STRAPPED IN

Why your watch de­serves a cus­tom band

Sharp Magazine Middle East (English) - - Style | Watchs New - BY JUSTIN MASTINE- FROST

FOR LUX­URY WATCHES and men's fash­ion as a whole, in­di­vid­u­al­ity is the new name of the game. Smaller in­de­pen­dent watch brands — those of­fer­ing new and in­no­va­tive time­pieces in scarce quan­ti­ties — con­tinue to grow sig­nif­i­cantly, while larger-scale lux­ury brands have been rapidly de­vel­op­ing a va­ri­ety of cus­tomiza­tion ser­vices for both watches and watch straps. This is all fan­tas­tic news for those in the mar­ket for a new time­piece, but not nec­es­sar­ily help­ful when it comes to the beloved watches you al­ready own. Which is where cus­tom straps come in.

But not all straps are cre­ated equal, and this isn't the time to test your luck with a cur­sory Google search. Qual­ity of leather, stitch­ing, dyes, and buck­les — among a host of other things — can make or break the per­fect watch strap. Hav­ing ex­am­ined our fair share over the years, we've com­piled a brief list of some of the best in the busi­ness.

Sa­bel Sad­dlery

Sa­bel Sad­dlery straps are only avail­able as fully be­spoke cre­ations, con­ceived through ex­ten­sive dis­cus­sion with Mia Sa­bel. In con­ver­sa­tion in 2017, she was quick to note a grow­ing wait-list nearly a year long, though hav­ing seen the work in per­son, it's safe to say that it's worth the wait.

Schofield + Cudd

East Sus­sex-based Schofield Watch Com­pany re­cently teamed up with Si­mon Cudd on a unique and colour­ful strap-mak­ing ven­ture. Their off-the-shelf cre­ations use rich dyed calf­skin, in­dus­trial tex­tiles, and other unique ma­te­ri­als, but where the brand ex­cels is in its be­spoke re­pur­pos­ing ser­vice. Have a denim jacket from the '80s that you can't bear to toss? Send it in, and soon you'll have a new watch strap (or a few).

Ate­lier du Bracelet Parisien

Nes­tled in a tiny work­shop a quick walk from Place Vendôme, Ate­lier du Bracelet Parisien has long been known for its fine crafts­man­ship us­ing ex­otic leathers in­clud­ing stingray and shark­skin. Most re­cently the brand was tasked with cre­at­ing an al­li­ga­tor leather bund strap for Paul New­man's famed Rolex Day­tona, which shat­tered auc­tion records this past fall.

Com­bat Straps

Mon­treal-based Com­bat Straps also works with a wide ar­ray of beau­ti­ful leathers, but their vin­tage WW2 can­vas straps are the cur­rent stand­outs. Ad­di­tional adorn­ments are tai­lored to each client's tastes, and have in­cluded any­thing from war­planes and pinup girls to straps that fea­ture orig­i­nal print­ing from the Ja­panese mil­i­tary can­vas they were cut from.

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