Style: Leather Zulu
Size Reviewed: 24mm
See the Review on PaneraiSource:
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Style: Leather Zulu
Size Reviewed: 24mm
See the Review on PaneraiSource:
Style: Straight Vintage Panerai
Size Reviewed: 26mm x 26mm
I’ve been a fan and friend of Norman at Nubostraps for many years, and have owned many of his straps in that time. When I needed a new strap for my fixed lug RXW MM25 Cali Dial Homage, I turned to Norman to come up with a unique strap to wear with my watch that didn’t look like the other rivet staps that came with it. He suggested that he could make hidden screws! I was like Bring it baby! And so he did:
I told Norman I wanted the stitching to be as close to the edge as possible, and I also chose the colors. He definately got that stitching close to the edge and i think it looks awesome. The leather has a wonderful deep oil finish to it and a nice soft hand. Stitching is a black color to blend in better with the oxblood leather of the strap.
Here’s a shot of the back of the strap, and you will notice that the holes in the back look oblong while they look circular from the front. That’s because Norman punches the holes at an angle so the tang can sit nicely without bending the leather around the holes, resulting in a better strap feel.
There’s Nubo’s cool and funky stamp on the back of the strap on the tail. Strap has a single wide floating keeper, executed very nicely. Strap slides in easily and doesn’t rattle loose. I actually really like the contraste between the front and back leathers. Most makers would have made it with a black leather back, but not Nubo… always the doing something different and refusing to conform. I like that!
Here’s a close-up shot of the grain and tanning on the strap. Great feeling leather on this one.. no Italian smell, but none of that cheap leather smell either. Its kind of neutral smelling, but has a great feel and great look to it. Thanks Norman for the great strap!
Retail Price: $54.95US
Street Price: $47.95US
Size Reviewed: 22mm x 20mm
The Di-Modell Pilot Strap is very similar to the Chronissimo Strap, but lacks the additional layer of leather and the lug area over-wrap which gives the Chronissimo it’s iconic look. However, the Pilot strap is no slouch… it wears very nicely and looks fantastic on pilot and chronograph watches.
The Pilot Strap from Di-Modell features a double row of two-tone stitching. The outer stitch is a sort of Ivory colored stitching and the inner stitch is a matching Brown stitch. While the strap looks a bit black in the photographs, it is really a dark chestnut brown. The Tang buckle side has the leather tab below it that some people don’t like and is often found to be cut off by owners.
As you can see from the markings on the back, the Strap is proudly made in Germany (Deutschland) by hand and measures 22mm at the lugs. Both rows of stitching are brown on the backside. Unlike its bigger brother, the Chronissimo, the Pilot is not waterproof.
The leather has a nice subtle grain and has a great touch to it. Its a softer, almost brushed feeling but does not have the delicate feeling of Calf, so the strap still has a sense of robustness to it. One fixed and one floating keeper make sure the strap fits any size of wrist.
The holes in the strap are a longer hole and allow a more snug fit to the tang buckle than round holes. This makes the strap sit better on the wrist and is a nice subtle touch. As with most Di-Modell straps, especially the ones in this price range, the stitching is impeccable, and the build quality is exceptional. For a strap that costs under $50, it is very nicely done. Most OEM straps in this quality range can be expected to cost upwards of $150.
As usual, Di-Modell does a great job. Recommended.
Steinhart is known for it’s affordable watches, and its association with sister company Debaufre. Most of Steinhart’s watches are very affordable, and most are under $500US. Correspondingly, their watch straps are also very afforable, in the $30 range usually.
When I bought my Steinhart Limited Edition Nav B-Uhr, I received two straps. This Nubuck Buffalo is the one under review here.
As you can see, it is a non-tapering 22mm Pilot style strap, with large tang-holes for Panerai-style thumbnail buckles. The buckle that accompanies the Nav B-Uhr is a thumbnail style buckle, so works well with this configuration.
The rivets are for show only, and only go through the first layer of leather, with no exposed rivet on the bottom. Higher quality straps will use real Chicago Screws to hold the strap together. Stitching is machine done, and straight and looks good. I really wish the leather smelled nicer as properly tanned leather always smells better than the cheap stuff that is done in China. I don’t know where this stuff was tanned, but it does not have the aroma of the good stuff.
As you can see, the rivets are slightly crooked, but this is to be expected on straps like this. I have noticed time and time again that cheaper straps never get the Rivets quite right. Given the modest cost of the straps, however, it is not really a major concern. The color of the strap could be desribed as black, but the nubuck finish of the leather gives it a somewhat lighter appearance.
