Keeping up with fashionable styles and ensuring that you can find the best options for your accessories is crucial. Watches are one of the most noticeable accessories that people wear and it helps in making your first impression.
For many of us, watches are one of the finest accessories and expensive watches are considered an investment. However, the overall look of a beautiful watch is enhanced with the right type of strap. At present several materials are being used in making straps. However, leather is the best choice because it is stylish and durable. Leather Watch Strap can easily be matched with a belt, shoes, tie, handbag and outfit.
9 Key Points to Consider Before Buying a Pair of Leather Watch Straps:
(a) Types and sources of leather for the watch strap
(b) Leather temper
(c) Leather strap thickness
(d) Hardware (buckle and pins) of the strap
(e) Size of the watch strap
(f) Padded Vs non padded leather watch strap
(g) Watch strap stitching pattern
(h) How to match the watch strap with the outfit
(i) Leather strap finish
⦁ Types And Sources of Leather for Watch Straps.
The source and type of leather used to craft watch straps or any other leather accessories determines their quality.
⦁ Leather Temper.
Leather temper measures the pliability and softness, and it can be sensed when you hold it in your hands and have a specific reaction when you fold or bend it.
Regarding the leather used for crafting a watch strap, there are different levels of softness and flexibility; some prefer semi-stiff, while others believe stiffness is better. Some leather straps are softer from the beginning and a few become softer when they are used with time.
Four Levels of Leather Softness.
(a) Soft – Commonly used in clothing and leather accessories. In watch straps, softness it’s mostly preferred by ladies & formal wearers.
(b) Semi-soft – Mostly used for making handbags, shoes, and watch straps.
(c) Semi-Stiff – This is ideal for outdoor bags and boots but is not limited to these two.
(d) Stiff – most likely to be used in bags, shoes and belts.
⦁ Leather Strap Thickness.
leather thickness is measured in ounces, and some artisans convert it to millimeters (mm) to make it easily understandable for the customers. In watch straps, leather thickness is more of a personal choice. Most leather watch straps range from 3 mm to 4.5 mm to keep the wrist comfortable and watch lightweight; however, if you go over 4.5 mm then try to get a longer pair of straps to give a bit of comfort to the wrist. You are also likely to find 3 millimeters to be a common measure for smaller watches.
Remember that thicker leather watch straps will fit tighter at the start, but after a couple of weeks, they will start getting softer and more comfortable.
Hardware (Buckle and Pins) Quality.
Good quality watch straps should come up with quality hardware too, which makes the watch more stable on the wrist and maintains its beauty.
⦁ Size Of The Leather Watch Straps.
Lug and wrist sizes are important to know before finalizing a strap purchase. Lug size is normally mentioned at the back of the preowned strap or can be found with the watch manufacturer, or a ruler can be used to measure it in mm(Strap size guide can also be consulted). If you have an average wrist, it’s ok to purchase a standard-length strap that isn’t described as extra-long or short.
Two-piece straps can be adjusted smaller when buckled, so it is not an issue if the strap length is longer than needed.
⦁ Padded Vs None Padded Leather Watch Straps.
Padded leather watch straps have some padding material stitched between two layers of leather, giving the strap an elegant and luxurious look. Padding material could be cardboard, cotton wadding to neoprene foam, synthetic, or even leather.
Different straps have different types of making (manufacturing) and designs, some have lining glued and stitched underside of the strap and some vintage straps are made with single layers of leather to enhance their vintage look. The lining material is mostly a type of leather that is sweat observant like Zermatt, suede, Epsom or chevre.
⦁ Watch Strap Stitching Patterns.
Different types of stitching patterns are implemented in making leather watch straps. It’s more of a personal preference. Though some are preferred for casual, and some are formal, some can be used for both. Some people prefer conservative stitching, while others like highly contrasting and visible stitching.
⦁ Most Common Watch Strap Stitching Patterns.
(a) Box Stitching
(b) Closed stitching
(c) Accent Stitching
(d) Minimal Stitching
(e) Out stitching
(f) Open Stitching
They all offer more or less the same durability, and there is nothing particularly different about strap quality which varies with stitching style.
