Hello! Thank you for visiting my website, if you are considering to purchase a watch strap from me, this post will enlighten you on the laborious process of hand-making a watch strap. Almost all the leathers used are sourced from renowned tanneries like Alran, Badalassi, Conceria Walpier, Weinheimer Leder, etc. These leathers typically go up to 5-6x of your regular run-off-the-mill leather from regular tanneries due to the stringent standards of their tanning process and the amazing quality of leather that they produce. If you are wearing an expensive, important and sentimental timepiece, the most important thing at this stage is to fit on a strap equally befitting of the prestige and/or provenance of your watch. While you may wonder why the straps cost so much despite the relatively fewer materials required (compared to wallets and bags), it is the specificity and difficulty of making a watch strap to fit precisely that makes strap-making itself a niche specialty even within leather crafting.
Stage 1: Fresh Leather Cutting
Initial strap shape cut-out from acrylic template. In this example, an 18mm lug size watch strap will be made using Museum Calf leather from the Ilcea leather tannery. In situations where the lugs are of unusual sizes (17.5, etc.), a custom template will be made. Regular customers also have a custom template made for them to ensure consistency in their strap sizes. As seen below, this template is customised to a Mr. Tommy’s wrist.
Stage 2: Attachment of Lining
At this stage of the strap making process, the lining which touches your skin is attached to the strap. The lining of choice in this case is gold chèvre sully from Alran SAS which is water-resistant and by far, in my humble opinion, far more durable than even Zermatt. After attachment to the lining, I carefully slice out the upper leather to match the lining to yield:
Stage 3: Stitch prep and stitching
Every single stitch is done hole by hole, one stitch at a time with two needles. I utilise high grade pricking irons (KS Blade) to do the prep work, which is to punch diagonal holes into the sides of the strap which will serve to hold my stitches afterwards. In the traditional method of saddle-stitching, the object to stitch is held by a clamp known as a stitching pony. Variants of this pony exists, but the basic idea is to sit on the clamp and have it hold the object right before you firmly as saddle stitching introduces quite a bit of tension onto the strap. In the midst of the saddle stitch.. showing only one needle. The two ways to tell if an object is saddle stitched by hand:
- See if the underside and upper side of the stitching is of the same thread color. Only sewing machines are able to utilise two separate colours in one stitch.
- Saddle stitching produces staggered stitches that look quite like \ \ \ \ rather than a straight line of – – – – –
As seen above, the stitched part of the strap shows a staggered stitch. The right piece is un-stitched.
Stage 4: Edge Finishing
This is the lengthiest and possibly the most difficult step of the whole strap-making process. The repeated need to dry the edges, sand, melt and reapply the dye. This repeated process yields edges which look somewhat like that –
Stage 5: Completion
The end result is a beautiful and lasting strap that should last for years if cared for correctly! Thank you for reading. This museum calf strap is available for order to your specification at my calf strap selection.