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Klara

How is a watch strap supposed to feel?

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I made a first strap from chrome tanned leather (lamb nappa on the inside) which turned out ugly but comfortable. 20220321_154643.jpg.ad14218b3b6e3483a9a08d54481e37fc.jpg20220321_154747.jpg.98ca4836c039131ef9b6f61b8ee19bed.jpg

My second one is from veg tan (same leather on the inside) and looks better, I think, but it feels stiff and uncomfortable. 

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The thing is, I bought an Orient Blue Moon (very reasonably priced as automatic watch go) with leather strap and it also feels stiff and uncomfortable. So how is a good watch strap supposed to feel? 

Is it worth greasing/oiling the red leather (from the underside for a new strap, the red is a sort of coating) or should that have been done during tanning (i. e. do I need to find a different leather) ?

 

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I think you have found the 'kings new clothes' syndrome with watch straps

ALL  the straps I've come across have been very stiff and uncomfortable to wear and they don't soften up. When enquiries were made the answers were " they are all like that, thats how they're supposed to be, no-one makes a 'soft' one because they're all supposed to be stiff" , et cetera, et cetera

A watchband should be comfortable to wear. So comfortable that you forget you are wearing it. But just try finding one like that on the market

Your nappa one looks fine to me. Wear it

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They ALL feel like a handcuff to me. I carry a pocket watch.

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I don't know why anyone would wear a watch on an uncomfortable strap personally.  I've made several for my own use and all have been very comfortable.  I also recently purchased a watch from Long Island Watch Co., a "Flieger style" pilot's watch that came with a very comfortable leather band.  It was very supple right from the get-go.  

Islander Aviator Automatic Watch with Leather Strap and an Anti-Reflective Sapphire Crystal #ISL-87

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I make watch straps mainly out of baseball gloves.  They're soft and thick, but I wear big watches mostly.

For conditioners, try Bicks 4.  I use it when any of my leather is too stiff (from an old glove for instance).

But in general, there is no reason a watch strap should come to you stiff, in my opinion.  Walpier Buttero is a good leather to try for a watch strap.  I'd say any leather described as medium to soft hand should work.  Also can depend on hole placement how it feels.  If you're too tight or too lose, try a different size watch buckle.

Neil

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Actually, I've gotten used to the red strap. I'll wait till water contact during paddling has ruined it and then I'll make another one. 

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Vegetable tanned leathers can be stiff especially if it is intended for carving as a soft surface will not hold the details well. I have used Horween Chromexcel, which is a combination chrome tan / vegetable tan leather for watch straps and that seems comfortable. 

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