Straps are important. They hold your watch in place, and enhance its appearance. A good strap can add character and beauty to a watch – if it makes a proper match. Many watch owners assume that choosing a strap is just a matter of finding the right size, a color that generally matches the dial, and some rough notion of "quality". But there is much, much more than that, in getting the best strap for your watch.
For today's blog post, I called up Andrea of, one of my favorite strap makers, for some tips and recommendations. While Andrea produces some very fine hand-made straps for a fair price – which I always prefer over big manufacturers' products – her comments are very professional and generally true for any strap you decide to purchase for your Orient (or any watch…)
Pictured: Orient World Diver "Map Dial" on Martu Slim Blue Calf & Goat Leather Strap; great match to the blue and orange elements of the dial, and custom-cut to the non-standard 19mm lug width.
"Finding the right strap for your watch will depend on different factors, here are some tips that I follow to make straps for my watches and also to recommend straps:
In my perspective the most important thing is to preserve and respect the roots of the watch. If you start your search paying attention to this, your watch will get a new strap that will make it look great. Don't try to make your dressy watch look sporty, just make it look beautiful.
Note special tones or colors, if the second hand is orange, the strap can be orange or have orange thread. If the face of the watch has a very nice color you can look for a material that has the same tones.
How thick is your watch? A thick watch looks great with a thick strap. However, sometimes thicker straps need a break-in period in which wearing them can be a bit uncomfortable, so if you want a strap ready to use look for thinner straps (3mm or less).
Pictured: Orient SK on Martu "Drakko" Cracked Calf Leather Strap. The right thickness and that unique texture that enhances the fairly simple dial.
"If you looking for a strap that will be exposed to water and you don´t want to use rubber then look for water-resistant materials, or look for heavy oiled leathers. Please notice that there is no such thing as a waterproof leather, there is leather that performs better under wet conditions due to the amount of grease that was applied to it, or if it was treated with a special lotion. These treatments will not last forever but they will help your strap. In my experience, you can get the best results by using beeswax (often mixed with other type). These treatments make the leather darker so have that in mind.
About the length of the strap, if you're after a handmade strap, look for a strap made for a perfect fit (i.e., provide your wrist-size to the strap-maker) don't take standard as an option.
Do I want my strap tapered or not? This is a matter of taste, but if you are going to use the original buckle, pay attention to the width of the buckle so you get the strap in the right size.
For me the most important thing is that you get the strap you imagine, so please ask for any crazy idea you have and play with: colors, threads, linings, materials, stitching styles and materials.
Here is a list of the materials I use to make my straps, maybe you will find this information useful for your next strap hunting:
· Calf leather
Calfskin or calf leather is a leather or membrane produced from the hide of a calf, or juvenile domestic cattle. As other leathers there are subtypes of calf leather, look for full grain or top grain which are the best and the ones I use. Calf leather is so diverse in terms of colors, finish and texture that for me is the best material to wear and work with.
· Alligator leather
Very soft and more durable than calf leather, and also each strap is unique, elegant and exclusive. Alligator leather requires a certificate that proves it comes from trusted breeding centers! All my exotic straps have the CITES certificate.
Alcantara is a microfiber material, super soft, easy to clean, comfortable, and vegan. Luxury car brands offer it as an option because this material is so nice. It is a bit tricky to work with, requiring more time than leather to make a strap, but the result is very nice, has a casual/sporty look, and is great to use with a pair of jeans on the weekend.
A tree that has a very unique look, and is my primary vegan option. Beside its softness it is water-resistant, which makes it a great natural material to give your watch a unique appearance.
A fabric woven in England, I use Donegal which I love for the small dots of different colors that it has. Having in mind the colors of nature, it's my favorite material for winter and autumn.
Hope this information will help you on your quest for your next strap ;) "
One additional point that I would to add to Andrea's tips, is particularly relevant to some of the . How do you match a strap to a watch that has many colors?
My suggestion: don't try an equally multicolored strap unless it has the exact same pattern as the dial (which is not likely) otherwise it gets messy. If you wish the dial to stand out, make the strap complimentary, not identical. A good trick is reversing colors – e.g. a dial that's white with red accents can work well with a red-brown strap (just because pure red is too much…) with white stitching; a black dial with blue accents would work well with a blue strap with black stitching; etc.
Pictured: Orient GM on a padded "Carbon Fiber" pattern strap from Teddy Baldassarre, another friend of the blog. The pattern plays nicely with the dial texture, which is matched by the blue stitching.
If the accent color is too much, like yellow or red, tone it down with greyness or brownness. Or – move on to the next option. E.g. If the dial is white with red and black elements, you can just stick to a black strap with red stitching.
Again I'd like to thank Andrea Tugas of Martu Leather for her contribution, and here's a little hint for what's coming up in the near future… an opportunity to win a Martu strap for your Orient, so make sure you follow the blog!