A Guide to Handcrafted Watch Straps

Purchasing watch straps to enhance the look of watches is an important aspect of every watch owner's journey.

It is one of the finest ways to obtain the sensation of owning a “new watch” without spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

A custom watch strap is the most essential accessory for any watch, it can elevate the aesthetic of a watch to new heights. It would be a pity to spend money on a beautiful watch face just to have its overall image tarnished by a poor-quality leather watch strap.

A high-quality leather watch strap will immediately be noticed by your peers. It amplifies the appearance and feels of your watch.

However, when purchasing a high-quality leather watch strap, you may be surprised at the difficulty involved.

A high-quality leather watch strap, unlike other accessories, must come from the right supplier. It's simple, or rather cheap, to get a watch strap replacement – those which you can acquire from Amazon for around S$10.

For about S$89 - S$119, you can get a handcrafted custom watch strap that you'll be overjoyed with; something that will compliment your investment-grade watch. And of course, an accessory which demands the attention of your friends and acquaintances.

A Delicate Process

dark green yarn and part of a ruler on top of leather materialsSource: Dane Deaner

Even if manufacturers wanted to hasten the process, they can’t. Such a delicate procedure requires exquisite accuracy, patience, and a great deal of attention. Certain leather straps take longer to create now than ever before since there are constantly new methods to improve them.

Some custom watch straps now have cushioning, some have ultra-fine edge finishing, lining, and other enhancements.

Sure, it takes a long time, but it ensures that premium leather watch straps are the finest they can be. It's difficult not to admire such little and finely constructed products.

Every stage in the process of making a strap is as crucial as the last. Because every flaw can be seen, even the smallest error at any stage of production can render the leather watch strap useless.

Leather Selection

A Pelle Conciate al Vegetale Tuscany Guarantee Tag
A Pelle Conciate al Vegetale Tuscany Guarantee Tag


Leather is a popular and traditional material for custom watch straps. Today, we are bombarded with a series of choices such as rubber, nylon, silicone and others.

However, leather watch straps are irreplaceable due to their traditional, exquisite look and one-of-a-kind quality.

A finished leather watch strap is the result of a lot of essential things coming together.

Every stage of the process requires a critical eye and deliberate decision making, and one of the vital factors for constructing the finest watch strap begins with the careful selection of leather.

The perfect leather is a combination of several factors - colour, feel, tannage, and scent.

The selection of finest leather is extremely limited in quantities – they are required to go through specific tanning and careful finishing procedures to attain top quality status. Another factor to consider is the ageing of leather watch straps. Good quality leather watch straps age better than the rest.

Here at Strapatelier, we use leathers from renowned tanneries like HorweenTochigiBadalassi Carlo (a member of the consortium of Pelle Conciata al Vegetale) and more.

By following the steps below, you will be able to identify genuine leather watch straps:

  1. Examination

Inspect the leather watch strap closely for its pores. Genuine leather has irregular porosity known as grain. Due to its nature, no two areas will look or feel the same. The faux leather, on the hand, has recurring patterns.

Genuine leather has a smooth side, as well as a coarse side.  If it feels excessively smooth on both sides, it's probably too good to be true and it could be faux. The same is true for being excessively harsh. If both sides feel harsh, it’s probably faux leather as well.

  1. Take a whiff

Natural leather has a unique leather, animal, or even oaty green odour, while faux leather usually has a plastic chemical scent. If your watch strap has a chemical odour, it is most likely not full-grain leather.

  1. Moisten it

Real leather is porous and absorbent. Test the leather watch strap by wetting a tiny section. Authentic leather will absorb the water after a while – faux leather will not. 

Stitching & Thread

bespoke custom watch strap by Strapatelier
A Bespoke Watch Strap by Strapatelier

Next, you will want to look at the stitching of the leather strap; if it’s not sewn properly, the premium watch strap wouldn’t look as good as it should.

When selecting a leather watch strap, the value of the stitching cannot be overstated. An uninformed buyer would usually disregard the quality of stitching on a watch strap. 

Typically, the most appreciated watch straps have lengthy, broad stitching on them - because stitching that is longer and broader is more durable.

Another important component is the use of high-quality linen and nylon threads supplied by the world's leading thread manufacturers in Europe.

Their attractive hues are meant to complement or contrast any leather watch strap and really make it stand out. All thread needs to be carefully selected for their exceptional performance and durability.


As watch straps aficionados, we know that a well-crafted custom watch strap is a part of what makes a timepiece stand out from the rest.

It can entirely transform your watch’s look with a variety of styles. It may also revitalize an old, neglected watch that you once adored.

At Strapatelier, we put forth maximum effort to guarantee that all the micro details in the production of our leather watch straps are excellent. We want you to feel proud and filled with awe every time you glance down at your watch. Well, not just yourself - your buddies will be secretly jealous of you as well.

Our handcrafted leather watch straps are meant to help our clients in transforming their valued wristwatch from something ordinary into an excellent timepiece - Click here to check them out.

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