I recently purchased a shell cordovan strap from Atelier Del Sur (https://atelierdelsur.com), so I thought I would give my initial impressions of it.
The strap I purchased is made of shell cordovan, which is supposed to be one of the best and costliest types of leather in the world, and only made by a handful of tanneries. I wonít go into it, but if you want to know more about it check it out here: https://www.springfieldleather.com/shell-cordovan
That being considered, $120 is a good price for a handmade, shell cordovan strap. But, that doesnít include the price of international shipping which was $25. So, itís really $145, but that still is very reasonable from what Iíve seen online. This is especially true when you factor in the double sided buckle they use, which you donít see much anymore: https://atelierdelsur.com/pages/our-buckle. I can attest that the buckle works great, and once you have a strap with it youíll wonder why everyone isnít using one.
Communication was great. I got separate emails when I placed the order, when it shipped, when it was out for delivery, and when it was delivered. DHL tracking was good, although the box got hung up in customs for a day and had to go to Cincinnati first for some reason. Either way, it eventually arrived just fine.
Packaging was top notch. Not just commensurate with the price point but exceeding it, in my opinion. I'm not a good photographer, but Iíll let the photos below speak for themselves regarding the packaging and presentation.
The strap itself is gorgeous. The shell cordovan leather looks exactly like it is described. Smooth, but not glossy. Firm, but not inflexible. My strap has the contrast stitching, which is more of a faded white or light tan. The strap has a wonderful vintage look about it. Not old or weathered, but truly vintage, as if you went back in time to the 60s to buy a brand new one. I donít know if it will age as advertised, but as it sits right now it looks really good to me. I love the bracelet on my Black Bay, but this strap really changes the look. It totally plays off the BBís vintage vibe. Note, if you have a watch with gilt markers instead of white Iím willing to bet this particular strap will complement it perfectly.
Their straps are totally handmade, and this strap reflects that. I mean that in a good way. Their website states that each strap is made by one individual from beginning to end; cutting, dyeing, stitching, edge painting, etc. If you scrutinize it you can see this strap isnít perfect in every way and every dimension. It has the character that comes with an artisan making something from a natural product by hand, and I like it.
Itís hard to find anything to criticize with the price, experience, or the strap itself. I took a chance on ordering something from a small time outfit at the bottom of the world, and so far it looks like it was work the risk. I will try to follow up in a month or so to let you know how the strap is aging and holding up.