Looking closely in the holes, and based on the heavily sealed edges, the strap is probably has some filler material on the inside in order to reduce the cost of the strap. While this is common, or even expected at many of the very low price points, it is often seen even in $100 Panerai style straps.
While the straps are of decent quality and work well with the watches that they accompany, they are not tremendous value for money or anything special. Decent stuff, nothing more, nothing less.
The first time I saw a “Bund strap” it was at Sunglasses Hut, and it was mounted on a Gaudy looking Diesel fashion watch. After seeing that monstrosity, I decided that I would never want a strap like that! I never knew that there was actually a rich history associated with the straps and that there were tasteful ways to wear them without looking like a fashion victim – no offense to you guys out there with these types of watches, you can keep wearing it along with your square toe dress shoes, its just not for me.
I found a guy on eBay that sells these straps, and operates under the business name of “Nilsen’s Leather Straps”. He sells affordable straps that seem to keep his customers happy, and so I decided to gamble and pick up one of his Bund Straps, since he was the best compromise between quality and price that I could see. It was either that or move up to the $100+ range. The whole thing cost me just over $30US shipped.
As you can see from the above photograph, I have mounted it on my Eterna Cambridge Automatic watch. Its a 39mm busy-dialed pilot style watch that suits the bund strap quite nicely.
The strap arrived this way with some paper inserted between the strap and the pad, which I assume was to protect it from damage. This worked but there was some damage to the strap from contact on the top side which you can see on the photo below.
The leather has a pleasant smell to it, and is very soft and comfortable to wear. I purchased the strap with the screws for extra pilot authenticity.
You can see here that the edge-kote came off where the strap was inserted into the pad. This is not the natural position of the strap, so this wear spot is visible when wearing the strap, but its not the end of the world. Still would have been nicer had it not been there, however.
The leather is not of the highest quality, and I can’t even say for sure if it is top-grain leather. It has that wrinkle to it that lower-quality leathers get when it is bent backwards. While this is not the best quality strap out there, I’ve seen much more expensive straps with lower quality, and this one is certainly not expensive.
As you can see, the leather used for the watch is two different kinds. A softer spongier tan leather is used for the backing, and the black harder leather is used for the exposed side. The spongey tan leather almost has a synthetic feel to it.
Regardless of the leather quality issues, this is a sharp looking strap. It looks absolutely stunning on my Eterna Cambridge, which is the watch I purchased it for, specifically wanting the black leather/white stitch combination to set off the watch dial. I think its a beautiful looking combination, and am extremely happy with my purchase.
Material: Semi-Matte Alligator
Retail Price: $299.95US
Street Price: $199.95US
Size Reviewed: 20mm x 18mm
While I typically don’t review OEM straps, I purchased this one afterwards to mount on my Speedmaster Sapphire Sandwich and feel its worth looking at since its nice to be able to compare the quality of OEM straps with aftermarket ones. Since I ended up selling the Sapphire Sandwich on the bracelet that it came with, I no longer have an Omega watch to mount this strap to so have been using it on various other 20mm lug width watches I own.
As you can see, this example of the Omega Alligator Strap has a fantastic pattern, with very clean and smooth scales in a rich Burgundy Wine color. The longer un-interrupted look of the single-fold deployant straps makes the watch look so much more elegant in my opinion. I much prefer this configuration over the double butterfly deployants.
There’s a close-up of the nice clean alligator scales. I’ve seen a few of Omega’s Matte Alligator straps, like the one that came with the new Aqua Terra 8500, and was not as big a fan of it as I am of these semi-gloss straps. They seem to have just the right amount of gloss to look classy, but not too much that they look patent.
These Alligator scales are just the right size, and the quality of the scales usually makes or breaks a strap. In this case the quality makes the strap. The matching burgundy stitching works great with this strap as well. Without a doubt one of the higher quality OEM straps on the market, which I suppose justifies their high price.
Overall, and outstanding strap from Omega. Their quality of strap matches those from competitors such as Breitling and JLC, and exceeds the quality of many similarly price brands such as Zenith and Ebel. Having said that, most higher quality aftermarket straps of this caliber are available for just a little over $100, which is a much better value than this is from Omega directly, so I personally would only recommend buying one of these if you require it for the deployant or if you can get it cheap like I did.
Fit and Finish: 8.5/10
Since we’re all about watch straps here, its probably a good idea to know what “Italian Leather” is. Kind of like knowing what “Swiss Made” is when you are buying a Swiss Watch. Of course, any term that attempts to add value to a product tends to be exploited – stuff like “surgical steel” is now no more an indicator of quality than it is a glorified word for “stainless steel”.
