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That leather strap...

This post was written on the move, so excuse incoherent thought and lack of photos.

Now, being a frequent visitor of watch shops and having a major crush for vintage watches kinda exposes me to varying degrees of icky on leather straps.

I’ve seen it all - shiny patent, distressed adventurer, moldy diver, hardened jerky... you name it.

All except the LNIB leather band, still new despite years of use, despite having said watch being taken in and out of its owner’s wrist.

I’m in a stickler for that minty leather strap. More often than not (like a close 9 out of 10 times) I will dispose of any leather strap that comes with my newly acquired pieces.

Being such a picky leather whore has equipped me with a few tips and techniques that I like to share with the rest of the community.

It may be common sense, it may be way too much attention, it may be the next best thing since a 50% discount at a Rolex store.

What I’m saying is, here’s how I take care of my straps. Just a few easy precautions.

1. Don’t use the first strap keeper

A keeper is the part of the watch that you slot your strap in to keep it from poking out.

After I put my leather strap through the buckle, I like to go straight to the second keeper (usually the free moving one) and use only that.

This way it prevents me from having to bend the entire strap in too much just to get it in the first keeper.

2. Putting the buckle on carefully

Most of the damage to a leather strap comea when you bend the strap too much to get it into the buckle or to put it in the first keeper.

Now that you know not to use the firs keeper, I’d like to share in how not to bend it too much while buckling.

When inserting the watch into the buckle, always ensure that the longer strap (the one with all the holes pokes into it) remains as straight as possible.

I like to placey index finger under the longer strap and use thatto gently push the buckle pin up along the strap. What people usually do is to yank the strap in the opposite directionto force the pin in.

Once you get the pin to the right hole, it should fall right in and you can then move to secure the strap in the second keeper.

The reverse is true for taking the watch off - use the index finger to push the strap down gently, releasing the pin and allowing you to remove the watch without stressing the strap.

3. Punching a good hole

Invest in a proper strap punch that allows you to put a clean hole through the strap instead of just busting a tear through it. That way you get a neater cut and less stress on the leather.

We can all spend quite a bit of money on a good strap, and keeping it in good condition is but making sure your hard-earned money goes a longer way.

4. Letting the strap dry at the end of a wear

Now the thing about leather straps is that it can get wet, and when they so they aren’t like your bracelets where you can apply a little tissue to clean dry.

Leather absorbs the water and typically takes a few hours to dry completely, so leaving it out in the air to dry out before putting it into the watch box or cupboard is a good way of not getting it moldy too soon.

5. Storage woes

If you’re like me, and have a whole load of leather straps that I like to switch between the watches, you’re going to need to try and store them as separately as possible.

I typically keep the straps individually wrapped and in a dry wooden box. That way the leather won’t come into contact with each other too much that causes them to stick and damage on the peel.

6. Using a deployant claps

For the really picky (me) there is always the option of the deployant - a butterfly shaped buckle that replaces the traditional pin buckle. Using a deployant clasp rids you of the need to bend the strap at all, allowing you many many years of use on a strap.

You're going to get bored of it before it dies on you, most chance. The only trade-off? A slight discomfort in the wrist as the clasp presses against your wrist.

Got more? Contact me and I’ll add em in here!

©.2023. Reproduce with permission. Further enquiries at

Best viewed on desktop, because you should really take your time with vintage.

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