⦁ How Leather Watch Strap Matching Works.
Following is the basic criteria to match the watch strap with outfit and the watch itself.
04 Basic Rules to Match Your Leather Watch Straps.
First, look at the other accessories you are wearing, like belt, shoes, and bag, then choose the same strap color. A little bit of variation in color tone is acceptable, but the main color should be the same; like black strap will go with the black belt and shoes, and brown will go with brown shoes and belt.
⦁ Color Of the Dial.
Mainly there are four colors in dials, blue, black, silver, and white. Most watch straps are matched with the dials (e.g., black leather watch strap with black dial/blue leather watch strap with blue dial); a brown or tan strap is the perfect choice for silver and white dials.
⦁ Hands And Marker of The Dial.
The marker color of the timepiece hands should also be considered when purchasing a pair of watch straps. It’s recommended to match the stitch color of the strap with the marker color of the hands of the watch.
⦁ Know Your Wardrobe.
Another important thing is to consider your wardrobe, for example, if green is dominating your belongings, then you must consider buying a green leather watch strap.
⦁ Leather Finish.
It’s more of a personal choice , however , knwoing the options in leather finish are important.The leather finish can be smooth, bumpy, vintage, shiny or distressed. It’s important to note that some finishes, like Pebble and Epsom, have some resistance to scratches and a few don’t have this characteristic.
10 Most Common Leather Textures Used for Watch Straps’ Making:
Knowing the nature of different leather textures and their advantages is very important before buying leather accessories. Some are smoother & softer, and others have some designs printed on them; some have vintage looks and certain types have better resistance against scratches.
Soft| Best for Dress watches| unisex wearing|.
Aniline is a special type of dying process. This leather is not even in color all over due to different amounts of dying material and color applied in different areas of a hide.
Semi soft | Suitable for Dress & Sports watch | Popular for Men watches.
It has a durable leather texture and runs through a very specific tanning process. You can expect some creasing on it while bending, and it can get scratched quite easily.
Very soft | Velvety feel | equally good for formal & casual wearing| Best for Men & Women’s watches.
It is a very soft and smooth made from the underside of the animal’s skin. Mostly, cowhide’s suede is used in crafting accessories like shoes,jakets,bags and watch straps. Natural Fibres are visible on the suede watch strap and can be felt by touching.
The Vintage Look | Semi soft | famous for Men’s watches | Preferred in Casual wearing.
Crazy horse leather is known for its beauty and durability. It is called crazy horse because in the initial days it was used to make saddles . Straps made with crazy horse leather look vintage and feel better as time passes.
Traditional Leather| visible grains | Semi-soft | liked by Men & Women.
It’s often made from cow leather and has a very rich and dark look that is ideal for those who want a traditional look and feel. The wax is applied to give it a bit of Patina look .
Soft | well-known type of leather | Liked by Men & Women
As the name describes, pebbles (bumps) are created on the animal skin with a specific treatment that makes it scratch resistant and needs less care compared to other types of leather.
Soft & smooth | Best for Dress watches | liked by Men & Women
Unlike suede, Nubuck leather is made from the upper side of animal skin, making it more durable than suede leather. Its surface is sanded to make it smoother and leave some natural fibres intact.
Semi soft |Suitable for Dress & casual watches| liked by Men and Women
As the name shows, it has something natural, like a vegetable. Vegetable tanning is an old and natural process of tanning. Accessories crafted with this leather are expensive, stand out from other leather goods, and develop a richer patina over time.
Semi stiff |Suitable for casual & sports watches| liked by men
To give a vintage and aged appearance to leather, a technique is used to give creases and wrinkles on leather to enhance the look of the accessories made out of this leather.
Soft||Suitable for casual & sports watches| liked by Men & Women
It is stamped and embossed calf leather, which makes it lightweight and stiff, and it is also known for its ability to retain structure over time.
Final thoughts on leather watch straps:
Your preference is the dominating factor in choosing a leather watch strap; however, leather sources and their types, stitching pattern, leather thickness, leather color, texture and stiffness are some of the major factors that make a watch strap different from another in quality and comfort.