Now, back to Italian Leather. What is it exactly? Well, in short, it refers to leather that is tanned in Italy. Italy has some of the best and most experienced tanneries in the world, with 15% of the world’s entire Leather Output. While it means that the leather is tanned in Italy, it does not mean that the cows that produced the leathers were raised in Italy. Much of the leather that is tanned in Italy is farmed in surrounding areas such as Sweden. Part of the reason that so many Tanneries ended up in Italy is because between 1911-1956, polution from tanneries was a problem causing many countries to shut down their leather tanneries.
In the end, while there are great tanneries in Italy, there is nothing really extra-special about their leathers. Generally speaking you are more assured of a better leather from Italy than you are of a leather from say China, but both countries are capable of producing extremely high quality leather.
Material: Semi-Gloss Leather
Retail Price: $99.95US
Size Reviewed: 22mm x 20mm
Hirsh is the largest of the Austrian strap companies, and makes some of the best production aftermarket straps available – especially for the price. While their products may not compare to the stuff from ABP and other high-end strapmakers, we must consider that their price point is much lower, and their straps are mass-produced, not custom-crafted.
The Riva is an example of a great value strap with lots of character. The immediate comparison that comes to mind is the Panerai Riva strap, which is without a doubt a higher quality strap. If we consider that the Panerai Riva costs 3-4 times more, then the Hirsch Riva becomes more attractive, however.
When carefully examining the quality of the leather, its quite obvious that the Riva is not up to the standards of the Panerai Riva, but its a great strap for MRSP of $99.95, which can be had for about $75-80 online.
As you can see, Hirsch calls it the Rivetta. The holes are the smaller type, with a 2mm taper on this model going from 22mm to 20mm. The sides are fully sealed and rounded, giving the strap a very finished look. The surface of the leather isn’t as smooth as I personally would have liked, but its acceptable to me.
This strap is a bit stiffer than other Hirsch straps that I have purchased in the past, but not overly so.
Like many of Hirsch’s straps, this one is also water resistant. I don’t really like to get my leather straps too wet, so I don’t test out the qualification. I’m sure it won’t survive a 15 minute saltwater dive, but maybe a quick submersion would be okay and a hot day of golf as well.
Overall, I’m quite happy with the Hirsh, and for the $75 that I paid, its an exceptional strap. Its well made and very tough. Comfortable, but not the most comfortable strap I’ve worn – it still makes it through the day without much irritation.
Fit and Finish: 6.5/10
Material: Semi-Matte Crocodile
Retail Price: NA
Street Price: $29.95US
Size Reviewed: 22mm x 18mm
Many of Gucci’s watch straps are manufactured by Camille Fournet in France, who are a fairly large OEM manufacturer of luxury watch straps. Several eBay sellers purchased what appears to be a very large lot of these straps and have been clearing them out on eBay for very good prices, given that their French pedigree and genuine crocodile construction. One of the straps I picked up is this 22x18mm semi-matte crocodile dress strap.
The first photo makes the strap appear to be black, but it is more of a very dark brown, with matching dark brown stitch. The strap is relatively stiff, especially given that it is a moderately thin strap. While not as thing as traditional dress straps, it doesn’t have the thickness of a sport strap.
The crocodile pattern is a large scale variery, with a beautifully clean hide – no imperfections whatsoever. I purchased this strap for a solid rose gold Louis Erard dress watch which requires a 21x18mm strap, and ended up squeezing the strap into the smaller lugs, which worked very well. In fact, this worked so well I purchased another one of these for my Father’s Oris Moonphase which also requires a 21x18mm strap.
The strap is stitched very well, and the profile of the strap has a slight curvature to it at the base, and then tapers to a non-padded strap on the ends. After wearing this strap for several months, it has maintained a very good appearance and continues to look like a strap that is much higher than its street price would suggest. Comparable to crocodile straps in the $150 range, quite easily.
One fixed and one floating keeper, which is a pretty standard configuration for OEM straps, since this is one of them. The buckle notch and the holes in the strap are fairly narrow, keeping consistent with Dress Watches. Sometimes this can be an issue when purchaseing after market straps and fitting OEM buckles to them as notch and hole sizes can vary.
The back is leather backed in matching black leather, and stamped with the Gucci logo and “Genuine Crocodile” as well as “Made in France”. I have owned several of these Camille Fournet manufactured Gucci straps in different styles and all are EXCELLENT straps for the money. I would highly recommend any of them given their very low price point.
Fit and Finish: 8/10
Here’s a video I posted on Youtube about a year ago reviewing a handful of Panerai straps for various aftermarket manufacturers. I have another one coming soon, but for now, I’ll embed this one on here for you guys to watch if you haven’t seen it yet.