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GUIDE: How To Spot A Quality Leather Watch Strap

Watch strap quality leather

A quick guide for finding a quality leather watch strap.

For as long as one can remember, leather craftsmanship has been an appreciated art – and for good reasons. Much like a good wine, a quality leather product prepared using professional techniques will only get better with time. However, finding good quality watch straps can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. In this post, we will guide you.

What to look for

Watch strap leather is usually divided into two main categories; bonded leather and top grain leather. There are more types of leather, but in this post we’ll focus on the most commonly used in watch straps.

Bonded leather

This is the lowest quality of watch leather straps. Bonded leather comes from the collected waste products of leather processing, and is re-constituted to create a less expensive alternative to quality leather. This leather can be rather easily recognized by a synthetic feel and look (it is often dyed). This is the kind of leather you would find in cheap wallets, book bindings etc. It is likely to fade with use, and we suggest that you stay away from watch straps with this quality.

Top-grain (or corrected) leather

This is the highest quality of watch strap leather. Straps made of top grain leather are derived from a single leather hide, and this makes them very durable. On top-grain leather, the surface of the leather is typically buffed or sanded (i.e., corrected) to hide natural marks of the animal. Even though some leather enthusiast would say that full-grain is to prefer, we argue that the difference in quality is trivial.

When producing KARLEX watches, we only use top grain leather from calf hides. Additionally, we have also stitched a softer layer of calf leather to the underside. This makes the strap more comfortable to wear, and makes it sweat-resistant.

What’s your favorite watch strap leather? Leave a comment and let us know.

Further reading