Why your watch deserves a custom band
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 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.
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.