What makes a great leather watch strap?

From the beginning, people have been fascinated with the notion of time, but being able to carefully measure it has not always been something to take for granted. Wristwatches have been around since the beginning of the 19th century, yet we only started using them as instruments, or tool watches as we name them today, at the beginning of the 20th century. Cartier Santos is a great example. Made by Louis Cartier in 1904 for his friend, the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Santos is the first purpose-built wristwatch in the world, according to Cartier. However, this may not be entirely accurate [This short introduction to the history of the wristwatch will be followed by a more in-depth presentation]. Other examples include the military trench watches used in the 1st World War. Those were essentially repurposed pocket watches. All of these wristwatches or wristlets, as they used to be called (see the Rolex and Waltham ads bellow), had something in common. They were all fitted on leather straps.

 

Old vintage wrist watch ads for Rolex, Waltham and Mappin & Webb watches

 

Now, let's talk about Sabre. Before even considering launching this collection, I asked myself  "what makes a great two-piece leather watch strap?". First of all, the design would have to be simple and adaptable in order to accommodate popular watch brands and styles. However, that was not the answer. The answer was quality and durability.

Buckle

 Just like the buckle used for our NATO watch straps collections, the Aero-Ballistic and Vestigo, this buckle is made of full solid stainless steel, the prong included. It features a slightly bigger look, beveled edges, a slotted channel to help it sit flush on your wrist, and a curve-shaped profile for added comfort. Available in black PVD or silver.

Blue and Tan Italian Leather Watch Straps by Armilla Watch Bands

Featured product: Sabre Smooth Blue

Sewing thread

Our leather straps are stitched with the renowned Fil Au Chinois linen cable, a luxury thread meant for high-quality leather works. As indicated in the name, this thread is cabled, signifying that the threads are twisted a first time, then assembled and finally twisted a second time. The term "cable", or "corded", indicates this double twist. This significantly increases the solidity of the thread, whilst also making it more rounded, particularly adaptable for leather works. In order to ensure the extreme durability of our leather straps, the stitches are secured three times during the sewing process and the ends are knotted together on the back of the straps. This type of sewing is developed by us and it is a combination of different sewing styles.

Seiko Alpinist SARB017 on the Tan Italian Leather Watch Strap by Armilla

Featured product: Sabre Smooth Whisky fitted on Seiko Alpinist SARB017

Leather

Full-grain Italian leather, the highest quality grade of leather. It comes from the top layer of the hide and includes all of the natural grain. This particular leather that used for our Sabre watch straps is called Buttero and it is 100% pure vegetable tanned. It comes from the Conceria Walpier tannery in Tuscany, Italy. It is extremely durable, yet soft, moulding perfectly onto the wrist. Thanks to its quality and the treatment we apply, this leather will never crack and will last a lifetime. The leather will also patina over time, ageing gracefully throughout its life.

Seiko Alpinist and Davosa Vireo Dual time on Armilla leather watch straps

Featured product: Sabre Smooth Blue fitted on Davosa Vireo Dual Time

Finishing

The finishing featured in this collection is rather minimal. We chose this because we want the leather straps to have a more rugged, tool-like look, hence the words in the product description ''ruggedness meets refinement". Although minimal, the finishing is thorough. During the manufacturing process, the edges of the leather are burnished twice and the leather is treated with balm twice. This process ensures that the leather watch straps last a lifetime.

Italian Leather Watch Straps by Armilla Watch Bands

For NATO watch straps check out What makes a great NATO watch strap?

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Do you have any questions or anything to add? Don't hesitate to comment bellow.

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