Hello everyone – welcome back to another of my reviews. In today’s article, I’ll be reviewing the latest offering from local strap label RSM – a reversible silk strap.
After years in the making – I was told development started before COVID – the reversible silk strap is finally ready to launch. Let’s see if it’s any good.
RSM Reversible Silk Strap – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the strap, do check out my Youtube review of the RSM Reversible Silk strap below:
RSM Reversible Silk Strap – Review
The premise of the silk strap was motivated by a single Instagram comment RSM got on one of their posts: “Do you expect me to put that cheap strap on my $15k watch?”. Typically specialising in affordable (~S$50) fabric straps, RSM decided to push themselves to see if they could develop a fabric strap that wouldn’t look out of place with high-end luxury watches.
After all, tons of enthusiasts love pairing their Submariners, Speedmasters, etc with fabric straps. Yet, most of the fabric strap offerings in the market are cheap and mass-produced, a far cry from the bespoke leather straps that are often seen paired with luxurious watches. RSM saw a niche, and decided to fill it.
Starting from the fundamentals, RSM had to first decide which type of fabric to utilise. It needed to be a step up from the polyester/nylon/cotton yarns that are commonly used in cheaper fabric straps. The brand eventually settled upon silk – a material the RSM describes as “fit for a king”.
Just like how even the most beautiful alligator hide requires a competent leathercrafter, RSM needed to find an artisanal weaver to transform silk into fabric straps. After some searching, the brand found a Chinese specialist with over 25 years of experience that was “just as intrigued and committed to seeing this through”. As such, the entire weaving process – dyeing yarns, preparing warp, threading up loom and weaving – is done by hand, using a loom machine that was custom specified in Germany. RSM states that such a process results in each individual strap requiring half a day to complete.
Due to the painstaking nature of the weaving process, the finished pattern is intricately detailed – almost like guilloche. Upon close inspection, it resembles a series of bowties (at least to me), although the brand states that it’s inspired by the textures of a filing tool. It’s certainly a design that I’ve never seen before, and a breath of fresh air as compared to the usual herringbone/stripes/twill patterns found in affordable fabric straps.
You may also have noticed by now that unlike a conventional fabric strap, the silk strap has no holes. This is because silk is a natural fibre (unless nylon/polyester, which are synthetic), and will fray over time if holes are punched. As such, RSM had to engineer a buckle from scratch that would allow wearers to achieve a perfect fit even without strap holes.
The buckle system took some getting used to, but after I was familiar with it I was able to get a good fit easily. In fact, it arguably provides a better fit than regular strap holes due to greater adjustability, and is more convenient to use as well as compared to Marine Nationale parachute straps. RSM states that the strap should fit wrist sizes of 6 to 8.5 inches.
The strap’s thinness – a mere 1.3mm – should also be highlighted. Yet, unlike regular thin fabric straps, the silk strap felt incredibly sturdy, making them a good fit when paired with tool watches such as my Submariner. The result was a comfortable wear on the wrist.
As the icing on the cake, the strap is also reversible, and finished with the identical patterning. In other words, both sides are equally wearable. On my blue colourway, the alternative colour is grey, which I’ve actually worn a couple of times (grey is an eminently versatile colour that pairs well with a variety of watches, including the Submariner).
Conclusion – so RSM’s Silk Strap “shiok” or not?
I’ll say this – RSM’s Reversible Silk strap is the best fabric strap that I’ve reviewed. The strap is sturdy, the patterning is intricate, and I definitely appreciate the artisanal workmanship involved. The stumbling block however is its price. At $189 USD/ ~S$248, it’s more than triple the price of RSM’s current offerings, and a pretty penny for a fabric strap. That being said, it’s worth noting that Omega currently sells its basic nylon strap for S$250 – the RSM Silk strap is much better value by comparison. And given its reversible nature, it’s essentially two straps in one.
Those interested in purchasing from RSM Straps can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products from its webstore. After the discount, the RSM Reversible Silk strap can be had for just $161 USD/~S$223. It’s certainly a strap worthy of a 15K watch. My personal knock is that it’s currently only available in 20mm width – hopefully more options will be made available down the line.
View the RSM Reversible Silk Strap here.
View RSM’s full range of offerings here.
(The Rolex Submariner ref. 1680 seen here is also available for sale. Interested parties can email me at email@example.com.)
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P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.