I would suggest that the vast majority of people that wear a "divers" watch are not scuba divers. They are a (IMHO) a bullshit jewellery item for people that think they are James Bond. Your question therefore is wrong headed in that you are asking people that dive and 99.99999% of us dive with a computer not a watch and if we wear a watch (to tell the time) it is probably going to meet the answers given by the posts above as having the strap it came with or it is an expensive one and has an expensive strap, not a bit of cut up smelly old wetsuit.
So I would suggest you are talking to the wrong target market. I offer that serious opinion as a person with a Masters in Marketing. Your target is more likely to be people that want to pretend to be "green" but are still materialistic. The sort of person that takes "eco holidays" and buys a bullshit tree planting service to offset their international flights to go skiing.
I wish you success, but on a forum like this you can probably expect more of a pisstake than an serious answer. (That is the only serious answer you are getting from me )
I have a dive watch that I wear daily to tell the time. It's 35 years old and was bought when computers were in their infancy - I didn't buy my first one until 1988 (which I still have though don't use). My watch has a stainless steel strap with an extension feature to allow it to be extended to fit over a wetsuit. When I used it for diving all those years ago, I had a neoprene cuff with a hole cut in it to protect against loss. I can't see why I would want a neoprene strap which as others have said would be wet for some time after a dive.
You also have the issue that if you do ever manage to produce and sell any, it'll be such a niche market, you are unlikely to cover your costs, and if it was to prove a popular idea, the watch manufacturers would simply produce their own version, with better economies of scale, and that's your chance of competing gone.
There are people out there selling NATO watch straps as they can provide more bespoke designs - like regimental colours on the strap etc. Not sure a worn, faded, slightly piss-smelling neoprene wetsuit will compete as a fashion accessory.
It’s good to get a range of feedback on the idea. As with everything these days, it all comes down to personal preference; whether this be diver specific or just another "fashion accessory". And yes, maybe this isn't the best forum to get a 'balanced' range of feedback, but that's also fine.
In terms of the quality of the product, I have plenty of confidence in this as there's a range of upcycled neoprene products on the market - you can buy bags, sunglasses glasses and even yoga matts! Again, you can argue this is just another "eco" initiative but actually there's a decent story behind all of these brands.
The question around whether someone would buy such a product again comes down to personal preference. As a diver, I use a dive computer - it's as simple as that. Some people like 'dive watches', some people don't. For me, as a watch lover, yes I would wear both, but completely understand why some people would not.
Once I have a working sample, I'd be happy to share. I'm excited to see how this looks and hope you guys will be too!
The only issue I see with wetsuit neoprene is that it stays damp for ages. And with that comes the inevitable stink. I wear a dive watch pretty much 24/7 - it very rarely comes off (yes, I even wear it diving!). It's fairly long into its second NATO strap in 20 years, which shows no sign of giving up anytime soon. I paid less than a fiver for the last one...
Best of luck Sean - see if you can punt your prototypes to any scuba brands who might be interested in getting their logos on there. I'm genuinely interested in what you come up with.
I don't want to get technical or anything, but alcohol IS a solution
Unlike many on these boards I do wear a dive watch mainly because I like wearing a watch, do 350 to 450 dives every year and hate leaving an expensive watch in the car while I'm diving so it's easier to take it with me. Having said that there isn't a cat in hell's chance of me wearing a neoprene strap, it's not hard wearing enough.
Thanks ! Appreciate the feedback. I have seen watch straps made 100% from neoprene and agree not pleasing on the eye. My watch strap will not be like this. I will be very happy to share my prototype when I have a working sample. Look forward to getting your views! Cheers. S
Maybe we are the odd couple of divers that share a passion for a good old fashioned dive watches. Iíll be sure you keep you updated on the watch strap design. Thanks for the feedback.