Can't say that there is an issue. There is a bit of resistance...but I would imagine that is there to prevent it from moving under water. Ah the rubber strap. Mine came as it is with the same bracelet as yours. I do have a Tauchmeister 1000m diver that I was forced to removed the rubber strap from and replaced it with a cheap but blinged out metal bracelet. That rubber was terrible for pulling hair and was a true dust magnet. now when I go out in the sun, it blazes like the sun with all those stones. It was supposed to be a temporary fix until I could source a more appropriate 24mm bracelet for it, but it has grown on me. I think I may have been a crow in a former life.
That is a terrible experience. I would be very angry about that and I would probably try contacting Seiko directly about it.Maybe if they know it is a known issue they will consider replacing it for you, especially so close to the warranty period.Def