Most of my straps are tapered style with lug widths of 20mm, 22mm, 24mm and 26mm and usually 2mm less on a buckle side. Straps are about 4mm - 5mm thick, which is the perfect thickness of strap for a big watch like Panerai, Bell&Ross, Rolex, IWC, Lum-Tec, U-BOAT, Breitling and Tag Heuer. Since all my straps are handmade the list of watch producers and strap dimensions doesn't stops here. I can do any strap from 16mm lug width in any thickness, just send me a picture or producer/model of your watch and I'll come back with a design proposal.
Since leather is an organic material, the finishing of a strap is crucial to strap life. We can distinguish between 'strap surface' and 'strap edge' finish. During the surface finish process, the leather grain side is saturated with oils and waxes which feeds the leather and prevents it from becoming stiff and brittle. The final step is to apply a top coat that protects the leather from moisture, scratches and dirt.
Strap edge finishing is possibly the most important element that distinguishes professional from amateur work. All my straps have fully finished edges. There are two edge finishing techniques; the first involves edge burnishing, painting and varnishing. The second uses paints, hot irons and waxes - which can be found in Hermés and other luxury leather products and needless to say requires three to four times more work than first technique, but the final result is magnificent! No wonder why Hermés straps and belts are considered state of the art.
I am amazed and disappointed at how many strap manufacturers have no edge finishing what so ever on their straps. Possibly design or fashion may be used to justify skipping this essential step, but by leaving the strap edges unfinished it will soak water and being unprotected it soaks up any perspiration. This inevitably leads to the strap becoming stained and hard in texture and ultimately shortens the life of the strap.
It is important to stress the fact that there is no waterproof leather. If is it a waterproof strap, then it is not a leather strap! In order to make a leather strap waterproof, so much acrylic and wax would be needed that the product would neither feel, smell nor look like leather. So, my leather straps are not waterproof since I am applying as little as possible water-repellant solutions as possible.
There are many different styles of buckle attached to straps. My favourite buckles are called Pre-V and thumbnail buckles. Pre-V or fishtail buckles are usually associated with Panerai and Anonimo watches and are suitable for thick straps. Thumbnail or ardillon buckles are more traditional ones and, in my opinion, better suited to a thinner watch strap. I also offer the classic double-folding deployant clasps although this buckle should be avoided on thin strap tails (typically 1-2mm) as it could potentially shorten the strap's life.
I stock buckles with two types of fittings, spring bar and screw bar. Spring bar buckles are the most requested as they are good looking, well made, and allow quick & easy removal and fitting. If you are concerned about the durability of spring bars, keep in mind: Patek, Breguet, Rolex, Omega and many other watchmakers rely on spring bars in their straps and bracelets. Screw bar buckles are a more expensive option, but worth the extra cost in my opinion. Heavier duty to the spring bar buckles with a screw bar to allow for easy changing.
The buckles I stock come in three finishings; polished, brushed and black PVD in 20,22,24 and 26mm in width. Deployant clasps comes as polished and rose gold and supports 20mm strap tails.
Regardless of what country you come from i.e. using the imperial or metric system, all straps internationally are measured in millimeters.
For example the width of the strap could be expressed as 24/22 where the first number is the width of the strap between the lugs of the watch. The second number is the width of the strap at the buckle. A strap can be straight - one that is the same width at the lugs and the buckle, i.e 22/22 or tapered - one that tapers in width from the lugs to the buckle, i.e 24/22. Most of the straps I produce are tapered even though I recommend straight straps.
Length of the strap is expressed as follows 125/75, while the width is expressed for example like 24 and is usually printed on inside of the strap. The first number (125) is the length in millimeters of the tongue side of the strap and the second number (75) is the length in millimeters of the buckle side. How do you know what size you need? The strap length is based on wrist size, thickness of the strap and personal preferences about much tongue overlaps the buckle (tail). If you still have the original watch strap that came with the watch, then you would probably need one size up as my straps are usually ticker than original (with a few exceptions like Panerai). To measure your wrist size, wrap a piece of paper band or thread around your wrist, mark the crossing point on the thread/overlapping point on the paper band, lay it flat on a table and measure the distance between the marks. This is your wrist size. Thickness of all my straps are around 4mm which makes usual conversion tables inaccurate. Please take a look on the measurement table below. Even though sizes can work longer than you are used to, remember that thicker straps are worn shorter than thinner ones.
|150 - 164mm (6.0 - 6.5") wrist||120/70|
|165 - 178mm (6.6 - 7.0") wrist||125/75|
|179 - 190mm (7.1 - 7.5") wrist||130/80|
|191 - 203mm (7.6 - 8.0") wrist||135/80|
|204 - 216mm (8.1 - 8.5") wrist||140/85|
|217 - 229mm (8.6 - 9.0") wrist||145/90|
If you are opting for a thicker strap than 4mm, than I suggest you pick the strap one size up. In general strap length is a question of personal preference, just like the wearing style i.e. loose on you wrist or tight, so there is no right or wrong. People usually start wearing watches tight to the wrist and with shorter straps and over time begin to gravitate towards longer straps and looser wearing style. For instance my wrist size is 205mm which, according the table, suggest 140/85. This size works perfectly for me on my 44mm Panerai, and I wear watches a little bit looser and prefer little more tail with buckle off center on my wrist.
Please note that measurements are given for big watches (44 - 47mm), for smaller watches I suggest adding 5mm on both measurements. Padding and thickness tapering towards the end of the tongue brings just more complexity while deciding about right length. If you're not sure what width strap your watch uses or whether a straight or tapered strap is more appropriate, or what length fits best for your wrist/watch, please contact me, otherwise you can send me a picture of your watch, and we'll figure it out. If you are unsure how to take the measurements, please have a look at an excellent measurement guide at WatchWorx for detailed explanation.
As mentioned before, leather is an organic material which requires some maintenance time to time. Maintenance of leather is not complicated process, you just use some leather balm or even hand-cream. For best results and longevity of your strap I recommend the use of specialised leathers conditioners like Lexol. So, apply a small amount of conditioner to a clean cloth. Rub conditioner into strap in a gentle massaging motion than wipe off excess and repeat if necessary. Remember, multiple light coats are better than one heavy coat.
Please note that all my straps are conditioned and protected in the last step of strap producing meaning you don't have to worry about maintenance in about 2 or 3 years, depending of weather and wearing conditions.