Thoughts on Various Watch Strap Brands

Please learn from my watch strap buying mistakes, so that you may spend your money better.

I buy a lot of watch straps, and certainly I have this year especially. Because of this, I have developed an affinity for some brands over others, so I thought it would be good to talk about my experience with each brand generally in hopes you might agree with me on my choice for the best watch straps.

Watches of Espionage

A very popular watch strap from those who like spy-shit and Rolex watches. These straps are beefy. As a lover of desert night camo, I’ve only had hands on with that model. It’s a well made, and very nice strap. It’s the type of strap that is made to age. The canvas will and does fray at the edges with wear. It is meant to look well worn and loved.

The leather is supremely nice as well, and quite thick. There are two drawbacks for me with this strap: I felt it was too thick and added too much bulk for the watches I was trying to pair it with (Datejust), and I had trouble finding a watch I owned which paired well with this DNC color. At $185 it is a touch overpriced for what you get, but what you get is something you cannot get elsewhere, so the price seems justified. You’ll need to act lighting quick if you want one. I am neutral on this strap, but if they offered another color choice, I would try again. If you have a Submariner or GMT-Master, I bet this would be a great strap for you.

Saga Trading Co (Peplor) Watch Strap

I snagged the Frogskin Watch Strap, which is made by Peplor (you can order direct as well) for Saga Trading Co. Like the last strap, these are 20mm and seem designed mostly for Rolex watches. Unlike the last strap, these offer a lot more in value and wear. The strap is much more refined, even with the dead stock canvas top. It’s a thinner strap which will still show fraying over time, but over a much longer time. It has a nice tapering and finishing on the strap as well.

It comes with a matching pouch, which is a nice touch and really nicely made. I’ve found this strap to be fantastic to wear, as it is thin, but high quality. The coloring is great as well. At $155 this is not inexpensive, but for the overall package and quality being offered, it’s spot on. I am a fan of these straps, but they are quirky and that should be noted.

Delugs

I snagged the Dark Grey Alcantara from Delugs and was immediately smitten with it. Unlike suede, Alcantara doesn’t have the brushing marks in the nap, and thus presents a clean appearance. The strap was soft and flexible out of the box and was great to wear on day one.

Visually, and practically, this is a stellar strap. It’s unlikely to show much wear over time, and should keep on going without issue. At $95 this strap feels priced correctly for the quality and comfort. It’s not something I want on every watch, but if you want to always have a clean but soft look, this is it right here.

Keepiece Epsom

I first learned of these straps via a BST post for them on Reddit, I have only one, but they are quite impressive. The Epsom leather is subtly textured and is described as a leather often used on luxury hand bags. It feels and looks like that as well. These straps are best described as delicate.

They are very thin and visually look narrow. The leather is incredibly flexible without feeling weak. It hugs your wrist and has absolutely no break in needed. Then you look at the price, and at $59 these are perhaps the best value strap on the market, certainly this list for the quality you are getting. The biggest downside is that because of the sizing, they are best utilized with dressier watches/styles. The lack of thickness and strong tapering makes them harder to wear with sport and tool watches.

Artem

These seem like the perfect strap for someone who wants a waterproof strap that looks like fabric, but performs like silicone. This is a sailcloth cover, with a rubber coated leather as the base. They are completely wearable in water, and they look tremendous.

When you get one in hand, it is beefy. It feels robust. It’s well made also, and the entire package feels like you got what you paid for. But when you put it on your wrist, it’s uncomfortable. I never was able to get this strap to break in enough to where I would want to wear it (and I tried for months). It is quite bulky also, so it needs to be paired with a large diver style watch.

At $133 this didn’t do it for me, and I wouldn’t buy another. I found it outright uncomfortable to wear.

Crown & Buckle

Following on my pursuit for a strap that is a fabric but can be worn in the water, I grabbed this two piece strap from Crown & Buckle. It is also fully waterproof. It’s a nice strap, which is solidly made. There’s some sharper edges on it, but otherwise it requires very little break in and works as advertised.

At $34 it’s hard to quibble at this, but it also doesn’t feel like it is much more expensive than that price. Overall: good strap, utilitarian, but sometimes that’s exactly what you want. I like this strap for travel, as it gives the watch mover versatility and easier adjustment than a bracelet, while still being swim ready.

Windup Watch Shop

I have quite a few straps from Windup, and generally I feel that you are getting slightly above average quality, and slightly higher markups when you buy anything from them. But, perhaps the real value, lies in their leather offerings. I have this green suede strap I use from time to time and it has proven to be a solid strap for me. It’s thin, but well made.

It’s very soft to wear, and slightly longer than a standard length strap. At the $79 asking price, it’s on par with Keepiece at a slightly higher price point. I would have no problems buying more straps from Windup, even if they were brands that they simply stock, not make. There’s nothing standout on most of the straps I have purchased from them, but also nothing bad either. A totally safe and solid shop to buy from.

Veblenist

I was starting to get to the point where most aftermarket straps were frustrating in some sense. But I had a specific strap I wanted: light pink suede. That felt like the perfect summer strap for my SBGX261, and Veblenist was the only place I found the color I wanted. When it arrived, I was smitten.

The craftsmanship is on point. The quality of the leather, both the inner and outer, is stellar. There was no break in needed, and the strap wears very comfortably. The only problem is that this caused me to buy quite a few more straps from them. And I have about five as of this writing. Each and every one of them is excellent. Most of the straps start at about $105 and there are only a few that get appreciably higher in price than that.

But what you get for that price amounts to the best quality strap I have seen. These are better than the stock Grand Seiko leather. They are tremendously great. Oh, the other downside: they are made to order, so they take about a month to get. Best to order a few at a time. One of the things I love about this brand, is the stories and advice they give you for most of their straps.

Distinctive and discerning with American Shell Cordovan leather, the Sedona Shell Cordovan’s deep-red hue with earthy hints of purple goes exquisitely well with watches that have cream dials, and with dress watches in particular. But this fine offering can also bring some quintessential style to field watches and timepieces with vintage vibes.

Yeah, this company knows watch straps.


There’s a lot of good watch straps on the market, and the prices for them are all over the map. But there’s only one company which offers the best straps across a wide range of materials: Veblenist.

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