The watch was originally designed for professional use to help airline pilots with flights between different time zones. GMT means “Greenwich Mean Time”, which marks mean solar time “0” at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London — the location of the original meridian used for calculating longitude and determining different time zones around the world.

However, its combination of peerless functionality and instantly recognizable aesthetics has attracted a wider audience of world travellers and watch enthusiasts. Designed to show the time in two different time zones simultaneously during intercontinental flights, the GMT‑Master has come to be recognized for its robustness and versatile appearance. The GMT-Master II is a must have tool-watch for intercontinental travellers across time zones.

The Rolex Oyster stainless steel bracelet is with no doubt one of the most perfect bracelets on the market – but it can be very shiny with it’s polished center links and wouldn’t it be nice, to match your GMT with your outfit from time to time? For this case, we have collected some strap recommendations for you in our Rolex GMT-Master II Strap Guide:

Option one : nylon nato straps

In 1962, James Bond aka Jean Connery, was wearing a Rolex Submariner Ref.: 6538 in the movie “Dr. No” on a black/green/red striped NATO strap. Besides Breitling, TagHeuer and even digital Seiko watches, agent 007 was wearing a Rolex watch in 8 Bond movies until 1989. The first close-up of James Bond’s watch was seen in the movie “Goldfinger” and remains the definitive “Bond watch” to many watch fans even decades later. Today this kind of strap is called: The Bond NATO strap.

Until today, Rolex watches look super cool on NATO straps, especially on vintage Rolex watches. The best NATO strap thickness for the Rolex GMT master II is 1,2 mm, because the spring bars sit very close to the rough watch case, which we will explain closer at the end of this post. Our Hemsut NATO watch bands are made from high quality, flat and durable seat-belt nylon and comes in two thicknesses: 1,2 . more option can visit our nylon nato collection

Option 2, The Classic: Suede- and Vintage Leather

Suede- and Vintage Leather straps on a Rolex sports model are not everyone’s cup of tea, but it can look very casual, especially on 5-digit Rolex GMT-Master II and vintage models. But there is one thing you should know, when you want to put your Rolex on a strap, especially when you choose a soft strap made from leather.

A thing you should to know about Rolex watch cases

Most Rolex watch cases have a heavily brushed, or rather not finished, case surface behind the lugs. This rough surface is a stress test for every watch strap and maybe it was the intention of Rolex engineers “conspiracy theory intensifies”.
ORIG. ROLEX DESIGN 116710 – Case engravement on the inside between the lugs of a Rolex GMT Master II ref.: 116710LN


For that reason, we can’t really recommend vintage leather straps, if you don’t have curved spring bars (currently we work hard on it to source high quality curved spring bars for you). The leather surface will be scratched and damaged by the rough surface of the rough oyster case surface. Another reason for that is, that the space between case and spring bars is quite narrow. Suede leather straps are rough already, and it doesn’t make such a big difference, if the case will rough it up more.


The most resistant straps are with no doubt NATO- and Two-Piece NATO straps. Because of the mentioned narrow space between spring bars and case, the double layered two-piece NATO strap sits very tight, but that’s no problem from our own and personal experience; It’s even better, because the two-piece NATO watch strap can’t move a lot and so it won’t scratch off so easily. Regular NATO straps should have a thickness of 1,2 mm to fit best between spring bar and case, while pulled through them.


On the second place of durability is the Canvas strap, because we made it thinner and without leather, if fits quite perfectly between spring bars and Rolex oyster case.


Life hack: If the strap might scratch off a little after a long time of use and it looses some nylon- or canvas fabrics, you can easily remove them with a fabric shaver.

Which strap size does my Rolex GMT-Master 2 need?

The Rolex GMT-Master II lug width is 20 mm, which is the most common Rolex lug width. More about how to find out which strap size your watch needs here.

How do I change the bracelet or strap on my Rolex?

To change the bracelet of your GMT, you’ll need a spring bar tool with a special 1 mm fork, that fits in the openings of the Oyster bracelet, you can easy find a good spring bar at our store or amazon. If you want to know, how you install a NATO strap on your Rolex watch read our article All you need to know about NATO straps.

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