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The Best Leather Watch Straps to Complete Your Collection

You can never go wrong with a leather watch strap, try it out now.
Aug 06, 2021

A leather watch strap stands out for one of the most durable materials. This versatile watch strap is suitable for your daily office or even for more formal occasions. Turning back to the beginnings, the first leather strap with wire lugs was invented in 1903 by Anglo-Swiss manufacturer. The inspiration came from the soldiers in South Africas’ Freedom Wars who carried their pocket watches using simple leather bands. This material then surged in popularity during World War I because of its rugged aesthetic design.

Leather actually has various unique characteristics to be considered. It is timeless, withstand the wear and tear, and will immediately perform a very chic and elegant style either for men or women. If you are familiar with this material, you probably are knowledgeable about the types of leather: faux and genuine leathers. 

Faux leather is one of the names for synthetic leather, just like pleather, vegan, and bicast leather. Unlike the genuine one, this faux leather does not use animal hides as the base material. It is made from a plastic base and treated with wax or dye to create the texture and color.

Genuine leather, on the other hand, is made of tanned animal skin—sheep, goat, cow, pig, crocodile, alligator, lizard—that can be recycled anytime. Since day one, the hides from creatures, especially the exotic ones, were widely used, and it led to a sensitive issue to some groups. Therefore, now we know a term called embossing.

Embossing is textures designed on leather, which is mostly calfskin or cowhide. For example, Mido Commander Gradient Rose Gold Ref. M021.407.36.411.00 has a leather strap with embossed alligator patterns. It is leather, but not from real alligator skin. 

Types of leather watch straps

Similar to other bands, there are several types of leather watch straps that you can have. They are stitched leather straps, perforated leather straps, rally-style straps, leather Nato straps, bund straps, and padded watch straps. Each model is varied in size and has different characteristics. They definitely would make a perfect combination for your watch collection.

Stitched leather watch straps

Stitching is one of the ways, besides gluing, to keep the thickness of a strap in good condition for a very long time. It is usually done by machine or manually by hand if needed. Besides performing robustness, stitching also brings aesthetics to the watch. Matching stitching and leather color is vital here. Rios vintage leather is a good example of a stitched watch leather-strap.

Perforated leather watch straps

The design of perforated leather straps is inspired by the old style of racing gloves and sports seats that had breathable holes. The holes, such as in the Yema Speedgraf, function as ventilation. Therefore this kind of strap is preferable to be used in summer time to keep your skin—where you wear the watch—cool.

Rally-style leather watch straps

Rally strap is named after race and rally cars that were popular in the 60-70s. Rally-strap is actually the same as the perforated one. However, instead of having many holes, rally chooses less-number of them in a bigger size. Not only for the functionality sake, those big holes are intended to make the watch more attractive, just like one of the biggest concerns for a rally car.

Leather Nato strap

Watch enthusiasts know that Nato is an expert in nylon-made straps. It’s reputation for the most secure straps has spread. One time it produced its leather version called G10 and many people started hunting them for the functionality. But, some argue that this leather strap is not genuine Nato.

Bund strap

A strap with a bund or protective leather backing is known as a bund watch strap. This model was first issued to German aviators during World War II. A bund strap is usually made of leather. It can be a single or two-piece strap. The design works best for pilot to dive watches.

Padded watch strap

A padded watch strap means two pieces of leather are stitched or glued together. The padding is to create a luxurious appearance. The model was booming in the 80s as breitling-style padded watch straps came out.

Why leather watch straps?

A strap represents you and your watch, and leather strap never fails in doing that job. Watch leather-straps are classic, desired by many. Not to mention the durability, softness, light feel, and its ability to change up your look and boost confidence.

As closing for today’s article, I will take you to explore the 6 greatest watches that feature an essential leather bracelet. But, if you don’t need the watch, there is also our best leather watch strap collection for you who look for strap changes.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Gunmetal 40mm Ref. AL-525G3TS6

With a fascinating horological history and a tasteful vintage look, the Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Gunmetal 40mm Ref. AL-525G3TS6 is one of the most iconic pilot watches that presents the best leather watch strap with white stitching. This modern version is driven by the brand’s excellent in-house caliber AL-525 automatic movement and features a retro minimalist case measuring 40mm with PVD coating. The overall look still pretty much feels like a pilot’s watch, but still makes a lot of sense for your daily wear from a transatlantic flight to a dinner date.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Gunmetal 40mm Ref. AL-525G3TS6

Aristo Flieger Vintage 42 - 7H102 - Sapphire

For many, the Aristo Flieger Vintage 42 - 7H102 - Sapphire could be considered the father of all best German watches and there are a bunch of reasons why. The flat sapphire crystal, open case-back, vintage tan calf leather with whip stitching, and 42mm stainless steel case, are all it is. Staying faithful to the basics, this timepiece is much inspired by the Flieger (German for Pilot) watches from the 60s.

Aristo Flieger Vintage 42 - 7H102 - Sapphire

Ball Watch Co. Aviator Ref. NM1080C-L3-BK

At the time of its very first introduction, Ball Watch Co. Aviator Ref. NM1080C-L3-BK sent astounding news where its pilot timepiece model carries a timeless traditional look. From the outset, it includes the best leather watch strap that remained vintage with very neat stitching, an anti-magnetic case, an anti-shock system, and a 10-bar water pressure.

Ball Watch Co. Aviator Ref. NM1080C-L3-BK

Damasko DK32

A German watchmaker Damasko successfully presented a cool black vintage 20mm leather watch strap in DK32. It matches the case which has a combination of submarine steel and a splash of dark titanium to generate a classic look and robust construction.

Damasko DK32

Glycine Airman No. 1 Black GMT 36 Ref. GL0370

The Swiss watch brand Glycine celebrates the Golden Age of Flying in the 50s by announcing Airman No. 1 Black GMT 36 Ref. GL0370 to us. This Glycine timepiece is perfect for someone who loves doing an intercontinental flight due to its GMT feature. Offering durable 20mm leather watch strap and modern design, you won’t believe that you can get this functional watch without costing a large amount of money.

Glycine Airman No. 1 Black GMT 36 Ref. GL0370

Steinhart Nav B-Uhr 42 Handwind Bronze Black Antique

Though there are so many great worldwide watch brands out there, Steinhart Nav B-Uhr 42 Handwind Bronze Black Antique does deserve a place. A bronze case gives a more vintage touch coupled with a Russian brown leather strap. No worries, all numbers on the black antique dial have been painted with SuperLuminova BGW9 to keep legibility in mind.

Steinhart Nav B-Uhr 42 Handwind Bronze Black Antique

RIOS Grained Leather Dallas 

But, what if you already own your best watch but want to remove it strap into a watch leather strap material? RIOS Grained Leather Dallas is here for you, made by the finest embossed cowhide. Coming in well-proportioned, this 20mm leather watch strap is worth buying.

RIOS Grained Leather Dallas

RIOS Vintage Leather Birmingham

Another alternative of high-end vintage calf leather? RIOS Vintage Leather Birmingham speaks at its best for your dive watch or sports watch. Further, the Rios saddler's seam manufacturing technique takes you to a higher level of durability.

RIOS Vintage Leather Birmingham

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