Review: Barton Elite Silicone watch bands and the 420 Amfibia

Binning the bracelet was the first thing I did when I got my 420379 Amfibia. It was a nasty piece of work and within 5 seconds I realized that everything bad that I heard, read or saw on YT reviews about them was true.

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The Vostok Amfibia is charming in its own rough and primitive way but the bracelet that came with it didn’t have a single redeeming feature, beside fitting very nicely inside the trash bin.

That left me in a conundrum because at that time I didn’t have any 18mm straps, and had to  go on a hunt. I tried several straps and brands until I settled on a bi-colored silicone watch band from the Elite range of Barton. This was the first experience I had with silicone straps in general and Barton in particular.

My experience so far is mostly a positive one and it started when I discovered that each strap is sold with two lengths of the "long side" which ensured that I could find the exact length for my wrist size. The straps are also fitted with quick release spring bars, which saved me the hassle of buying new bars, the original having found their way to the landfill together with the bracelet.

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Another really nice feature is the large hole at the end of the strap where the second keeper can lock in and therefore keep it tidy. However another identical keeper is also used closer to the buckle and it won't fit the smaller holes. I could slice its bump with a hobby knife but decided that it doesn't matter a lot and kept it as it is.

The Elite range span a wide variety of sizes from 18mm to 24mm and includes odd sizes such as 19, 21 and even 23mm. The only problem is that not all colors will be available in all sizes. I had no problems finding a 18mm navy blue/crimson bi-color strap and after fitting it to my blue 420 Amfibia with its Pepsi bezel I found that it was a very good color match for the watch and that Barton didn't skimp on the buckle, which feels solid. So far the colors are holding without fading and I can't see any sign that the use of two colors will cause the strap to delaminate. So, good quality overall.

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Less positive is the fact that silicone act like a flypaper for dust. There is absolutely no way to keep it clean and I end up each day looking as if I spent my time digging in a talc mine.

Another issue I have concern the underside of the strap which is completely flat and is lacking a way to let sweat escape from under the strap. I don't have an allergy to silicone but for those who are sensitive the combination of sweat and a silicone strap might be a very uncomfortable one.

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This is somewhat puzzling because there is a pattern molded into the upper side of the strap and the therefore the decision to keep a smooth underside seems a bit of an oversight.

On the wrist the strap feel very soft and it follow well the contour of my wrist, but there is more to comfort than softness and this is where I think that the strap fall a bit short. because silicone has a very distinctive feel and I'm not sure I like it at all. It's purely personal of course and YMMV as usual.

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The Elite range of Barton isn't the cheapest silicone offering there is, Amazon prices are usually around 20US$ and while this may appear expensive for a silicone strap, I also have to consider the wide range of sizes (where else are you going to find a 23mm option), the two lengths, and the choice of colors. Taken all together I think it's a fair price for what you get.

Review: Barton Elite Silicone watch bands and the 420 Amfibia

3.2
Yes No
5/5
1/5
1/5
4/5
5/5
  • Well made, won't delaminate
  • Two length straps included
  • wide range of sizes and color options
  • Second keeper locks in place
  • quick release springbars
  • Lint & Dirt magnet
  • Flat underside
  • First keeper won't lock in
  • That "silicone" feeling on your skin

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The Vaer OEM silicone bands are suspected to be private label Barton Elites. Barring the length option, this totally jibes with my experience. I think rinsing and drying under compressed air got it satisfactorily clean and dust-free for a minute or two. The total lack of airflow texture on the back is completely puzzling, as this is something that has become very de riguer and perfected by even very cheap makers,  

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OscarKlosoff

The Vaer OEM silicone bands are suspected to be private label Barton Elites. Barring the length option, this totally jibes with my experience. I think rinsing and drying under compressed air got it satisfactorily clean and dust-free for a minute or two. The total lack of airflow texture on the back is completely puzzling, as this is something that has become very de riguer and perfected by even very cheap makers,  

I think you are correct, looking at the pictures on Vaer site the quick release silicone straps are looking identical to the Barton Elite.